Idyllic Hideaway

In Ahmedabad, a holiday home provides a quiet escape in a laidback setting

Ahmedabad may be one of India’s most populous cities but in its upscale western precincts, quiet hideaway spots can be found. A Gujarati family commissioned local firm Modo Designs to create a resort-like weekend home here, where they could host social gatherings or simply retreat to in between busy work weeks. ‘The idea was to allow natural elements into the blocks and allow the residents to engage with these elements, thereby connecting them to nature,’ explained designer Arpan Shah.

At 335 square metres, The Open House adopts a free-flowing layout throughout, punctuated by connectivity to the outdoors across its two blocks. In this residential area, bungalows sit on sprawling plots of land, meaning privacy isn’t a concern aside from shielding the house from the main gate. Modo responded by situating the living, dining and social spaces in front, while more personal spaces and bedrooms occupy the rear block.

Once ‘deep, flat and barren’, the site is now a landscaped oasis and mounds on the front lawn partially conceal the veranda, where the family likes to entertain. The striking space is headlined by a four-metre cantilevered slab, cleverly reinforced by steel trusses hidden in the wood ceiling.

Features such as the veranda, a pool and louvred windows help to mitigate the otherwise hot and arid climate, while the pavilion-like space with its oversized entrances is grounded through the use of an earthen and dark material. Natural materials were used throughout to lend the space an informal ambience, translating to granite floors and Burmese teak for the interior detailing and furniture. The material palette brought a warmth and textural edge to the cool grey of the reinforced concrete structure.

Moving from the front to the rear block requires stepping outside the built structures. ‘This reinterprets the Indian traditional spaces, which weave around open spaces,’ explains Shah. ‘One of the features we wanted was openness. Hence, a narrow open-to-the-sky space was inserted between the front and rear blocks, which allows the residents a sense of the natural elements: the sun rays, the earth element in the form of the surrounding grounds, the rains and fragments of sky.’

Text / Rossara Jamil         Images / Radhika Pandit