The countryside villa on the outskirts of Vadodara City is a rural residential retreat that facilitates the requirements of its single owner. As opposed to any typical residential space that accommodates a multi-member family household, this house addresses distinct spatial domestic requirements of its singular inhabitant. It encompasses about 900 sq. m of the area in a plot size of 7,000 sq. m.
This countryside villa named ‘Amaltas’ (a regional name for Cassia Fistula) functions in accord with the surrounding invitatory landscape, interspersed courtyards, apertures for indirect daylighting and syncretic accents of inherited, artisanal and natural entities.
It is in the emergence of an ever-changing intersubjectivity between any residential spatiality and its inhabitant/s, that the dynamics of domesticity evolves. This further leads to unfolding an array of conscious design determinants, which are flexible enough to accommodate temporal variances whilst still asserting coherency and user-oriented peculiarity. For an atypical single-user household like this villa, the design considerations including but not limited to the assimilation of functionality and aesthetics, extended beyond the conventional schematics of a space that usually resonates interdependency and familial convergence.
The resultant spatiality, thus incorporates four disparate zones, interlinked and contiguous alongside multiaxial circulatory connections. The essence of each zone differs distinctly by varying the degree of transparency, scale, natural light, privacy, and layering. This approach also enunciates transitional experiences, transforming the user’s movement into a sequential yet seamless phenomenon.
As for the rural site for this residence, it came with a lush expanse of pre-existent mature trees with some sporadically grown climbers and thickets. Diagrammatically, the design evinces a dispersal from the formal center, with open, semi-open and closed spaces, structured through a series of courtyards which not only moderate the openness of each space but also enable natural ventilation and day-lighting. The volumes and voids formed as a resultant of the superimposition of the tilting grids are marked by the prominence of broad brick walls.
The intent to disseminate the unconventionality of domesticity for this case, propelled the design to establish autonomous functionality, critically to a residential brief. This, in turn, was addressed by dispersing discrete services and circulation for each spatial cluster; be it for the user’s private domain or the residing guests’ wing or rather public areas in the core which can host frequent client meetings and social gatherings.
While coping with the fluctuating subtropical climatic indicators for a residence of this scale, considerations for passive solar techniques included the clever use of layering wide verandas and service buffers. Thoughtful incorporation of thick load-bearing brick masonry and RC frame structure together allows the plan to deepen and achieve the desired hierarchical succession.
Above all, every home has its own unlimited possibilities with space arrangements. Similarly, this rural residence serves as an open-ended enterprise to reflect and substantiate the comprehensive reciprocity shared by domesticity and residential spaces.
About the Architecture firm – Squareworks
Squareworks, an Architecture and Urban Design practice focuses on design and research on housing, public space/institution, and urbanism. Based in Mumbai, India and Tokyo, Japan, SquareWorks was founded by architect Katsushi Goto, who has an ongoing architectural practice in both these countries.
Squareworks aims at combining both design and research together, to open professional and academic discourse within the realms of Architecture and Urbanism; whilst keeping ‘drawing’ and ‘diagram’ as forms of knowledge as well as communicative tools. This approach not only supports design development but also questions the limits of professional practice within the current urban environment and city-planning process. Alongside this practice, Squareworks hosts a collaborative platform ‘SqW: Lab’, whereby creative professionals collectively explore the potential of drawing, as a tool to develop and disseminate multiple approaches of looking at architectural and urban space.
About the Architect – Katsushi Goto
Katsushi Goto is a practicing architect/urbanist based in Mumbai and Tokyo and Director of ‘Squareworks’, a design and research firm. He studied Housing and Urbanism at the Architectural Association (AA), London. His current research focuses on the domesticity associated with the materiality of an ideal family home and the intersection of politics of public domain and interior urbanism. He is working as a Senior Assistant Professor at Meiji University, Tokyo, to program and coordinate international workshops with seven institutions across South-East Asia. He is also a visiting Associate Professor at CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India.
Project Name: Amaltas
Location: Vadodara, Gujarat, India
Dimension: 890 sq.m (Built Up Area); 7062 sq.m (Plot Size)
Design Development: 2015 October – 2016 October
Construction Period: November 2016 – March 2019
Architects/Designers: SquareWorks LLP Design
Team: Katsushi Goto, Khushboo Vyas
Contractors: Manishi Bhatt and Associates
Structural Consultants: Dr. M K Maroliya
Electrical Consultants: J. P. Electrical
Plumbing and Sanitation Consultants: Vraj Sanitation
Photo Credit: Fabien Charuau