Located on Saint Leo Road in a historic neighborhood near the west coast of the city, the building rests on an open-air base—a typical motif for buildings in this humid zone—sheathed in aluminum panels with circular cutouts that allow breezes through. Inside the space, used as a public area with a gym and swimming pools for the apartment’s tenants, pull-down scrim panels protect the inhabitants from excessive sun, as well as from rain during monsoon season.
"The lower-level space serves as a kind of sculptural and playful icon for the building," says Schultz, who conceived this approach with Khanna, who grew up in the city (formerly Bombay), and was already well versed in its architectural evolution. "Unlike the apartments on the floors above, the bottom could be an open-air space that references a classic device in Mughal architecture. We looked at many, many options before coming up with this solution." Building upon this, the pair set the apartments slightly back from the base, creating an additional towering architectural gesture and ensuring more visual protection from the street below.
The client requested a private apartment on the top floor; Khanna and Schultz, working with Mumbai-based associate architect Katayun Irani on-site, created a two-level penthouse apartment culminating in a rooftop terrace with a lap pool overlooking the city and the Arabian Sea in the distance. They laid down a teak floor and juxtaposed it with stark-white walls; they used concrete flooring for the apartments below.
"This building is definitely very unique," says Khanna. "The client and all the people on the project were really interested in good design, and doing things well, which is amazing to find."
To see more images of the project, please visit the slideshow.
Erika Heet has been working in publishing for more than 20 years, including years spent as a senior editor at Architectural Digest and Robb Report. She has written for Architectural Digest, Robb Report, Interiors, Bon Appétit, Sierra Magazine, and The Berkeley Fiction Review. She recently wrote the foreword to New Tropical Classics: Hawaiian Homes by Shay Zak. She lives in a Topanga cabin with her artist husband and two children.