- Project Architect: Sahana M Bhat
- Design Team: Khushboo P, Simran R, Anmol A, Pratik C, Purvi S, Asha B
- Lanscape Design: Soumitro Ghosh , Sahana M Bhat
- Aluminum Work: Jean Marc Moreno
- Stucco: Jeernodhar Conservators Pvt. Ltd.
- City: Coonoor
- Country: India
Text description provided by the architects. The land set near the forest, at the foothill of an adjoining local old family-owned tea estate has become the weekend home for a couple from Bangalore. Other than capturing the mountain and valley views, creating a vantage viewpoint, making different blocks for living and for retiring at night, and having common spaces for daily living with sunlight; within it, there are much deeper questions and things that inform this design.
This home, first designed as a singular entity soon fragmented itself with the fascinating opportunity of the central seating area which would overlook the setting sun at the horizon over distant mountains and valleys – mostly forested. This became the most important place of the home other than the sheltered areas. This is anchored close to an existing Jamun tree and this becomes the heart of the project. The living, dining, casual seating, kitchen, a cozy mezzanine attic for the grandchildren and adults, and the powder room come together in a large barn/studio-like space celebrating the presence of north sunlight with a skylight all along the length of the space. The light and patterns of sunlight coming through the skylight begins making the change of season and time of the day. The space is monochromatic in rough lime plaster starting from the walls to the entire roof seamlessly in the interior.
The living room block is cantilevered adventurously, breaking the constraints of load-bearing structures, towards the west and the mountains/valley with a large window opening and an easy chair in this corner, for enjoying a large expanse of view and for being on the edge from within. At the center of the project – gently surrounded by the living and the bedroom block is the patio that overlooks the wild grass landscape, the valley, the mountains, the surrounding forests, and the sunset over the horizon. The glass bridge made of steel and glass is like a gossamer link between the living and the sleeping space block. The modular structural framing and the transparency of the bridge to the surrounding, with the luxury of green, sunlight, and a view of the patio make it a passage and a ‘moment’.
Architecture in sensitive ecologies needs care in design, the choices of material, and detail. Some of the thoughtful balancing that has been part of the project material, design, and details of interest in this view of care are: keeping most trees at the site intact other than the removal of some Eucalyptus trees which take up much of the groundwater; collecting and using the roof water for irrigation; recharging the groundwater; keeping the found boulders within the foundations intact without disturbing the natural formation of the land; lime plaster on the exterior and interior of the building instead of cement plaster as it is manually ground and requires far less processing compared to cement; use of natural boulders for the road works and pathways that are hand shaped and laid without much underlay material; retaining walls with the use of local stone and concrete; fenestrations optimized for views and heat gain