The Portal House, built on a vast land of 89000 sqft with an extensive spread of existing trees, is an attempt to create opportunities for indulging in the act of nothingness. It is conceived with the idea of creating a distinct experience of ‘living in a house’. A house with multiple overlaps of personal and public; inside and outside “domains”, catering to idea of solitude as well as gathering.
The fragmented built mass of 6000 sqft are composed and positioned based on the notion of a ‘swastika’. The central stand holds ‘the house’ and the four radiating arms orients the four ‘cabanas’. ‘The house’ edifices the public spaces such as living area, recreational area, dining area along with the supporting services of kitchen, store, powder room and the helper’s area.
The ‘cabanas’ are self-contained personal studios with a study, lounge and bed organized on an open plan with the ancillary areas of wardrobes, toilet, bath and Jacuzzi. Each of the built mass is wrapped with a corten-steel portals that overlaps over the view decks of ‘cabanas’ and the entrance of ‘the house’. The portals act as a common expression that unifies the cluster of the fragmented built components.
Taking forward the concept of ‘the served and the servant’ each built mass is split into two volumes lower and higher, where in the services are housed in the lower volumes and the livable and functional spaces are contained in the higher volumes. What defines the ‘essence’ of the overall experience of the house are the in-between spaces formed within the cluster of the fragmented built mass.
These intermediate spaces are treated as transitional spaces and are articulated uniquely as decked spaces, open courtyards, covered canopies, reflective pools, connecting pathways etc. The strategic presence of pigmented concrete walls complements the articulated open spaces giving them a sense of direction and defines the movement pattern within the residence in congruence with the position of the existing trees.
The trees play a significant and influencing role not only in the development of the plan, but also in determining the openings of the house. With the intent to extend the living areas into the transitional and open areas, there is no formal entry proposed to ‘the house’. Instead large openable surfaces in clear glass across the sixteen meter long north facade encourages uninterrupted visual and physical flow between the inside and outside spaces.
The transparent surfaces of the house make it feel like a bare entity while reflection of existing foliage on its surfaces add to the depth of internal spaces, which is further accentuated with the reflective pool. The unconventional higher ceiling heights of the ‘cabanas’ provides a direct connections with the tree canopies at all times. The high canopies of the trees further inspires to design the perforation pattern of the corten steel panels to achieve similar filtration of light through the portals.
A contrasting expression of crisp metal surfaces with organic and soft canopies. Built with the conventional RCC frame structure with brick walls, distinct finishing material such as, corten steel; pigmented concrete walls; rock face Jaisalmer stone; monolithic micro tipping concrete floors, stone mosaics, and Turkish travertine brings in the varied texture and warmth to the various spaces.
The salient feature of the house is its experience defined by its simplicity and dual characteristics. The duality discovered between the – solitude and gatherings; visual expressions of linear crisp lines and organic presence of tree canopies; raw, rustic, minimal material palate and contemporary simple basic form; fragmented built forms and continuous fluid movement. However the key element that elicits the sense of distinctiveness and tranquility is the six meters wide ramp that leads from the road to ‘the house’.
The approach delays the sense of arrival and serves as a transitional zone between the hustle and bustle of the urban life and the calmness and solitude of the cluster of trees. On the whole the residence is a demonstration of grandeur of space built with humble materials. The transitional spaces value adds the overall experience and the raw and rustic finishes respond to the natural characteristics of site providing its inhabitants a desired open and free lifestyle. Source by Reasoning Instincts Architecture Studio.
- Location: Umargam, India
- Architect: Reasoning Instincts Architecture Studio
- Architects in Charge:UjjavalParekh, BhairaviDhoot
- Project Team: Krunal Mistry, MeelPanchal
- Structure Design: Rajeev Shah & Associates, Mumbai
- Landscape Design: Green Pastels, Brinda Pancholi, Ahmedabad
- Manufacturers:Accoya, Corten, Nitco, Convow, Hybec
- Area: 665.0 m2
- Year: 2017
- Photographs: Krunal Mistry, Courtesy of Reasoning Instincts Architecture Studio
Article by Marco Rinaldi