Text description provided by the architects. Atop a hillock, overlooking a panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks, the clients, Sourabh Upadhyay, Aman & Ankush Rohilla knew from the very start that the house should be designed more to look out, rather than be looked at. Driving up from Jim Corbett National Park towards Ranikhet, a tiny spiraling road opens to this meadow-like soft landscape where Himalayan mules were the only help to carry materials to the top. Since the challenge at hand was to build the glass pavilion in this untouched wilderness, where transportation was a major setback, it was decided to keep the whole house at one level, avoiding excessive vertical structural elements.
The clients wanted a simple, comfortable weekend place, far from the frenzied turbulence of a bustling metropolis. So, they decided to dispense with elaborate traditional Indian interiors and unnecessary mod cons. It was only a bed in a bedroom from where they wanted to capture all the ultimate luxury by looking at a sweeping view of the mountains. This is where the contemporary heavy Indian bed boxes were replaced with floating beds. Also, in the living area, the sitting was deliberately sunk into the floor to avoid any obstacle as you look through one glass wall across the other. The openings through all the spaces have been deliberately positioned to permit a fascinating view.
Since glass is majorly used in the exterior facade, and few skylights, the greenhouse effect was evident in two bedrooms towards the south, as the long connecting corridor was blocking cross ventilation. To mitigate this, the roof was broken into two parts. Providing a higher ceiling towards the south helped the hot air rise up, along with sufficient volume above the middle washroom to keep the water tanks/heat-pump, etc. The house harvests all its water needs from rainwater, which is stored next to a steam bath in the southern part of the property. The raised slab on the rainwater harvesting tank is another spot and has been landscaped to enjoy gusting winds from the west. Since there is a panoramic view of clear/pollution-free sky from every corner of the property, the landscaping is done by spreading the planets across the greenery of the garden, and by creating textures of various planets with natural stone. Thus, calling it Celeste. The house is capable of generating energy from the sun and storing it for the night.
The very sight of this house takes one by surprise, a simple block of glass, that have been built to look so diverse from each and every angle. The mix of glass, paint, concrete and wood on the facade changes as one moves around, because of the ever-transforming perspectives of interiors which go along. The inverted beams provide a sense as if a flat minimal block of roof spans over. The slanted glass on the corridor blocks weather but not the natural environs around. The beauty of it all is the thread of simplicity that runs through the whole design. It is the imaginative exploration of simple materials and an excellent location.