Too good to be true? Not so for Studio Mumbai’s modest piece of cultivated landscape
AR_EA 2008 commended
Occasionally there was a concern among the jury that they could all too easily be enticed by small buildings that were simply ‘too beautiful’. Or, indeed, by seductive sites that were just too good to be true. In some ways this project ticked both boxes, with two crisply and carefully detailed timber and glass boxes lightly set within a coastal plantation. In the end, however, the jury indulged their instinct, and gave the Palmyra House by Studio Mumbai its well deserved commendation. Comprising three rectangles in plan, the house is divided into two linear blocks, cranked and dislocated from one another. In-between sits a pool of similar scale and proportion that bisects the geometric shift.
Executed with restraint, when set within a coconut plantation, horizontal louvres harmoniously oppose the near vertical tree trunks, allowing air and light to be filtered through the two pavilions. Set on shallow stone plinths, the linear forms extend into the landscape with a network of stone aqueducts, inhabited by moss, lichen and ferns, that irrigate the plantation by drawing water from the nearby artesian well. Long runs of concertina doors allow internal elevations of each pavilion to open up to the pool, creating a relationship between the two blocks across this modest piece of cultivated landscape.
House, Nandgaon, Maharashtra, India
Architect: Studio Mumbai, Mumbai
Project team: Bijoy Jain, Jeevaram Suthar, Roy Katz, Samuel Barclay, Mangesh Mhatre
Photographs: Hélène Binet, Studio Mumbai