A Staggering Retreat in Western India Follows the Contours of Hills and Forest
Lonavala is a town in the district of Pune in Western India, located 93 km from Mumbai. The area has a number of fortifications, such as the nearby Tung (c.1600) and Lohagad forts.
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The architects state: "The topography of the land, the material memory of the surrounding forts, the light of the forest, and the deep water discharging ravines have created a dominant palimpsest of contextual parameters onto which the house has been woven." A large wall between two ravines evokes the contours and materials of local fortifications.
The spirit of the architects in this house for the Malik family is to inhabit the hilly site rather than try to impose their forms on the natural movement of the land.
"Formal planning strategies are incapable of absorbing the radical flow of the land and water, and everything from the spatial quality to the material language echoes the spirit of the site."
While the private areas with bedrooms are "embedded in the forest," the public spaces, on the contrary, "assume the mannerism of suspended flight of the north and east." A weathering zinc for the roofs and locally quarried basalt are among the main visible materials used. Tree-like structures were designed to support the roof.
According to the designers: "The engagement of the ‘made’ with the ‘found,’ the subservience of the former to the latter is the only constant within this matrix of flux as the elements interweave to create the space of encounter with the forest and the hill."
About the Architects
Kamal Malik was born in 1949 in Shimala, India. He graduated from the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA, Dehli, 1972) and set up his own design studio, Malik Architecture, in 1975. His son, Arjun Malik, was born in 1980 in Mumbai. He graduated from the Rachana Sansad Academy of Architecture (Mumbai, 2002) and received his M.Sc. in Advanced Architectural Design from Colombia University (New York, 2005).
Their work includes the Lupin Research Park (Pune, 2001); Bhagwan Mahaveer Cancer Hospital (Jaipur, 2001); the House of Three Streams (Lonavala, Maharashta, 2017; published here); Mathrubhumi Headquarters (Cohin, 2017—): Ahmedabad International School (Ahmedabad, 2018—); and the Film Conservation and Research Institute (Lonavala, 2018—), all in India.
This article has been excerpted from Homes for Our Time by Philip Jodido published by TASCHEN.
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Architect: Malik Architecture
Photography: Iwan Baan