A villa in Bijapur

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A reputed real estate and infrastructure manager from Bijapur  invited white ant studio to prepare a concept design for a Vastu-compliant residential villa in Bijapur with contemporary award-prone design features.
The villa should not only excel in craftsmanship, well designed details and a sophisticated choice of materials, but also create living spaces which reflect the contemporary clients’ lifestyle and which cater to their needs – spaces to enjoy family time and reconnect oneself. The designers also believe that the response to the context – the old city of Bijapur with its important monuments from a glorious past – has to play an important role in the design process.

The deliverables expected from us were:

– a conceptual design for a residential villa

– a conceptual landscape design embedding the villa

– selected reference images to key elements of our design

– the conceptual floor plans, elevations and sections

– a range of conceptual render images which communicate the design intent and the envisioned look of the building

– a comprehensive presentation combining all of the above in soft copy

Shown here on Word Press are some of the presentation slides explaining the concept, the historical context and reference images which accompanied the design process.

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Typology Villa – Fort

In the process of our design work we discovered several building elements that can be found in the villa typology as well as the fort typology.

The Forts in modern usage often refer to spaces set aside by government, nowadays mainly referring to camps for the military but without any
fortification. In urban combat they are built by upgrading existing structures such as houses or public buildings.

Traditionally, key elements of the Fort are a central building with the parapet and other protective features, large open spaces and a defensive wall all around, usually accompanied by a ditch.

Similarly the villa was originally a courtyard house focusing the activities to the inside. Later it developed into a large free-standing structure with vast gardens and a compound wall. In 14th and 15th century Italy, a villa once more connoted a country house that often was strongly fortified.

Both typologies embrace the separation of inside and outside, private and public, open and closed.
More than that they are reflections of the inhabitants social status.

A defensive wall

In ancient to modern times, they were used to enclose settlements, border a city and to enclose regions or mark territorial boundaries.
Beyond their defensive utility, many walls also had important symbolic functions — representing the status and independence of the communities they embraced and protected.
Existing ancient walls are almost always masonry structures, although brick and timber-built variants are also known.

A ditch

is usually defined as a small to moderate depression created to channel water.
Sustainable channel design can result in ditches that are largely self-maintaining due to natural geomorphological equilibrium.
Controlled subsurface drainage from sensitive areas to vegetated drainage ditches makes possible a better balance between water drainage and water retention needs.

A parapet

is a wall-like barrier at the edge of a roof, terrace, balcony, or other structure.
Parapets may be plain embattled, perforated or panelled and mostly made of stone, wood or earth.

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INSPIRATIONS … If we think about the fort and the essence of a villa – be it in the rural, suburban or urban context – we ultimately reach the conclusion that the main characteristic of this typology throughout the times is the interaction of inside (built) and outside (nature) spaces.

All buildings shown here in our presentation 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.

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 following pages will try to present a few images as examples for what we had in mind when working on this project … Material references to stone and wood and plaster and also reference images to key elements of what constitutes a place where we all want to live and play in …

Parallel to the above mentioned base ideas we also found the actual surrounding of the plot rather unimaginative; our design aims at making maximum use of the large size of the plot and creating an entirely autonomous world of its own. Building blocks interweaving with each other, courtyards and large demarcated areas of landscape interchanging with indoor spaces, smooth transitions, elements of surprise, the ambience of an urban park with a modern, elegant and very functional house set deep inside. The outside world – here taken as a potentially intrusive element – is naturally blocked of, at least filtered.

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Inspired by what we have learned of the history of Bijapur, the overlap between elements of a typical fort and a typical villa we followed our instincts and designed the house as a place which in a way directly relates to the historical context yet rejects the image of the contemporary suburb of Bijapur (similar to the in every way uncontrolled sprawl visible in thousands of Indian cities today).

The house is designed as largely a single storey structure with large landscaped areas around to filter the potentially disturbing input – sights and sounds mostly – from the area around the plot.
Going with the images of historical Bijapur and the traditional building materials of this region we decided to work with large – load bearing – walls made of and-cut stone. These walls will form not only the structural backbone of the design but have a strong sculptural sense as well (as we tried to visualize with the sample images shown before).

The program of the house is organized in a clear yet complex and stimulating manner; a central courtyard and smaller ones throughout the layout provide light and air to circulate freely through the building and the individual bedrooms and living areas are grouped around them, each place with a distinctive individual character but clearly part of a larger whole.

A circular staircase leads to the roof floor which we foresee as a large landscape area – almost a private park. Trees and larger plants along with granite benches around each opening invite to play, relax and enjoy the green scenery hardly disturbed by the outside.
At present we’ve kept only a small area around the staircase covered with access to the larger areas of the roof. If the need should arise we can always extend the covered area – either in form of a traditional and temporary shamiana or as a proper permanent structure. This roof then can be even more useful for larger gatherings.

As on the roof, landscape is of a paramount importance throughout the design. We want to create spaces which are closely connected with nature and the possibility to fluidly step from indoors to the outside. Waterbodies, theme gardens, even an appropriately sized herbal and vegetable garden can find their space in the compound.

The service areas required for a house of this size are conveniently organized next to the kitchens in the South East of the main building along with large storage and laundry spaces (all grouped around an open-to-sky courtyard) while the staff occupies a shared structure on the Eastern compound wall.

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4 thoughts on “A villa in Bijapur

  1. I loves these plans and visuals, It looks like it would be an extremely intesnse and exciting place to be

    1. Dear Hannah, Thank you for your appreciation 🙂
      We surely hope that the project will continue; the latest state is that the Vastu consultant of the client pointed out a few issues we have overlooked and that the client needs to sort a few administrative issues. Once this is all cleared we would be happy to continue the so far quite joyful process and will then post any progress.

      1. That sounds great, at least it is well under way, I look forward to keeping up with the progress x

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