A Staggering Retreat in Western India Follows the Contours of Hills and Forest

A Staggering Retreat in Western India Follows the Contours of Hills and Forest

By Taschen / Photos by Iwan Baan
Father-and-son duo Kamal and Arjun Malik weave House of Three Streams, a 12,000-square-foot weekend home for their families, into its natural environment.

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. 

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 house is carefully inserted into its hilly site, allowing for pavilions and covered spaces of different types, as well as the vanishing-edge swimming pool.

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."

—Malik Architecture

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.

A complex, angled structure shades and protects the main outdoor living space.

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."

A choice of dining areas, either partially protected or enclosed with glass and light wooden louvers. 

House of Three Streams site plan

House of Three Streams cross-section

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.

Homes for Our Time: Contemporary Houses around the World
There’s No Place Like Home Step into the world’s most beautiful private abodes  Across small cottages and lavish villas, beach houses and forest refuges, discover the world’s finest crop of new homes.

Related Reading:

A Modern Home in India Evokes Emotion With a Giant 4-Ton Rock

Project Credits:

Architect: Malik Architecture

Photography: Iwan Baan


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