‘A tropical house with a semi-rustic feel’, GA design

‘A tropical house with a semi-rustic feel’, GA design

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‘The clients wanted a home where the view was understandably a very important criterion, as far as the spatial planning was concerned. Envisaging the aesthetic of a ‘second home’, one that was large, spacious and airy, the brief for the project Hill Crest, Khandala, Maharashtra also called for the materiality to be rainfall resistant and durable in a heavy rainfall zone with a lot of moisture in the air’, says the architects at GA design

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Hill Crest, Khandala, Maharashtra designed by GA design
photographs : GA design

Amidst the setting of lush green surroundings in the natural backdrop of Khandala, the site abuts a valley view on one side facing a stunning view of the Khandala valley. With a client brief of a villa that would be a second home, the design concept originated with the intent of creating a tropical house with a semi-rustic feel. 

Spread over a plot area of 22,000-sq.ft, the client brief was quite specific in terms of programmatic requirements- a guest room that would accommodate 5 to 10 people, a large open lounge area, a leisure lounge for games etc. and overall, a clear distinction between the private areas and the guest and entertainment areas. The result is a simplistic plan, that is enabled with visual transparency and makes one feel connected with the natural surroundings of Khandala, at all nodes of the house. Designed on the lines of an Indian tropical home, visual transparency, natural Indian stone, rough textured walls and wood are used in either their natural form or look alike to ensure the tropical aesthetic.

Crafting a sensorial experience right from the entrance porch of the house, wood look alike fiber screens create an amazing light and shadow experience. The planning of the house driven by efficiency, with minimum connecting passages.  The ground floor comprises of the living, dining, dormitory, games, guest bedroom and kitchen areas (public spaces) and the bedrooms have been located on the first floor for a sense of privacy. Keeping in mind the view and the visual treat of lush green all around, the ground floor is designed to maximize openness. One of the key features of the design process was to create disparate spaces for the living/ dining area and the games room, whilst retaining the visual connection by means of a covered open lounge area. Different areas have been designed with their own individual identity and yet when required i.e. with guests or large family occasions, none of the areas seem isolated. Even in the Khandala climatic conditions of heavy rainfall, an open seating that works efficiently was designed in the space under one of the bedrooms as a covered, open lounge area.

The double-height living room is centrally located to create a perfect picture frame of the stunning vista of the Khandala valley. The ground floor also has a guest room which is used for larger groups of the clients’ friends, with a capacity of 5 beds and additionally, 5 pullout beds. This room is directly connected to several bathrooms and shower areas, which then further leads by a passage to the swimming pool from the outside. Therefore, the planning ensures that the pool area users can easily access the showers externally, and then directly enter the house. The staircase from the ground which leads to the first floor connects the bedrooms with a passage overlooking the living room and the entrance lobby. The main staircase of the house is suspended from a beam from the mid-landing, giving it a suspended look and making it a distinct focus within the house. The vista of the valley is captured by a picture frame window of the living room. The first-floor passage overlooks the living room as well as the lobby with a clear vision of the outside enabling visual transparency. The garden area is visible from all corners of the house, which makes one connect instantly with the beautiful natural vegetation all around. The master bedroom and the children’s rooms are located such that they are facing the valley view; all the corners of the house are designed such that there are no columns, therefore creating a feeling of openness and transparency. The first floor also has a TV room to accommodate around 10 to 12 people and one guest room for close family members.

The materials used in the house are consistent with the clients brief of being moisture and fungus proof. Stone is used in a variety of ways to create interesting walls, the sons room has a built-in bed of marble, built-in seating is designed in several areas to reduce furniture, walls are finished in a bakelite polymer based texture avoiding POP. Several areas have no false ceiling again to minimize the chances of fungal formation during the rainy season. The furniture is designed to be as permanent at possible. The games room and the parents room are equipped with built-in seating, the son’s room has a built-in bed of travertino marble and the master bedroom has a bed backdrop in carved marble. Maintaining the use of natural stones in most areas, the dining table is made of a single slab of exotic Brazilian granite.

Imbibing green principles in all aspects of design, Natural stones such Jaisalmer, granite cobbles on the driveway flooring, dressed Malad stone is used on the walls and external are used extensively. Jaisalmer flooring is used in the kitchen and all external covered passages while Flamed granite adorns the swimming pool area.

These are all sustainable building materials that are created from mother nature without artificial chemicals and are 100 % recyclable. All wood used in the house for the doors and furniture is old recycled wood and Linen as a fabric is used for bedspreads and curtains. A septic tank is constructed with a soak pit for sewage disposal. The sons room has a build in bed made in travertino with a coconut shell wall backdrop. The backdrop of the Master bedroom wall is crafted in marble which has an abstract design of a flower that was created after manually chiselling the marble. Wood panelling has been used in an interesting panel design in the living room. The backdrop of the master Bedroom is also made by local Rajasthani craftsmen who are adept at carving on stone also the dressing of the Malad stone cladding is done by local experts who are adept at stone dressing and fixing.

Imbibing local craft, local materiality and a contemporary design approach, the residence attempts to create a shift in the trend of second home design. Through programmatic shifts, the house design maximizes the scenic beauty of the locale and creates a true home away from home for the client.

fact sheet

  • project: Hill Crest
  • location: Hill Top Colony, Opp. Weekend Nursery, Khandala, Maharashtra
  • principal architect: Rajan Goregaoker
  • design team:  Swapnil/Yogesh/Manoj
  • site area (sq.ft & sq.m):  15,000-sq.ft/1,400-sq.m
  • date of commencement: 2013
  • date of completion: 2015
  • photographer: Prashant Bhat