Architecture of the month
Ahmedabad || India
This private home in Ahmedabad is an expression of the Dhrangadhra stone, used in many of the architectural antiquities of Ahmedabad as it has a mottled texture. The slabs were available from quarries nearby, so the choice of Dhrangadhra stone came almost naturally. Furthermore, it is a weather and time resistant material. The cellular structure of this sandstone consists in intermittent microscopic air gaps, acting as an insulation panel itself. This led to the idea of cladding the entire body of the house as a monolith.
The organization of the plan resembles a simple cross. This allows for one big open space that permits easy cross ventilation and possibility of a seamless connection with the outdoors. The architects decided to use vertical giant blocks of stone to form a defined perimeter to protect the gardens, frame the edges, allow a fresh air breeze, and give a sense of privacy and scale. This frame allows the house to be immersed in greenery, which forms the surroundings of the cross-shaped construct.
From the entry through to the main stair volume at the center of the cross, the hallways are modulated to ease up the passage between inside and outside. Thanks to a set of stairs in solid stone in the garden outside, one can discover an elevated garden roof, from where to admire the surrounding landscape. This house promotes the use of external spaces, all along the edges of the cross layout. Intended as seamless extensions of the living spaces, the gardens will grow, over the years, to become “boxes” that come alive thanks to the changing sunlight, air breeze and weather conditions, imbuing the house with fresh aromas.
In Ahmedabad, light can be almost blinding at times, and here, comfort and glare reduction were achieved by placing inner darker walls or floor surfaces. Courtyards facilitating convectional ventilation are part of the passive climate control in the house. Stone fins and rough vertical cuts perpendicular to the building’s façade produce incident shadows that cool the façade and create an ever-changing play with light.
The interiors are embraced by a volume of rendered lime plaster ceilings and walls, and are embellished with rich woodworks enclosing cabinets and large luxurious en suite bathrooms. The house will also exhibit several bespoke objects and art pieces, many of which are designed by SPASM specifically for this project, chosen from the client’s collection or have been commissioned to local artists. The architects at SPASM have searched for a custom fit to the client’s lifestyle, aspirations and needs, and the architecture echoes and is inspired by a contemporary yet sensible and well-thought site occupation.
A long search for an appropriate portrayal of the water body ended in the commissioning of a life-size sculpture of a pensive and well-poised monk in Beslana stone, placed as if levitating on the water’s surface. The aim was to deliver a home that allows its occupants to live a life in the bosom of nature, with a high perception of the seasons, to entertain family and friends, and to experience the benefits of a well-placed life - with art, sculptures and objects contributing to the serenity of the home. Architecture, in the words of SPASM, is about summoning beauty and distilling moments of tranquil inner happiness, an awareness of just being and celebrating a single breath when everything is perfect.
Location: Bopal, Ahmedabad, India
Architects: Spasm Design
Lead Architects: Sangeeta Merchant, Gauri Satam, Divyesh Kargathra, Vijjisha Kakka, Mansoor Kudalkar and Sanjeev Panjabi
Project Management Team: Ingit Anand, Kalpesh Shah, Mahendra Shah, Laxman Desai
Structural: Ducon Consultants
MEP: Vimarsh Plumbing
Landscape: Kunal Maniyar
Lighting: Lee Broom, Roche Bobois, Luceplan, Memo, Fontana Arte, iGuzzini, Delta Light
Tapware: Hansgrohe, AXOR
Windows: Durall Systems India, Panoramah Windows
Furniture: Sources unlimited, Poliform, Giorgetti, De Castelli, Poltrona Frau, B&B Italia, Roche Bobois, Baxter, Henge, Sidewalks of the World Plaster: JBR Coatings
Rugs: Cocoon Fine Rugs, Khazana, Jaipur Rug
Photography: © Photographix – Sebastian Zachariah & Ira Gosalia, Edmund Sumner, Umang Shah