Text description provided by the architects. Casa Bianca, literally, the white house, is tranquil home set in urban Ahmedabad. The home holistically integrates light, air, greenery, materials and views, through an architectural vocabulary that emanates serenity and harmony. The house is on a corner plot and sits alongside the internal road of a gated community, overlooking the landscape. The land was surrounded by existing mature trees on the periphery, which were left untouched. The built volume and the layout design is ruled by the sun path integrating and allowing the free flow of natural light and air.
This intuitive interaction with the forces of nature creates a dynamism that lends itself to the indoor-outdoor dialogue that is at the heart of the architecture. The building responds directly to the site where it is placed, in subtle crescendos of materials from the region, gaining colour and texture from the originality of the local stone. Devoid of artificial façade treatment, form follows function in the geometry of the structure, which emphasizes a harmonious coexistence; not just of the building with its surroundings, but also of the three generations who call Casa Bianca home.
A predominantly white (hence the name of the villa) and yellow exterior, using locally sourced sandstone, is reflected in the elevational boxes which shade parts of the villa. The main façade of the house faces east, with beautiful views of the sunrise, which serves as the inspiration for the use of textured stone to recreate the drama of light and shadow. As part of climate-responsive architecture, recessed windows and pockets of terraces help combat the unrelenting heat of Ahmedabad. Most of the bigger openings/ glazing face the northeast direction; towards the southwest are smaller openings to control the harsh sunlight and for increased ventilation.
The natural stone cladding of the facade matches the paving, resulting in a cohesive entity, tying the building to its surroundings. A planned landscape and hardscape lead to the entrance, lending a meandering exploration to the journey home. The orchestration of large, glazed expanses, protected from the heat via the elevation boxes, instead of obtrusive walls is a conscious calibration to lend a sense of transparency, connectivity and inclusion. The links to the surroundings, via patios and decks, ensure that the living experience extends beyond the house, which has been built on a raised plinth. Integrating the home into its natural setting was a key part of the conceptual planning and a priority for the homeowners; most living spaces open up to or overlook verdant pockets of native plant species, which serve as a common thread of the spatial experience.
The large windows, semi-outdoor spaces and lotus pond lend a tranquil air to the home, as it rests in a lush, green lap, creating a serene alcove in an otherwise densely populated urban setting. In a continuation of the harmonious indoor-outdoor relationship, an earth-toned colour scheme, infused with Indian aesthetics, dominates the material palette. Minimal and simple, the interior is highlighted with the natural stone flooring and the use of polished wood that lends a comforting feel to the home. The spatial planning is functional, simple and ensures versatile, clutter free spaces. The transitional spaces are centrally planned so that access is easier while the staircase connecting the two levels of the home serves as the spine that facilitates the movement.
Once inside, the magnificence of the double-height, north-facing formal living room, greets the visitor with a warm yet mellow welcome, serving as a visual connection to the outdoors as well as the upper floor. Large windows open with generous views to the garden from the main living room, family living room and ground-floor bedroom. The corridor leads to the secondary living spaces on the ground floor. The carefully construed feel of unhurried comfort is augmented by the sit-out with a swing preceding the bedroom, inviting visitors to linger over a conversation or two. The private spaces on the upper floor comprise of two bedrooms, an audio visual room, a library space and terraces.
One of the bedrooms, decked in neutral whites, extends onto a terrace, recessed on the elevation, and which serves as an artist’s workspace. The starkness of the room and its space is elevated by the canvases of the resident artist, and the punctuation of their colours. The other rooms are paneled with beautiful teakwood which works not just as a backdrop but also as natural art, elevating the otherwise minimal décor. The furnishings are simplistic and warm, with each room imbued with the energy of the abundant natural light. At Casa Bianca, art is an integral part of life; many of the paintings that adorn these spaces have been done by the young client, while some feature local artists. Intermittently, ethnic traditional art, reclaimed and curated by the designers, serves as visual focal points.
At its essence, this is a home that is at peace with itself: where life flows like sunlight and the breeze, willing the visitor to stop and stare, amid lilies and koi fish, chirping birds and the benediction of trees. A home with a heart, and one for the soul, following Biophilia's core principle, which is to connect humans with nature, and as a result, improve well-being. Speaking through an energy that imbues the home and its juxtaposition with its immediate surrounds, Casa Bianca, is a subtle yet sonorous welcome to a life that is at peace with itself. Incorporate energy efficient systems. a) DGU glass b) Rainwater harvesting c) Solar panels d) Electric charger at parking e) Inverter based AC f) Oxygen generating local species- indoor and outdoor plants encouraging biodiversity. g) Basic material palette – wood, stone, concrete selected maintain the thermal mass. h) The oxygen generating plants in the landscaping and indoor areas add to the wellness quotient.
All lighting and HVAC components of the house can be controlled re-motely and are programmed to adapt to local climate patterns in order to conserve energy. All interiors here are based on the Biophilia system and features incorporating ample fresh sunlight, ventilation, use of natural wood and stone amplifying the connections inside and outside. The environmental performance, design and nature relationship, the aim is to build a house where landscape and architecture are designed together to create a real-life experience aimed at the well-being of the occupants, the biodiversity of the plot and the surrounding environment. it aims to become a reference in responsible architecture, aware of the energy and environmental challenges we face.