With a stream running through the site, the House on a Stream was designed around the concepts of light, spatial experience, context and concrete.
Architecture Brio, a designed-based practise set up in Mumbai since 2006, recently completed the house, a weekend retreat located in Alibag, a coastal town in India.
The 300 square metre house connects strongly with its surrounding natural environment, alternately opening up and closing itself off to the different characteristics of the site. The dwelling was placed on the banks of the stream.
“Like an organism trying to make most use of its resources and surroundings, the house with its several limbs reaches out into the landscape making full use of the views within the site and dramatizes special moments: a beautiful tree or the cascading stream during the monsoon rains,” the architects said.
The main entrance to the property is through a short walk along the stream. Inside the house, the space is divided into two different areas: social areas such as the entrance verandah, the dining room, the kitchen, the living room and the guest room are separated from the private area, which includes the master bedroom, with a private wardrobe and ensuite.
The two areas are connected by a bridge that spans across the stream. The stream bed allows for an interesting landscape feature along the year, and a variety of medicinal and fruit bearing trees create a private ambiance as well as a comfortable microclimate.
The heart of the house is the large, high-ceilinged kitchen. Around this centre, three ‘wings’ span out to create a strong relationship between the inside and the outside space.
The living room area is raised to offer a panoramic view of the mountain range in the distance. The guest room wing embraces an existing tree to create a courtyard and offers a view over the length of the stream.
Outside the house, there is a narrow swimming pool along the stream that acts as a substitute for the natural waterway during the dry season. Next to it, there is a sheltered verandah that becomes an extension of the dining room when sliding doors are opened.
The house was built with robust materials such as wood and concrete. Inside, the rough plank-finished concrete is offset by spacious, minimal white features and large timber-framed openings, including a central skylight over the kitchen space that allows plenty of natural light.
“The external form of the house responds to site and its orientation and flows from high to low in accordance with the monolithic fluidity of its form. Internally, however, it responds to the creation of space, and directs the eye to frame a particular view,” the architects said.
The orientation of each room was determined by the tropical weather conditions. Both bedrooms are primarily west facing with large verandahs that take in the evening sun, while the large floor-to-ceiling windows carefully frame the green landscape around the house, offering glimpses of the mountain range in the distance.
The living room faces east and also has a large verandah, while the kitchen, dining, and swimming pool areas are all north-facing and shaded by large trees. The south façade of the house is predominantly closed and solid with the exception of a picture window that frames the view out from the food store room to the fields beyond.