The beauty of the structure is in the blend of materials and the play of light and shadow of the same. The structure has landscape elements embedded both within and without and this plays a very important role in enhancing the structure. The green elements seen throughout the structure liven up the spaces and work to bring nature into the life of the user.
Lake house, Surat
The Lake house is a 4500 sq.ft 3-bedroom farmhouse, meant as a vacation home for a large family in Vesma, near Surat, Gujarat. It is set inside from the highway and overlooks a small artificial lake created by canal water towards the east and orchards in the west. The house is set slightly away from the compound wall and stands majestically against the lawn. The brick jail compound wall fades away into transparency to allow a view towards the lake from the house and the angular 3-dimensional main gate forms a strong statement with the angular roof of the house in the backdrop.
The first impression of the entrance of the farm house is the juxtaposition of the solid deep brick and the almost floating green cover on the metal frame. The visitor turns into the driveway with a garden view overflowing with bougainvillea flowers and parks underneath a vibrant canopy of creepers. The darkness in the entrance lobby beckons with the promise of coolness and respite from the hot sun. The visitor’s eye is drawn from the twisted column at the front to the circular arch in the wall behind. The sense of contrast between the brick or stone and the vibrant green is carried throughout the structure.
When one enters the lobby, the brick arch further frames the stone arch which further frames the smaller circular brick arch, highlighted by the light in the court behind. The sense of depth in space and exploration is created and tantalises the visitor with curiosity. As he passes through the arch into the open verandah, there is a pause as one realises the visual textures in space on both sides. You see a landscaped pool on one side and the sunset through the green court on the other. Each side has a vista to offer and creates a small isolated traditional verandah for a group or individuals away from the rest of the structure.
The bamboo frame around the main door offers a glimpse into the main space, just hinting at more beyond the door. On entering the main door, there is a sense of soft light and yet the first visual is that of the pool with the backdrop of the brick wall. The plunge pool is a space to relax inside the living space for the family in the hot summers, while cooling down the interior space. It acts as a separate space from the main pool, introducing the possibility of 2 distinct groups also enjoying simultaneously, without creating walled barriers.
TThe double height window with the view of the pool, the garden, the lake and the sky seamlessly merges the interiors with the outdoor. Mornings in the living space are greeted with a glow of east light and for the rest of the day; it is a pleasant space with soft brightness in all seasons. The double height bamboo roof gives the space warmth and the white IPS floor with the embedded Kota stone chips gives it an expanse. The twisted roof opens out towards the pool, creating a play of changing internal volumes and sense of it flowing outdoors. The pool is screened on the south east side from the sun and from the public entrance area with landscape, which extends towards the outdoor verandah between the entrance and the living space. The glimpses and connections of different spaces offer a sense of surprise and connect the various spaces.
The open kitchen, the court with the staircase, the plunge pool area and the pool with the outer deck and landscape are all extensions of the living and dining space. The spaces are all distinct from each other and demarcated using subtle play of the materials, roof, levels or barriers without defining each space. This gives it a lot of flexibility and a sense of being in a large seamless space, while maintaining integrity of the function and edges of each space. The play of the volume of space from the filler slab to the twisted bamboo ferro-cement roof naturally draws one’s eye to the sky beyond the tall glass facade, the pool and the lawn, seamlessly blending the indoors and outdoors.
The three courtyards connected to the living room and passages give a sense of light, shadow and openness to the central space. It does not feel enclosed since each stone or brick wall has an opening which gives a visual connection to the green and light in the courtyards. These also allow free cross ventilation through the spaces and make the farmhouse a pleasant space minimising or even eliminating the need for air-conditioning.
The staircase with the leathered black granite with the exposed concrete folded plate profile sits in the central court and is lit up through the day from various angles, creating an interesting play of light and shadows. The Kota stone – rough and polished placed with the IPS floor adds a very subtle palette of shaded variations through the structure.
The play of stone and the pots in the filler slabs or the bamboo and the brick wall along with the coloured IPS floor carries into the bedrooms, as in the public space. The bedrooms are each connected to the outdoor private gardens. The landscape is intended to disconnect from the main grounds and allow a blend of fragrance, flowers and beauty to surround the room. The cosiness of the room is welcome, when one enters the private space of the bedroom from the larger common spaces with large noisy and boisterous gatherings.
The material palette responds to local availability and climate. The walls are load-bearing exposed brick, stone or lime plastered wall, creating a play of rich colours and textures. Brickwork is done in rat-trap bond, saving material and keeping internal spaces cooler through insulation. The colourful IPS floors and the polished and unpolished Kota floors break the monotony of bricks and stones. The roof is used to divide spaces with flat filler exposed RCC slabs or sloping ferrocement slabs. The twisted Ferrocement roof with bamboo under-structure covering the living area and the bedrooms, allow for a variation of scale in the spaces. Locally sourced earthen pots are used in filler slabs, further increasing the comfort levels inside.
Prashant Dupare and Shriya Parasrampuria were co-founders of istudio architecture along with a third partner previously. Lake house was part of their works at istudio architecture.