The house sits on a linear stretch of site that measures 40’X1000′, facing the beautiful beach near Chiplun, amidst a large growth of betel nut and coconut trees.
The client who is an artist by profession, required a three bedroom house that did not only do justice to the local context, but also matched up to the contemporary style of architecture that respected Indian ethos. The narrow site limited the design only to the two bedrooms, hence free standing walls were extended in the side and front set back spaces, to create open to sky courtyards adjacent to the building.
To enter the house, one has to pass through series of spaces and the whole transition before you reach the main door is quite interesting. One arrives in the first court which has cobble stones and then passes through a small gateway to enter the second court with water-body. The stepping stones lead you to a verandah with two wooden pillars. Beyond the verandah is the third court with a small mound and a beautiful sculpture. All openings and courts are kept on an axis so that we see the courtyards one after the other, right from the gate.
As one enters the house you are greeted with sunlight which filters through the skylight provided above a narrow double height space. The wooden staircase suspended by cables adds to the play of light and shadows. On your left is the dining room which again opens into the fourth courtyard, which comes as a pleasant surprise. A slit in the compound wall gives you a glimpse of the activity on the street.
There is another axis passing through the house which connects to a pathway leading to the beach. As you keep walking down the pathway made of rough Kota stones, you come across two strange structures. One is with exposed staircase which takes you to the rooftop, and you get a view of the entire wadi. This structure is actually the driver’s / caretaker’s room. Next to it is a low wall around a Jacuzzi and a small structure to house the irrigation pump and a generator.
As you keep walking further, you see two walls at both ends of large steps- which are almost the entire width of the plot. These steps lead upwards and have two existing coconut trees emerging through them. You come across a concrete box on the mid-landing – which is actually the shorter side of a swimming pool. This infinity pool really takes you by surprise as it is exposed gradually when you climb the steps. The edge of the pool merges with the sea beyond. There are two elevated platforms on either side of the pool. Built in seats are provided around two Champa trees and one gets a spectacular view of the sea from this point. The space below these platforms is used for changing rooms, steam and filtration plant.
All these structures one comes across while taking a walk from the entrance gate to the sea have been painted white. The combination fresh green foliage seen against the white walls, the shadows cast by them, the clear sunlight bouncing off the white textured surfaces and the sound of waves in the background, is quite enchanting.
It’s a house which one has to visit to experience the magic created by these white walls.
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