We believe that landscape and architectural design are meant to come together as integrated as well as opposing elements. It is this contradiction between the two that enriches the experience of the other. Landscape design is not a garden to be merely observed. It is a part of the house or building, an extension of the inside, often a room without walls. It enlivens the architecture, it creates variety in design depending on the regional and local context. Often for the landscape to make a dramatic impact bold interventions are needed in the initial conceptual planning and thought process of the project. What may in the end seem natural is often the outcome of surprisingly intensive interventions.
With a stream running through the house, this retreat in Alibag delicately weaves into the landscape. It alternately opens up and closes itself to the different characteristics of the site. The house is like an organism trying to make most use of its resources and surroundings. With its several limbs, it reaches out into the landscape. Each “limb” makes full use of the views within the site and dramatizes special moments.
The Riparian House is placed below the crest of a hillock at the foothills of the Ghats near Mumbai. The top of a vegetated roof merges with the top of the hillock, hiding the house while approaching. A bamboo screen surrounding a deep verandah causes an ever-changing pattern of light and shadow throughout the seasons and times of the day, making the Riparian House a ‘sensor’ of light.
The Vanavihari Eco Resorts are a commendable initiative undertaken by the Andhra Pradesh government. aimed at spreading awareness of the natural environment among travellers. All structures are positioned in relation to important landscape features. Since the scenic streams and ponds at the sites attract birds and wildlife, they make for ideal locations for forest cabins as observatories.
The yoga retreat is conceptualised as an extrusion of its terraced Himalayan landscape. One could imagine that an incidental geological formation pushed up a section of the terraces in the shape of a malformed asymmetrical three winged boomerang. Underneath, above and between the ground plane and the roof, the yoga retreat is a device to experience the landscape in diverse ways.
The Wetland Resort in Vengurla aims to revitalise the ecosystem of the site by creating a waterscape with interconnected ponds and waterbodies. Five proposed waterbodies accommodate 16 holiday homes and a boat house. The homes are clustered as stilted pavilions; sometimes on the land and sometimes on water.
Forest Hills is a quiet picturesque retreat tucked away amidst dense foliage and trees, perching high on top of a mountain overlooking an estuary. Here, 8 underground “cave homes” will be carved into the mountain top. These underground dwellings focus like telescopes to the surrounding views. A staircase gently slopes, as an earth block sculpture, from the plateau in the direction of the homes beneath.
The Mumbai Artist Retreat is conceptualised as a community space. It is an art lab of sorts, that aims to bring together art, ecology and society. One of the buildings on the retreat is an Artist workshop. The completely self sufficient pavilion is a 12m x 10m “tropical shed” with two roofs that are each six meter high. Two solar panelled skylights chop off the pyramid shaped roofs on the top.
The Mandwa Health Resort is envisioned as a three-dimensionally embossed landscape. It is an architecture of enclosure, where walls define exterior spaces. Guests retreat in private undisturbed courtyard rooms. With ivy spread across the compressed earth walls and water bodies reflecting the sky, the guest rooms extend into the natural environment.
The Magic Bus Learning Pavilion is an interactive building used as a gathering space and play area for underprivileged children who are deprived of places to play in the city. However with a log bridge, a Jacob’s ladder, climbing ladders and a suspension / rope bridge, the building is much more than that. It is a continuation of the challenge course of the Magic Bus Outdoor Learning Campus.
The proposed Butterfly Reserve in Sikkim aims to be a celebration of the butterfly, found in abundance in the region. Today however their habitat is being threatened. As a butterfly perches on tendril legs on a flower barely touching what it feeds on, so the interventions in this sensitive ecological landscape are designed to reduce the interference with the site.