The architects from iSTUDIO Architecture who built this unique home in Wada, India drew upon inspiration from the philosophies and works of Laurie Baker and Nari Gandhi. In doing so, they've created a home in which each room flows effortlessly into the others, connected by a seamless space held by the central courtyard. In keeping with nature-centric building philosophies, the architects have used knowledge of climatology and the solar path as an essential guide for introducing light and wind through various strategic openings in the home. Filled with winding twists and turns, exposed raw materials, and a new perspective everywhere you look, this home is an absolute wonder!
Brick House, as the architects nicknamed this project, is situated amidst rural settlements in Wada, near Mumbai, India. The structure is a 2500 sq.ft. farmhouse set within hills and farmland. In this initial view, you can already gain a sense of the organic character infused in its design, as its fluid form emerges from the ground and flows with curved dips and peaks into the skyline in a gentle, harmonious balance.
From this blueprint, you can observe how the architects have created a home in which each space flows into another along curved lines, leading into a seamless central space where a half indoor, half outdoor courtyard is found.
Going inside, you encounter a foyer unlike any other! You're greeted by a wide open view of the central courtyard that sits on the lower level, enjoying a balance between the soft sunlight falling to the central body of water and the cool, calm darkness within the structure. The home has been constructed using brick in its naked form, giving an earthy feel to the space. As you glance throughout this open room, you can see various places where light and air flow freely into the space – the positions and sizes of the openings within the house are dictated by climatology, ensuring natural light, cross ventilation, and passive cooling.
The levels further continue as a stone staircase winds in a snakelike twist onto the onto the floor containing the upper private bedroom, connected by an open terrace at the top of the stairs.
With curved lines and warped figures wherever you look, the interior space is dominated by a varied series of arches of brick and stone, opening to vistas of farms and hills beyond. The built-in furniture like this staircase appears to flow from the floor and walls in dramatic sweeps, leading your eyes in a fluid movement throughout the rooms.
Another noteworthy aspect of this home is the way the architects have incorporated traditional building techniques in their use of jalis, or small openings in the brick walls. The strategic use of jalis allows for cross ventilation without requiring a window or glass shutter. This technique has been adopted from a local, age-old custom, and as such, it has proven itself to be a low cost and eco-friendly technology. In fact, the use of jalis has allowed this 2500 sq ft structure to be constructed on a low budget due to reduced requirement of steel, cement & bricks, as well as the use of locally available bricks and the rejection of unnecessary practices (like plastering or adding panes and shutters to the home's openings).
When the sun sets, this courtyard is transformed in to a richly-hued tropical paradise full of glistening waters, deep earthy reds, and lush green leaves. It's hard to imagine that this home is anything less than a tropical getaway in paradise!
In this bedroom, you're immediately drawn in by the dramatic composition of light and shadows that the winding curves and textured ceiling create. Against the square patterns of exposed brick, the smooth stone ceiling with circular holes offers a stark contrast, drawing a focus to the different textures and patterns of the materials used in this bedroom. In keeping with the home's circular form, an oval-shaped bed has been built into the wall in a unique, hovering design.
The connection that this home enjoys with nature is immediate – this bedroom opens up to the outdoors through a wide arch, providing a very open dialogue between the indoor and outdoor worlds.
Throughout the home, built-in furniture is a consistent feature in every room. This hallway showcases a wooden shelf drawing upon nature for its design, resembling the wing of a bird in flight, and fitting perfectly along the smooth curves of the brick wall.
It seems that this home defies conservative architectural norms in every sense, and the bathroom is proof! Barely recognizable as a bathtub, this custom-made, built-in bathing area enjoys a view on the edge of a balcony, as well as a unique, reflective glass shower curtain that more closely resembles a work of fine art than a shower stall!
If you enjoy homes that defy the boundaries of normal, you'll enjoy a tour of this minimalist home offering a unique living room courtyard!