Shreyas Patil Architects

Desur House

The site, buffered by areca-nut trees and sugarcane fields harbours a weekend home for a joint family. The house grows between what has always existed on the site; no trees were cut to accommodate the built design serving to conserve the flora and fauna of the site. A design where the built and un-built spaces are treated as equals, designed to create a feel of living within the farm amidst the areca-nut plantation; the open plan, multiple courtyards, clear ventilators, battened screens, all of it continuously frame the farmland from every indoor space.

As one approaches the design, he visualizes a series of walls that are placed at different heights; this accentuates a sense of motion to the architecture. The walls seem to dance as one walks around the building. These vertical walls not only connect the spaces together, they also metaphorically connect the earth and sky with their verticality.

The overall floor plan is choreographed to allow free movement. Though the design is dominated by pure geometric spaces, the intent is to achieve a non-linear movement for the user. A set of rectangle floor plates are positioned as dining pavilion, living lounge and pool deck grouped under a single roof form on either side of an existing mango tree. A bar counter and a swing protrude out of the central beam under the mango tree. This central beam not only supports the roof, but is active in creating a subdivision between the dining and living. All of this is mirrored in the black pool.

A series of rectangle parallel walls are juxtaposed to form small courtyards that act as thresholds between the living and bedroom areas. The bedroom spaces have more defined corners in contrast to the less contained planning concept of the living spaces, giving qualities of privacy and security. The sudden change of spatial quality between the bedrooms and courtyards is arbitrated by a screened passage way. This narrow corridor knits the indoor spaces with the outdoor.

The occupants are transferred into a more restful region of the built form which holds the bed, bath and toilet areas. Yet, this shift retains the connections with the outdoors as one can directly step out into the nature from every built space of the house.

Lastly, the kitchen stands independent over a raised plinth with its flat filler slab, placed in isolation it has a more community character than a pure domestic purpose. The kitchen has a direct dialogue with the courtyard in the front and a kitchen garden on the rear. The indoor dining platform extends outdoors into the courtyard floating out as a continuous large dining table.

The variations in roof heights are a direct result of the functions the rooms hold. The trusses that run across are sandwiched between the independent walls. The rafters and refurbished corrugated sheets support handmade country roof tiles, basic roof fabric to most vernacular homes of Belgaum region.

This house draws inspiration from vernacular courtyard sharing, low rise homes of the immediate villages. The design aims to recall this through colours, textures, materials and spatial qualities. The wire cut bricks give it a vernacular home like feel. The un-plastered concrete filler slab breaks the contrast of the smooth oxide flooring. The natural kadappa flooring connects the occupant to the earth. The black and yellow oxide treatments minimize the textural qualities of the space. The black basalt swimming pool is influenced by the basalt wells and Ghats, vernacular architecture of the Deccan plateau.

The fenestrations minimized to the south and west cut the harsh summer sun and cross monsoon rains. Towards the north and east the openings are designed to maximise the entry of north light through the courtyards. The pivoted wooden screens of the living lounge can be adjusted to different degrees of seclusion considering the season, time and purpose of activity. The teak lattice fenestrations throughout the design enable to achieve a smooth relation between the interior spaces and the outdoor landscape, enabling a farm like experience all over the design.

Location: Desur, Belgaum, India.
Year of completion: March 2019
Architecture Firm: Shreyas Patil Architects
Photography: Hemant Patil
Built-up Area: 5000 sqft (including swimming pool)