Ahmedabad, India

House in an Orchard

The house is situated at the center of a 20-acre mango orchard, 5 km North of Ahmedabad.  Designed as a single-family weekend retreat, the house is organized around a courtyard which becomes the visual focus of the house.  The courtyard contains a lap pool filled with fresh water that is used to recharge the wells on the property when the house is closed after its use on the weekends.

Being located in the hot dry climate of Ahmedabad, the first decision in the design process was to locate the house in the center of orchard rather than on the edge of the property. Besides being a naturally insulated location, the green cover also serves as a visual relief in the summer months when the acute glare is otherwise very uncomfortable. The terrace of the house is designed as a landscape with seating platforms and pavilions facilitating its use in the evenings when the temperatures drop sharply as compared to the interior which takes longer to cool.

The house is thus designed as an oasis that one arrives at, meandering through the orchard.  The outer skin of the house is made of local Porbunder sandstone, which emphasizes the textures of a semi-desert landscape.  When one enters the house, through this external skin, the visitor experiences an instant relief with the sight of the water in the courtyard and plastered surfaces with various vibrant colours.  The blue colour of the water in the lap pool is folded over an adjoining wall, exaggerating the presence of water and enhancing the contrast between the inside and outside.