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House of Three Streams

Layers of History in Dialogue with landscape and Modernity

Malik Architecture

House of Three Streams
By Francesco Pagliari -

Nestled in luxuriant monsoon forest in a mountainous region, this private residence is close enough to Mumbai to be a welcome retreat from the incessant throng of one of India’s largest cities. Standing approximately 830 m above sea level, the house is surrounded by, and looks out onto steep slopes. In fact, the natural topography informs the whole architectural project. Every aspect of the house has been fashioned not only to blend seamlessly and discreetly into its natural setting, but also to adroitly exploit the particular features of landscape and climate. Adherence to context is completed by the use of traditional building materials like local basalt stone, timber, and bricks alongside contemporary metal and concrete. Every section of the house has been oriented to take advantage of the cool prevailing breezes. The cooling effect of two mountain streams has also been harnessed. The steeply sloping site dictated the cascading multi-level plan comprising a series of individual blocks that mold themselves effortlessly to the irregular terrain. Similarly, the paths and outdoor staircases linking the different blocks follow the natural slopes, crossing naturally formed clefts in the hillside. The architecture also complies with another major requirement of the brief: to build a house without felling trees. The segmented plan is therefore not only a response to the lay of the land; it is also a function of the natural clearings occurring in the forest. The architect has made clever use of this constraint. Not only does the forest form a picturesque backdrop to the house, offering a series of views onto the surrounding landscape; it also affords precious shading and privacy for certain parts of the residence. Open lawn areas further underline the embedded nature of the whole complex. Interconnection and overlapping of the “made” and the “found” are the hallmark of this architectural project. Natural vegetation surrounds the built...

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