Building a large house on a sea facing hillside in Mumbai is both exciting and daunting. On one hand the prospect of a panoramic ocean view is thrilling. On the other hand it undoubtedly adds to the growing clutter of self important villas in these, what not so long ago were uninhabited, natural, landscapes.
Rather than fighting its presence however, the plantation retreat in Alibag emphasises on the profile of the built from. It is not much unlike the Portuguese chapels scattered around the rolling hills of nearby coastal Goa. These chapels in their pure white brilliance do not shy away from their existence with their characteristic axial orientation and dominant silhouette. Similarly, this retreat attempts to lend a comfortable scale to it’s surrounding landscape.
Two staggered linear pavilion-like structures, directed towards the view, define the character of the house. The pavilions are made of white “Dhrangadhra” limestone walls. White painted timber shutters shade the deep recessed steel framed windows. They are strong manifestations that act as long spatial telescopes, bringing the distant sea views seemingly closer by.
The house finds alternative ways to settle in the landscape. Half of the rooms are buried inside a solid “hook” shaped stone plinth. This stone base acts as a retaining wall. At the same time it supports a vegetated green roof terrace. At the lower level it forms a semi open courtyard. This orients towards the view and provides a sense of protection. Interstitial landscape elements such as a series of stepped down plinths and platforms reverberate the architectural intervention down along the slope. A curved infinity pool wraps around the covered outdoor lounge and living spaces. The sinuous lines echoes the shoreline a few kilometres away.
Saral Plantation Retreat
Sustainability, Context, Solar Energy, Typology
The Plantation Retreat under construction
The arrival leads to a blank entrance facade. The doorway reveals only a glimpse of what is beyond.
View of the bay on the top of the site.
Generous steps lead from the master bedroom into the landscape below.
Erection of steel trusses of the living room.