Vrindavan is a modest 1000 sq.ft farmhouse, nestled within a 2.5 acre farm, true to its mythological Sanskrit meaning - a grove. It is a retirement home for a couple in their 60s, in their native village, Ozram, Maharashtra, India, on a quiet farm treasured by them as a hobby over past 15 years with plantations of mango, cashew, chickoo, jackfruit, and palms. Their only brief was, a humble abode close to nature. Their only constraint, an exacting budget of Rs. 10 lacs (appx. 15000 USD), which meant building the house at 15 USD/sq.ft. We aspired to design an indigenous cost effective house, relatable to the human scale, where experience of inhabiting was to be prioritized over a monumental form. On our first site visit, we found a dead mango tree on a well-defined 20 feet grid of mango and chickoo plantation. Instinctively, we felt the house would sit perfectly here, within a dense grove, opening up to a distant hillock view. The House had to grab the views of the lush green tree canopies, establishing an indoor-outdoor connect yet retain privacy in parts. The House was designed as a series of 12’ wide descending spaces from a private bedroom & bath space to a cross-ventilated spacious Living to a verandah, trailed by an open deck, overlooking the hillock. The Living and Bedroom merge into one, during the day time, giving a sense of a bigger modular living space. The entry to the house is marked through a thin, see-through vestibule, connecting the main house to the kitchen. The kitchen has a service court for the desi chullah (a rural hob), which is enclosed by a stone jali, shading the court while magically transforming the space throughout the day. The house gradually steps down, following the site topography, concluding into a 14’ high, ridged volume of the verandah, offering a serene sunset view behind the distant mountains.
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