A Retreat to the Woods

August, 2017

Wasim Noori, Azeer Attari,
Shahveer Irani and Areen Attari,
Architects and Partners, Put Your
Hands Together – BioArchitects

The Nirvana farm house in the small town of Khadavli gently blends into the green landscape to impersonate a quiet retreat. Based on the outskirts of Thane district in Maharashtra, Put Your Hands Together BioArchitects, makes an exquisitely rustic farmhouse reflective of its immediate surroundings in its structure, form and materiality. Adapting and accepting ideas to flow from the traditional topographical setting, the architectural style finds its base in critical regionalism. Form and function are best friends, says Areen Attari, Architect and Partner, while describing the simple and traditional design motifs used throughout the project. Void of heavy ornamentation of crafts typical to the region, the style is reinforced in its measured and meaningful decor elements. Overlooking around two acre of farmland, the once barren land now encompasses a 3,000 sq ft home along with a functionally landscaped garden.

Restored ship lamps
have been used.
The open verandah area
has cross-ventilation and
is supremely relaxing.

THE BUILDING BLOCKS

Locally available black basalt stone was used to create the load bearing strip foundation. Instead of rammed earth, compressed stabilized earth blocks were chosen keeping in mind the locally available labour. These bricks were used to make the 12 thick walls that have an exceptionally high thermal mass to keep the rooms cool in summers and warm in the winters. Being an agricultural plot, the architects decided against a one storey structure. Sticking to the brief of using local and natural tones each space has one wall plastered in cement mixed with natural oxide, to add colour to the otherwise earthy, natural tone, says Shahveer Irani, one of the architects involved in the project, discussing the prevalent regional style.

Wooden furniture with intricate
details is sourced locally.
Extremely spacious, the rooms
are confortable.

COMPLETING THE STRUCTURE

Red Mangalore roof tiles were chosen based on the functionality it provides in this dense rainfall area. The metal fabricated roof also has a false ceiling made of pine wood planks that creates a buffer layer to prevent heat gain from above. The polished lime stone flooring is one of the few glossy elements in the house. Accentuating natural light, the open floor plan provides for cross ventilation with all rooms opening up to the courtyard. Open verandahs further offer an unobstructed view of the farm.

Minimal luxury items are used
in the bathrooms.
Low windows offer unobstructed
views of the farm.

THE DISTINCTIVE FURNITURE

All the furniture pieces used are handpicked from recycled markets like chor bazaar, some of which have been restored by the architects. Since all the furniture was recycled or restored we had to work with the dimensions of what was available, the causality of which affected the architecture. So we had to program spaces so that they could fit in furniture of varying sizes, adds Irani. All the elements come together to create a well-blended mix, adding panache to the interiors. The home, engulfed in the natural climate and geography provides a liberating regional experience.

Cultural motifs are used in
the décor elements.
Artistic wall tones are derived
by mixing natural materials.
An outdoor hottub was later
added to the plan.