The Stone, beneath the sky, stood cold –
Between the runes, a vapour strolled
...a cloak of fleecy fog consoled
- The Quest, Terry O’Leary
Malavli is a small village in Maharashtra, two hours drive from Mumbai city. This region receives high amount of rainfall. The client has a large extended family and intended to use the property as a country vacation home, away from the hustle bustle of the metropolis.
This second home has a rather peculiar story. Spasm was commissioned to demolish an existing structure, which was deemed structurally unfit for occupation, and build a new home on the same site. An in depth study, prompted us to reimagine the idea of occupying the site.
ARCHITECTURAL MAKE UP
Many radical strategies were adopted
_ The first being that of retaining and recycling the debris of the demolished building as a mound, and also changing the geography of the acreage to tie the house seamlessly with the landscape.
_ The second being the inversion of a typical home in section. The sleeping spaces as an introverted assembly around existing trees on the ground level, where one descends into the coolness and comfort of the earth.
_the main pavilion-esque living space on the upper faces the north, overlooking the mature trees which stood on site.
_ the pool sits at the upper level terrace and seems to rise out of the mound.
The house has been imagined in Blue Gray Kotah, an Indian stone which forms the main substance of the expression. The naturalness, monolithic quality, cost, availability in different formats, and wear-worthiness of the stone led to its choice as the best defense against the harsh humidity and fierce rain that affects this region. Kotah stone is used in several forms, from fine chips, to strips, to slabs, to solid cove cut skirtings. The bath spaces are finished in white Indian Bhanswara marble. The entire project expresses a high level of craftsmanship and quality through the application of the stone which is conceived akin to the striations of layers of stone found at quarry sites.
The spatial construct makes the occupation of this home about the elements. The changes in light intensity are palpable, as is the mood of the rain whether gentle or violently loud. We hope we have delivered the vessel for the family to live a life under the skies, a place to enjoy the rain, wet breezes, encounter rare bugs , a place to grab the dew laden cool grass between their toes.
Gomati, is what this home is called lovingly in the memory of the client’s mother.
Sanjeev Panjabi and Sangeeta Merchant lead a studio of 13 architects in Mumbai called SPASM Designs. As the state of architecture lies in the country today, SPASM follows a very flexible model of operation with the two principals forming two station points of perspectives, designs which emote but not theorise and a methodology which believes that no two designs can have a similar approach. Sanjeev Panjabi and Sangeeta Merchant are both graduates of the Academy of Architecture, Mumbai and started their studio with their first commission in East Africa in 1997, growing stronger with additions to the team each year and graduating from interior refurbishments and interventions to architectural design in the year 2000. SPASM believes that design is an outcome of experience, a dialogue between each space and the other and a dance with light. Hence, each of their designs reflects different ethos and emotional experiences from makers to users.
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