Architects: Spasm Design Architects
Project: Cruciform Shaped House / The House Of Secret Gardens
Project Team: Sangeeta Merchant, Gauri Satam, Divyesh Kargathra, Vijjisha Kakka, Mansoor Kudalkar and Sanjeev Panjabi
Location: Ahmedabad, India
Photographers: Umang Shah, Photographix, Edmund Sumner
This cruciform shaped house was evolved to house a family of six. The plot is located at Bopal (Ahmedabad) in a gated community at the end of the internal access road. The house is an expression in Dhrangadhra stone. The stone used in many of the architectural antiquities of Ahmedabad. The stone has a mottled texture and bone coloration, available in blocks; slabs and dust from quarries nearby it became an obvious choice. It ages pretty well too. The cellular structure of this sandstone holds intermittent microscopic air gaps, acting as an insulation panel itself. This led to the idea of cladding the entire body of the house as a monolith. The organization of the plan is like a simple cross.
This allows for one room thick arms, hence permitting easy cross ventilation and the possibility of a seamless connection with the outdoors. The stone is used in giant blocks vertically to form a periphery, a border to the gardens to frame the edges, allow breezes, and a sense of containment and scale. This frame allows the home to be immersed in the greens, considered imagery and landscape will form the surrounds of the cross-shaped construct.
From the entry through to the main stair volume at the Centre of the cross, the hallways of the home are so modulated that the sense of sauntering between inside and outside is heightened. Even externally, the body of the house can be surmounted via ascending stairs in solid stone, to discover an elevated garden roof. This home promotes the use of external spaces, all along the edges of the cross layout.
In Ahmedabad, we find the light very sharp and harsh at times, comfort can be achieved by a darker wall or floor surfaces to reduce reflected glare.
Courtyards facilitating the conventional movement of air will be a major part of the passive climate control in the home, stone fins, rough cuts perpendicular to the building face, cause incident shadows hence cooling the face and creating an ever-changing rhythm of shadows and light. The interiors are embellished with rich woodwork boxes that contain wardrobes and large luxurious ensuite bathrooms, sitting within a volume of ceilings and walls all rendered in lime plaster had applied like stucco.
Art and objects
Chosen from the client’s collection and commissioned from local artists, the cruciform shaped house will abound several bespoke objects and pieces, many of which are designed by SPASM for this project in particular. We searched for a custom fit to the client’s lifestyle, aspirations, and needs. A project in which the architecture is inspired and echoes a contemporary yet sensible and slick way of occupying the site.
Intended as seamless extensions of the living spaces the gardens will over the years mature as view boxes which come alive with the moving sun, breezes animating them and rain imbuing the home with the fresh aroma of the dry earth thirst quenched.
A long search for an appropriate emotion for the water body, ended in the commissioning of a life-size sculpture of a pensive monk, in Beslana stone gingerly poised on the water’s surface as if levitating.
His long search for the right architect ended with us, ever since a call every single day without fail followed, clearly we became like a drug, a fix, keeping the daily sense of invention, ideas and fervor going. We, love this depth of involvement, his curious nature in unraveling how each aspect of his ask and beyond was arrived at…
The plans adopt a strategy of roofed and open-air rooms…
The aim was to deliver a home which allows its occupants to live a life in the bosom of nature, sensing the seasons, entertaining their family and friends and juicing the joys of a well-played life… with art, sculpture, objects, contributing to the serenity of the home. The architecture we believe is about summoning beauty and distilling moments of tranquil inner happiness, an awareness of just being and celebrating a single breath when everything is perfect.