The Unwind Abode By Ammeya Gogate & Gouri Deshpande

The site was situated on the terrace floor of a 3 storied building just above the client’s apartment, surrounded by the lush green canopies of the coconut and mango trees. The building was an old construction but was designed for future expansion with a provision for an extra floor. The terrace was around 550 sq. ft in area with nearly 2/3 covered by the existing damaged fabricated shade, sometimes used as a utility area but mostly underused.

Our first thought was to capture and frame the canopies of the existing coconut and mango trees as an extension of the interior spaces. Our aim was to nurture the relationship of open and built spaces, without losing the essence of the terrace. So we opted for an area breakup of 65% built and 35% treated open which tries to encompass the varied needs of the client. By drawing clues from the site and surroundings we took nature as our inspiration which also helped define our palette. The idea was to create a den amidst the thick green canopies

The client is a businessman based in Pune. He has a family of 5, he and his wife, 2 kids, and his mother-in-law. Being a businessman he often has long working hours and a tiring schedule. After having often conversations with him, we understood that he is an extremely social, very enthusiastic, a happy-go-lucky person. He has a group of school friends who regularly hang out together. Being brought up in Pune, he has developed a liking for Marathi literature and has a collection of his favorite books which he wanted to display. He has traveled to many countries in past years and loves to collect souvenirs from the places he visits.

When the client came to us, with a fixed budget and a short time frame, but was clear about what he wanted. He had asked for space where he could unwind after a tiring day at work. Space where he could relax, have a drink, or enjoy a smoke which he was not comfortable doing in front of the family. He wanted a space where he could also give time for his hobbies, read a book, listen to music and also host parties for his friends on his days off from work.

As a response to the client brief first we tried to thoroughly understand the users, study their lifestyle and socio-cultural background and analyze their requirements more than defining a signature style. With limited time and budget, we tried exploring the available materials as much as possible, without compromising on the desired quality of space. We also wanted to keep the interiors flexible and easy to maintain, which also respect their way of living.

The client came with a tight time frame. The proposal came to us in mid-November just after Diwali was over, and the client wanted to invite his friends for the New year’s party. We had roughly around 45 days to execute the whole project, from demolishing the existing structure, relocating some plumbing pipes, build the new structure, and by understanding his requirements and taste, convert the terrace space into a private lounge, and we managed to hand over the project in 40 days – just before the deadline.

The client made it very clear that he wanted to limit the budget to a stipulated amount of 12 lakh rupees only. So we tried keeping the entire project’s cost at approximately twenty-two hundred rupees per square foot. out of which 600 per sq. ft went for construction of walls and roof while 1600 per sq. ft for the interiors.

After removing the existing damaged fabricated shade and clearing out the site, we analyzed the surroundings, the views, the sun movement, and the wind direction to understand the site potentials and limitations. We thought of creating two parts- one which is open to the sky and the other which is enclosed, with a passage and a service bay in between. In this way keeping the client’s requirements in mind and exploring the potential of the space with the existing parapet wall and two duct shafts. We designed a semi-open terrace with pergola on the north and a large lounge on the south which are buffered by a service bay of pantry, bar unit, and a powder room which by virtue of its location can serve easily to both sides.

The palette of neutral colors of grey, brown, and black-led to the selection of wood for ceiling rafters, the display and storage units; black leather-polished Cudappah stone flooring; turquoise accent tiles for the bar counter; and artwork on the walls. While choosing the material which was cost-effective, we tried maintaining the versatility by allowing for optimum customization through soft furnishings, emphasizing the desired quality of the space.

The indoor part -the lounge was kept as one large open space. We wanted the furniture to be flexible which optimizes the space required for single occupancy, as well as a social gathering. A couch where one can sit comfortably and watch TV or listen to music, a daybed tucked in a niche with two side tables which provides extra seating in case of a get-together. A display unit of open shelves for his books and his tasteful interests is consciously kept in front of one of the duct shaft to conceal it.

The efforts were taken to blend the design with function, by retaining the transparency and ensuring ease of use. Spaces that were governed by the purpose, materials, textures, and colors helped defining those spaces, and Instead of hiding, we highlighted the structure.

With the tight budget of Rs. 12 Lakh in mind the efforts were taken to prioritize and consciously distribute the budget, which also led us to the selection of cost effective and locally available materials. We tried making the space climate-responsive and context-sensitive by adopting the use of optimum natural light and ventilation through, the placement and treatment are given to the openings, which resulted in minimizing the need for air conditioning and artificial lighting. We used waste or leftover pieces of black leather-polished Kadappa stone with grooves for the flooring of the terrace.

We believed that climate and context were the major determinants of form and function here. Our effort was to make spaces climate-responsive and context-sensitive, by adopting simple, intelligent ideas such as optimum use of natural light, ventilation, locally available natural building materials and techniques. To achieve that we kept two large glass panels which could be screened using blinds and they were flanked on either side by adjustable wooden louvers, which allowed the cross ventilation and also provided privacy, and because of the variable angles of louvers, one could regulate the amount of breeze and sunlight that one wanted in the space.

After coming up from the stairs one first enters into the terrace area, two-third of which is covered with a pergola and glass on top, and the remaining is open to the sky where one can enjoy the rains and an aggregate bed enhances the outdoor feel of the space. The pergola in the terrace area breaks the sunlight, casting interesting shadow patterns in the seating area throughout the day. Green and Turquoise ikat fabric, sandwiched by two glass panels at the entrance was designed to bring in the natural light, provide privacy to the bar area as well as add a sense of arrival. While conceptualizing the space, our efforts were intended at keeping the design user-centric by addressing his needs, habits, and way of living.

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