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Portuguese Charm In Modern Villa

Raya Shankhwalker

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Villa Ribander was converted into a villa from an early 19th century Indo-Portuguese house.  

In the town of Ribander, on the banks of the Mandovi River in Goa, stood a dilapidated Indo-Portuguese house originally built in the early 19th century. The approximately 8,300 sq. ft. plot was purchased with a desire to convert the dilapidated heritage structure into a luxury six bedroom riverside residence. Thus the design brief entailed retaining and restoring as much of the original heritage structure as possible. The brief also included adding an extension constituting of indoor and outdoor spaces that take advantage of the proximity to the Mandovi River.

Maintaining a balance in the aesthetics between the traditional and the contemporary posed to be an interesting design challenge for Raya Architects. Villa Ribander, the 6,900 sq. ft. villa, is a home designed to meet the comforts of day-to-day living while providing the luxuries of a weekend home.

Divided between two levels, the layout of the existing home was maintained. The weak existing walls of the structure were strengthened to withstand seismic, wind and vehicular impact. The exterior of the old house has been meticulously restored to its original character to maintain the character of the streetscape, involving extensive research on the building style of the period.

Rather than emulating the design style of the original villa for the side wing, it follows a contemporary design language so that a degree of lightness and modernity is introduced into the house. The intent was to create an interesting aesthetic with the juxtaposition of new against the old.

An interesting feature of the extension is an overhead bridge structure made of metal slats, to allow a view of the water body below. The pavilion was designed to be a light semi-open structure with folding glass walls and a vast shading canopy providing seamless views of the river and access to the outdoor spaces and infinity pool. The verandah abutting the dining area serves as a long semi-open space overlooking the tropical garden and the river beyond.

The interiors boast a minimal contemporary style with modern furniture and eclectic pieces. The neutral colour palette is balanced with the use of terrazzo and wooden flooring.