The house of secret gardens

From shadow play on the walls, to the scent of fresh rain on dry earth, to gardens swaying in the breeze and a statuesque monk hovering over water – this passive climate control home engages the natural world on every level

Story by: Spasm Design Photography by: Umang Shah, Edmund Summer, Photographix India
You can climb the house on the outside architecture, backyard, building, courtyard, estate, facade, grass, home, house, property, real estate, residential area, roof, room, yard, gray
You can climb the house on the outside via solid stone stairs stairs to discover an elevated garden roof.

Designed by Spasm Design

From the architect:

Materials

This private home in Ahmedabad, India, is an expression in Dhrangadhra stone, a sandstone used in many of the city’s architectural antiquities.

The bone-coloured stone has a mottled texture, and being available in blocks and slabs from quarries nearby it became an obvious material choice for the home’s construction.

Dhrangadhra stone ages pretty well too, and the cellular structure of this sandstone holds microscopic air gaps, allowing the stone to acting as insulation panelling in its own right.

This factor led to the idea of cladding the entire body of the house as a monolith.


Plan

The plan is organised like a simple cross.

This allows for one room with substantial wings, an arrangement allowing for easy cross ventilation and the possibility of a seamless connection with the outdoors.

The design adopts a strategic combination of roofed and open air rooms.

The stone is used in giant blocks, set vertically to form a periphery, a border frame for the gardens that allows for breezes and provides a sense of containment and scale.

This framework allows the home to be immersed within the greenery, with carefully chosen imagery and landscaping forming the surrounds of the cross-shaped construct.

The stone blades protruding from the cladding create apartment, architecture, backyard, building, courtyard, estate, facade, grass, home, house, interior design, land lot, lawn, property, real estate, residential area, roof, room, tree, urban design, villa, yard, gray, brown
The stone blades protruding from the cladding create shade and mitigate the monolithic nature of the stonework.

Movement

From the entry through to the main stair volume at the centre of the cross, the hallways of the home are modulated to heighten the sense of sauntering between indoors and out.

You can even climb the house on the outside via solid stone stairs stairs to discover an elevated garden roof.

In fact, this home promotes the use of external spaces all along the edges of the cross layout.

Searing light

In Ahmedabad, the light can be sharp and harsh at times. However, visual comfort is achieved by employing darker wall or floor surfaces to reduce reflected glare.

The choice of sandstone cladding right across the architecture, building, cement, concrete, facade, floor, flooring, house, line, property, residential area, gray, black
The choice of sandstone cladding right across the home adds to its sculptural impact.

Ventilation

Courtyards facilitating the movement of air by convection currents, are a major part of the passive climate control in the home.

On the outside, stone fins – rough cuts perpendicular to the building face – create incidental shadows that cool the façade.

And in visual terms, the fins create an ever-changing rhythm of shadows and light.

The interiors feature rich woodworked boxes that contain wardrobes and large luxurious ensuite bathrooms.

These sit within the airy volume of ceilings and walls all rendered in lime plaster that is applied like stucco.

The dining area is situated in the longer architecture, building, ceiling, design, furniture, home, house, interior design, lighting, living room, property, real estate, room, black, brown
The dining area is situated in the longer form of the cross-shaped home.

Art and objects

The home feature several bespoke objects and pieces.

These were chosen from the owner’s own collection and had been commissioned from local artists.

In fact, many were designed by SPASM specifically for this project.

A long search for an appropriate element to accompany the water feature, ended in the commissioning of a life-size sculpture of a pensive monk.

Created in Beslana stone, the figure is poised on the water’s surface, as if levitating.

Going up? Going Down? The stair treads repeated architecture, building, ceiling, house, interior design, light, lighting, night, black
Going up? Going Down? The stair treads repeated on the underside of stairways creates an Escher-like effect of stairs that actually lead up, down and nowhere.

The gardens

Intended as seamless extensions of the living spaces, the boxed gardens will mature over the years.

These come alive with the movement sun and are animated by breezes and the rain, the latter bringing the fresh aroma of thirst quenched dry earth into the home.

The sound of water or smell of nature architecture, bank, building, canal, channel, grass, grass family, house, landscape, natural environment, natural landscape, nature reserve, plant, pond, real estate, reflecting pool, reflection, river, tree, walkway, water, water resources, watercourse, waterway, wetland, gray, black
The sound of water or smell of nature is never far away in the biophilic residence.

Overview – tranquility and nature

The aim was to deliver a home that allows its occupants to live a life in the bosom of nature, experiencing the seasons, and entertaining their family and friends in a serene environment surrounded by art, sculpture, objects, and gardens.

We believe architecture is about summoning beauty and distilling moments of tranquil inner happiness, creating an awareness of just being and celebrating a single breath when everything is perfect.

Jun 19, 2019

Credit list

Architects
Sangeeta Merchanta,Sanjeev Panjabi; Spasm Design
Awards
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) – Runner-up TIDA International Home of the Year
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