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House on a Stream

Alibag, India
2013,
Residential,
Context, Concrete, Spatial Experience, Light,
Completed,
Design Team -

Robert Verrijt + Shefali Balwani

Size -

300 sq.m.

Program -

weekend house


With a stream running through the house, this retreat in Alibag is delicately woven into the landscape, alternately opening up and closing itself to the different characteristics of the site. Though seasonal, the streambed allows for an interesting landscape feature throughout the year. A multitude of medicinal and fruit bearing trees provide for an intimate ambiance and comfortable microclimate. A short walk along the stream before entering the house domain builds up a sense of anticipation.


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The house consists of two parts: the day areas of the house such as the dining, kitchen, the living room and entrance verandah are separated from the master bedroom by a bridge that spans across the stream. Like an organism trying to make most use of its resources and surroundings, the house with its several limbs reaches out into the landscape making full use of the views within the site and dramatizes special moments: a beautiful tree or the cascading stream during the monsoon rains.

Since the owners are enthusiastic cooks, the kitchen is made the heart of the house, a large, inviting volume with a high ceiling. Around this centre, three 'wings' span across into the landscape and anchor the house into the location. The living room 'wing' is lifted of the ground to have a panoramic view of the mountain range in the distance. The guest room wing embraces an existing tree to create a courtyard and just peeks across the dining room to have a view over the length of the stream. The swimming pool is aligned along the stream acting as a substitute for it during the dry season, and as an extension of it during the monsoons. (Photography by Sebastian Zachariah)


Though seasonal, the streambed allows for an interesting landscape feature troughout the year. A multitude of medicinal and fruit bearing trees provide for an intimate ambiance and comfortable microclimate.

The arrival path is aligned with the axis of the pergola, which embracing the pool enters the dining room on the left side.

The pool is aligned along the stream acting as a celebration of it during the monsoons, and a memory of it during the dry season.

Concept Sketch of Architectural Routes and Shifting Axi

The stream divides the plot in two parts

The master pavilion is connected to the main house with a bridge

The house is made to weave around the landscape making full use of the views within the site and emphasizing particular instances: a beautiful tree or the cascading water of the monsoon rains.

Elegant timber screens soften the greyness of the concrete. They not only form a buffer between the interior space and the exteriors, but also create an intensive play of shadow and light on the floors and walls.

Exploded View - While the external structural concrete shell contracts and expands in plan in section it does so as well.

Roof Plan

Ground Floor Plan

Sections

The Dining Room opens across from the Pool Verandah to the Courtyard

Internior spaces are defined with volumes created by the changing thickness of the internal ceiling.

the kitchen is the heart and center of the house, a large, inviting volume with a high ceiling and a skylight that floods the space with light.

The living room is lifted off the ground to have a framed view of the mountains and trees in the distance

Sectional construction details through dining room, kitchen and living room

The Guest Bedroom with exposed concrete interior surface

The Guest Bedroom peeks across the dining room to have a view over the length of the stream.

the exposed concrete walls at the Guest Bathroom are lit by an open to sky courtyard

The cantilevered ‘limbs’ of the living room and two bedrooms defy the heaviness of the concrete volumes.

the Walk in Wardrobe leads to the Master Bathroom

A skylight lights up the Master Bathroom and accommodates an outdoor shower

the sound of the babbling brook makes for a relaxing experience at the verandah of the Master Bedroom Pavilion