As one crosses the threshold of the site, the sound of trickling water in the distance makes them curious. Following this feeble sound, they reach the entrance of the Aqua Grid House to explore what lies ahead. Located in an upscale area of Pune city, architect Sanjay Mohe from Mindscape Architects has designed the house around a water body that meanders through every living space of the house unfolding them to the natural surroundings.
Inspired by temples
Architect Sanjay Mohe imagined a house built on the principles of architecture that was inspired by the traditional Indian temples. This led him to focus on water as a focal element that would connect the whole house and open it up to the landscape around. Glimpses from Indian temples reflect on surfaces throughout the house in form of carvings, motifs, and sculptures. A clear vision of the client set a course of the line to achieve a wholesome design.
A heritage site
The site located in an upscale neighborhood of Pune had parts of an old house in place. The Architect brought it down to create a functional house that could fulfill the clients' vision. Existing mature trees and landscapes covered most of the 1-acre site. With limited FSI and regulations in place, the architect overcame them and designed a very functional house. He decided to retain every tree on-site and build the house around these trees making them a part of the living spaces and thus enlivening them up.
All the living spaces are designed to have layers of visual vistas one after the another that open up as one walks along with these spaces. As soon as you enter the house, a bridge provides for a view that travels upon the water feature inspired from the river ghats into the living room and travels outside to the landscape. Another vista might take you from the bridge into the music room and then onto the lush greenery outside. This concept of having visual connection throughout the house was picked up from how the temple pavilions are porous for a similar reason. The Architect has opened up all these spaces from multiple directions to not just bring nature inside but also take one from the interior to the dense landscape outside by creating multiple focal points that are dispersed throughout the site.
Materials from the past
The black basalt stone indigenous to temples in the western region of India has been picked up to serve as the flooring for the whole house. The Architect played around with the texture of this stone to create a tactile experience by placing rough finished stones on the edges near the water body and smoothly finished stone in the living spaces. The same concept further extends into the shiva gold stone used on vertical surfaces. Experimenting with its texture and form helps the architect create multiple memories for the clients. Water jet cut motifs inspired from the Indian culture along with small elements are seen dispersed throughout the house. Wood plays the role of bringing warmth to the private spaces like the bedrooms and onto the verandah soffits.
The architect truly believes in teamwork. This gets reflected in how he and his whole team specialized from different backgrounds came together to create an unforgettable memory of this house. They carried the thought of the house with them everywhere they went so they could pick elements from their journey they thought would further enhance the design and its ambiance. Their humility and teamwork are seen in the way how one element does not affect the other while still all being functional cohesively.
The client coming from a humble background were particular about their requirements. Their clear vision of all the functionalities gave the architect a free hand to explore and come up with a rendition of the house that was not just modern to look at but also very utilitarian. He was able to create an experiential contemporary design inspired by deep Indian history. Architect Mohe describes "This was a chance to create a house which is extremely extrovert and bring nature right in the heart of the house", as his journey of designing the house.
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