Sheltered amidst the hilly woodlands of North Goa, lies the isolated and quaint village of Socorro. Once it formed part of the communidade and the larger village of Serula. Serula has since broken up into a number of villages of which Socorro is one. It is named after its parish Church Built in 1667, the ‘Nossa Senhora de Socorro’.
The neighbourhood displays an agglomeration of architectural styles and influences that is reflective of a typically Goan life and athmosphere. The houses of wealthy landlords had high plinths with grand staircases leading to the front door, or balcão.
This balcão is the most important feature of the Goan house. It resembles a porch, and functions as an outdoor living space to sit down and chat or catch the evening breeze. The front door typically leads to a foyer. This foyer then either leads to the sala (the main hall for entertaining a large number of guests) or the sala de visita (a smaller hall for entertaining a small number of guests).
Akin to the history of the village, the client envisioned a large plot of land be broken up into 5 sites. He imagined each plot to have a home possessing their individual style. Yet, all homes woven together were to reflect a quintessential local identity.
Being adjacent to a forest preserve, the site hosts a large concentration of indigenous flora and fauna. Trees like cashew, mango, palm and jungle trees form a dense canopy. Therefore the land has been handled with extreme care. In order to make the development relevant to the setting and preserve the essence of the verdant acreage, the footprint of the villa was traced out of the space left between the canopy and the critical root zones on the steep site.
The only visible solid volumes of the development are restricted to the lower level, below the dense canopy cover. The plinths made of local laterite stone, read as a continuation of the red rocky outcrop spread over the site. This laterite base continues as a recurring theme in the other villas of the development as well. Sometimes it recurs as a plinth, sometimes it envelopes an entire structure.
Due to the proximity and volume of adjoining developments, the structure of the canopy villa hovers above the ground on stilts. Additionaly it renders minimal disturbance to the forest floor. With series of extremely slim columns that are narrowed down to the bone, the skeleton structure twists and turns between the forest canopy. Open spaces like verandah’s, galleries terraces and staircases fill in the framework of the structure at different levels. In contrast, a series of closed volumes, either glazed or opaque, intersperses the skeleton.
The glazed façades enable a seamless yet protective connect with the surrounds. This excessive use of glazing is possible due to the dense canopy cover that forms an additional layer of shaded comfort in this tropical climate. It protects the canopy villa from the harsh sun and heavy rains. But it also creates an ideal realm for living in close connect with its surroundings. From here, residential life intertwines with animal life in the forest.
Socorro Canopy Villa
Socorro, Goa, India
Sustainability, Context, Structure, Canopy, Typology
Ground floor plan
First floor plan
Second floor plan
Villa through the canopy
Swimming pool on the ground level
Circulation to the beach on the ground level
Dining room view
Master bedroom view