Settle On Shore

Remember those childhood days when painting a picture would mean doodling lush green mountains with the sun rising from them, a tranquil blue lake at the bottom and a small yet perfect wooden house overlooking the lake. What better than to get a realistic modern version of your childhood painting!

Architect Shabbir Unwala when endowed with the honor of building a house for a fellow practicing architect, turned the doodle of a perfect house into a reality. With his vast experience of constructing structures on steep slopes, in rural contexts, without retaining walls, cutting of trees, and land leveling , the context of this project was familiar to him.

The site is located on the banks of Khadakwasla, a lake on the outskirts of Pune which supplies water to the city. On a subtle cliff along the lake, the boundary of the house starts with a naive wooden pathway which leads to the verandah of the house, covered by the shallow end of the lean-to sloping roof of the elongated rectangular structure. The entire 600ft structure is suspended over folded steel frames, supported by just two RCC columns anchored in the sloping land below. Pertaining to the gradual slope of the roof, the interiors of the house expands holistically as you move inwards giving the space a little dimension. Right next to the entrance, is the services cubicle combining of the pantry, the toilet, and a little ladder like staircase leading to the mezzanine floor above the pantry. With just bare and essential furnishings, like the centrally placed bed, cabinets and understated curtains, the drama in the compact interiors is created with shadow play as the sunlight enters through the façade. The structure built with a minimalist approach relies entirely on nuts and bolts at joints.

The structure with wooden slats on both the east and west facades, and Mangalore tiles on the sloping roof, blends with the pastoral character of the space yet is aesthetically eminent due to its pleasing dynamics.

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