13 Villas in Whitefield …

white ant studio was asked by Chaithanya – a Bangalore / Whitefield-based real estate group experienced in creating unique villas and extraordinary gated communities for more than 25 years now – to design the facade for a prestigious villa project. Please click here to visit their company website.

As we have been asked several times by now to design “villas” and because Chaithanya strives for the creation of unique masterpieces with every home they build, we have taken the liberty to extend the initial brief from merely providing an elevation concept to a complete overhaul of the given floor plans and also use this project to investigate the widely used term villa. Our presentation (which is available as a complete download here Presentation WP) subsequently became a quick excursion into the past – starting from the original Roman villa to the beautiful villas of the Italian Renaissance, the Palladian country houses in England of the 17th Century to the buildings of Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

A villa was originally an ancient Roman upper-class country house. Since its origins in the Roman villa, the idea and function of a villa have evolved considerably. After the fall of the Roman Republic, villas became small farming compounds, which were increasingly fortified in late Antiquity, sometimes transferred to the Church for reuse as a monastery. Then they gradually re-evolved through the Middle Ages, into elegant upper-class country homes. In modern parlance “villa” can refer to a various types and sizes of residences, ranging from the suburban “semi-detached” double villa to residences in the wildland-urban interface.
In 14th and 15th century Italy, a villa once more connoted a country house often strongly fortified – from the heartland of Tuscany the idea of the villa was spread again through Renaissance Italy and Europe.

In the early 18th century the English took up the term, and applied it to English country houses. Thanks to the revival of interest in Palladio and Inigo Jones, soon Neo-Palladian villas dotted the valley of the River Thames and English countryside.

In the nineteenth century, the term villa was extended to describe any large suburban house that was free-standing in a landscaped plot of ground. By the time “semi-detached villas” were being erected at the turn of the twentieth century, the term collapsed under its extension and overuse. The second half of the nineteenth century saw the creation of large “Villenkolonien” in the German-speaking countries, wealthy residential areas that were completely made up of large mansion houses and often built to an artfully created

With the changes of social values in post-colonial Britain after World War I the suburban “villa” became a “bungalow”and by extension the term is used for suburban bungalows throughout the former empire.

In modern architecture the ‘villa’ refers to a broad range of residences from single houses, semi detached to double-houses. It also has found its way from the countryside into the rural urban fringe and even heart of the city and it commonly describes “luxury bungalows” in various locations. (excerpts taken from Wikipedia)

This – admittedly brief – excursion into the history of the villa as an architectural type made us conclude that one of the main characteristics of the “villa” –  be it in the rural, suburban or urban context – throughout the times is the interaction of inside (built) and outside (nature) spaces.
All the quoted buildings work so well because they are intrinsically connected with their immediate surroundings. Thinking further, abstracting more, we feel that the pure rational shapes of a clean geometry are best able to create a meaningful relationship with the “undefined”, the “natural”, which we as urban citizens so urgently need to reclaim.
Therefore our proposal is strongly inspired by the immaculate precision and clean poetry of the mostly white architecture of American architect Richard Meier.

Following an excerpt from his Pritzker Prize acceptance speech (the whole speech can be found on the Pritzker Prize website, certainly worth visiting :-))

Of course – in our age of globalization, material wealth (as in availability of resources, materials…) and cultural wealth – there are thousands of images we carry in ourselves, which are processed in our sub-/consciousness and which find their access into everything we think and speak and do. The pages of this presentation wanted to try to present a few images as examples for what we had in mind when working on this project … Images of some of Meier’s works, material references to stone and wood and plaster and also reference images to key elements of what constitutes a house, a villa, a place where we all want to live and play in …

All this work was necessary for us to come up with a conceptual design which not only makes this particular villa not only excel in craftsmanship, well designed details and a sophisticated choice of materials, but also creates living spaces which reflect the contemporary clients’ lifestyle and which cater to their needs – spaces to enjoy
family time and reconnect one-selves.

To achieve this the relationship of the interior spaces and the surrounding landscape becomes important … Coming from the rational world of Europe and now living and loving the abundance of the tropics, we deeply feel for an architecture which expresses the best of the two worlds. Clarity of form and space expressed in detail and in the whole, richness of materials and crafting techniques and the manifold exchange between “the built” and “the natural” – natural ventilation, the ever-changing and beautiful light, the richness of nature, the flora and fauna, the smells of the plants in the garden after a monsoon rain … to support this we showed several slides of projects of Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan and the Singapore based practice Bedmar & Shi.


Finally, our project. It has to be said that it is rather difficult to achieve the openness and the grandeur we associate with a villa when one has to club 13 buildings onto a relatively small area but looking at the floor plans, the setbacks and the relationship between the individual buildings (designed for example in such a way that windows and openings and terraces are always kept as much private as possible) we believe we have managed to achieve something quite beautiful in the framework of a commercial real estate project.

Design Team: Fabian Ostner, Michael Gransitzky
3D Render: Bobby Vijay


5 thoughts on “13 Villas in Whitefield …

  1. Hi Fabian,
    This is a very well-written and detailed post and it does complete justice to the project. It was great going through every aspect of the conceptualization of the design. This definitely seems to be one of the best residential projects coming up in Bangalore and the thought of seeing something of this conceptual depth and architectural intensity coming up in my city excites me. I’m hoping to see further updates of the project on this blog, Congratulations!
    Cheers, Vijay

    1. Hi Vijay, thanks for your positive feedback. In times of “villaments” (a mix of a villa and an apartment) and “smondos” (smart condominiums) and other real estate lingo it seemed just natural to investigate the origin of what is commonly understood as a villa … And it was quite some fun to rediscover Meier’s work and read his words.
      Aside of this, heaven knows if this project will take off and in what final shape, but if it does with us you will surely come to know 🙂
      Greetings. Fabian

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