HOUSE IN THE HILLS - KODAIKANAL
The house is in Kodaikanal, a small town in the hills in the south of India. The approach to the site is from the lower north end. The site slopes uphill towards the south, beyond which is the forest. The house is located uphill and by doing so the forest becomes the primary view and the southern orientation brings sunlight and warmth into the house through the day.
PLANNINGThe drop off, entry and the principal areas of the house are all at the upper level with an immediate connection to the rear landscape.The slope of the hill allowed for a lower level to be tucked beneath accommodating the guest bedrooms and a lounge with access to and from the landscape at the lower level. An insulating passage between the retained earth and the interior wall is used to accommodate the services and heaters which are easily accessible for maintenance.
The planning therefore almost naturally came out of the client’s needs, the topography of the site, and a solution to extract the maximum potential of the site in spite of its limitations.
THE MASSINGThe massing reflects the interior spaces. There are two wings connected by a vestibule. One wing is the transparent living dining area with the floating roof. The core which consists of the kitchen and other utility areas is a box within this transparent wing. The staircase connects this level to the lounge below which has the 2 guest rooms on either side .This connection is reflected in the massing or the architecture by the exposed concrete wall that ties the two levels. Selective views are framed by long vertical slits in the RC wall. The other wing is the master suite reflected in volume as a solid rectangular box. One end contains the sleeping area and sits on the landscape facing the forest. The other end contains a lounge for reading and television viewing and floats over the lower part of the hill. A timber screen that envelops the lounge provides privacy and yet allows a partial view of the hill across, the lights from the dwellings there giving a sense of safety and comfort at night. The master bath is between the sleeping area and the lounge opens onto the landscape.
DETAILSMaterials, Landscape & Interiors
Materials that can be left is their natural state and blend with the landscape like local stone, exposed concrete and timber have been used. The intention for the landscape was to just keep it natural so that it blends into the forest beyond. So the under growth and shrubs were removed, the pear and other trees were retained and the grass was allowed to grow. Nearly all of the furniture is designed for the house and hand crafted by a local carpenter. The accessories picked, bring in accents from the region.