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The Riparian House

Karjat, Mumbai, India
2015,
Residential, Landscape,
Sustainability, Bamboo, Light, Green Roof,
Completed,
Design Team -

Shefali Balwani + Robert Verrijt

Size -

300 sq.m.

Program -

house for a family


Riparian: adj.   

  1. of, inhabiting, or situated on the bank of a river                
  2. a dweller on the bank of a river

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. Inside the house one can nevertheless enjoy the views to the north of the Irshalgad hill fortress and towards the west, the sunset while the river winds its way across the agricultural fields.


more information

From the top it seems to be an extension of the natural landscape, enhancing the under-statedness of the house. The green cover serves to keep the house below cool due to its insulative properties.

Along the central axis of the house landscaped steps lead you along a coarsed stone wall towards the pool deck. A second set of steps connects to the main level of the house where the axis culminates via the dining room and kitchen into a light filled courtyard.

Galvanized steel mullioned windows break down the scale of the front façade of the house. A rhythmic row of bamboo poles is placed at close intervals in front of the house to create a layer of privacy without obstructing the spectacular view of the river and the mountains beyond. The walls are build in Indian limestone in a coarsed pattern, which make the house seem to rise out of the ground giving it a solid base. This is contrasted by the lightness of a suspended timber deck verandah which surrounds the house on three sides. The covered verandahs allow for comfortably ventilated and shaded semi-indoor spaces.



The top of a vegetated roof merges with the top of the hillock, hiding the house from the approach on the east side.


From the top the roof seems to be an extension of the natural landscape, enhancing the under-statedness of the house.

Since the most of the site is steeply sloping with a 1:4 gradient, the vegetated roof gives the house an additional usable area.


stone boulders which were discovered during the excavation process and retain the earth.

The kitchen occupies a central position along with the open to sky courtyard.

Galvanized steel mullioned windows break down the scale of the front façade of the house.

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

The bamboo enclosure creates a dialogue between the interior and the dramatically changing landscape.

The house enjoys the views of the river winding its way across the agricultural fields.

Along the central axis of the house landscaped steps lead you along a coarsed stone wall towards the pool deck.



view across the river at dawn

Site model

Site Model

Site plan

Ground Floor Plan

exploded axonometric

Section A

Section B

Section C