Photographs - Sebastian Zachariah, Denver, Tanmay, Gauri
A second home on a rocky outcrop at the start of the western ghats (highlands),Khopoli, in Maharashtra, India. An area of high precipitation in the monsoons, and equal heat during the summers, the site changes remarkably from March to July, with the onset of the south westerly monsoons. Basalt the local black rock of the region is what this site was about.
We chose to build the house as an accretion on this rocky basalt outcrop with the same inherent material transformed. An outgrowth which was made of a mix of water, sand, cement and the granular basalt. Concrete finely honed to serve as refuge, to face the climatic changes that the site offered. The house was conceived as a cast for human occupation, a refuge which trapped the views, the sun, the rain, the air, and became one with the cliff edge it stood on. Akin to the growth of a coral, the substance of the walls and roof dictate the experience of inhabiting the site.
Stone has been used in many forms, based on use, wear, grip, texture. The dark saturated black matt-ness conjures a cool sense of refuge and calm. Photographs cannot express the sense of weight when one approaches, or the sense of release at the edge of the pool at the far end of the open terrace, the feeling of burrowing deeper enroute, past the stacked stones, to the lower bedroom.
The house, a cast, an object for living, whatever you may call it, has transformed into a belvedere to minutely observe and sense the spectacle of nature, of shade as a retreat against the sharp tropical sun, the resurgence of life, a sudden BURST of green, when the hard pounding monsoon arrives, the waft of breezes filling the air with the fragrance of moist earth, the movement of stars across the very dark night skies.
To heighten the drama of the the site through what we build, without building a dramatic building!! A peculiar one YES.....