Balancing it Out

January, 2018

 

The colossal villa spanning 11,000-square-feet is an oasis of serenity in the urban city of Surat. Designed by Studio Lagom the 11,000 sq ft house is an outcome of the use of ‘structure on the street side and garden to the rear’ scheme in reverse. Meaning, that the bungalow is constructed behind an elevated garden. The architect has also played with the compound wall. Normally any bungalow will have a fortress-like compound. The Skewed house, however has an eye catching elevation combined with the Valsadi teak battens, that are softened by cascades of creepers. When one crosses this elevation, a simple ramp will lead to the garden. The garden is in between the outer boundary wall and the retaining wall of the home.

Balancing Out - cwinteriors.in


The whole idea behind this was to have a journey that finally ends the traveler in the garden. The regular or the ‘normal’ main door is designed using the same strategy. There is a small entrance lobby that shields the main living space from direct view. The ground level is allotted for relaxing and unwinding. Above this is the sprawl of the living-dining, kitchen, a bedroom and the garden in the front, followed by more bedrooms, up another level.

Balancing Out - cwinteriors.in

The form and materiality have been left aside. Though concrete was the material of choice, white plaster, stone and wood have been used to temper its formidable, institutional demeanour. The architect’s deep interest in photography helped him visualize this project as a series of interconnected vistas, and was also responsible for the ‘skewedness’ of Skewed House. Manifested subtly as elements shifted slightly off the straight line, this was an exercise in creating vistas and perspectives, and adding more life to a three-dimensional object.

 

Balancing Out - cwinteriors.in

What adds more to the beauty is that the living-dining area, an extensive one has the living part sunken while the dining area is elevated. The courtyard opposite the living area is sunken and has more seating space. These come with numerous configurations, giving more freedom to the people when it comes to using their space. The house establishes a strong connection to nature with the help of suitable fenestration. For instance, the L-shaped glass inset behind the pooja tower invites the surrounding greenery in and connects the interior water body with the external lotus pond visually. Similarly, the nine-foot cantilever of the master bedroom is outlined in glass, to invite slivers of sunlight and the sky into the space. Also, the views from the louvered doors and windows on this level are carpeted with the blossoms and the dense shining foliage of the frangipanis in the garden.

Balancing Out - cwinteriors.in

Much of the relaxed ambience of the Skewed House can be attributed to its substantial greenscape, developed collaboratively by Roots Designs and Studio Lagom. The lawn has a sectional profile (a kund-like sunken central portion), and has been inspired by the ghats of Varanasi and Ujjain. An artistic dimension was added by extending the floor pattern of the gazebo into the kund.

Balancing Out - cwinteriors.in

For the architect, this house represents the firming up of several convictions: that each building is unique by way of its users, setting, function, and more; that you will deliver quality if you care enough; that there is no subsitute for nature; and that architecture can leverage the innate beauty of every material, by creating the right balance between less and more.