Saturday, August 7, 2010

Matharoo Associates | House with balls | Ahmedabad, India

Structured around four shimmering water tanks strewn with pink lilies, this weekend house for a client in Ahmedabad who breeds and sells tropical fish might seem like a sybaritic, rich man’s conceit. Yet it’s actually executed on the most parsimonious of budgets - architect Gurjit Singh Matharoo quotes a figure of US $100 (£66) per m² - and the most modest of materials, in situ concrete.

The project exploits its economy and ease of construction, but Matharoo also clearly relishes concrete’s structural and expressive qualities. Here the pours have a powerful artisanal quality that echoes the work of Corb and Kahn in the subcontinent, the universal material becoming intimate and particular, raw surfaces washed with light.

To eliminate the need for extensive foundations, the house is partially embedded in the site. Concrete wall planes project out from the entrance, around which the main bedroom, bathrooms and a caretaker’s suite are neatly compacted. The main living space of the house is a long, low volume, flanked by four 9,000 litre water tanks. Animated by flashing specks of gold and black fish, the tanks form a sensuous, cooling pool at the heart of the dwelling.

The bedroom overlooks the length of the pool, lulling visitors into slumber. From here, the space flares and extends into the long living room enclosed by the glass tanks on one side and a garden on the other. Continuous horizontal slots are carved into both walls, but there is no glazing.

More at Archreview

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