This Lakehouse Pays Tribute to its Location’s Rugged Landscape

Architecture firm CollectiveProject explores the tension between seemingly opposing elements in a weekend home that celebrates Hyderabad’s natural beauty


At first glance, the Lakehouse in Hyderabad, India, evokes a dramatic, impenetrable fortress emerging from a rocky hilltop. Clad in slabs of ribbed grey granite, the four-metre-high facade appears heavy and imposing, but all that changes once the massive teak door swings open. A narrow glass passage between two densely planted courtyards leads you into the heart of the 350-square-metre home. ‘In a passing moment, the lush manicured landscape disappears and the Durgam Cheruvu lake and the dry, rocky landscape of Hyderabad reveal themselves,’ says Eliza Higgins, partner at Bangalore-based CollectiveProject. At the end of the passage, the ceiling lifts and you enter the light-flooded living room, where two large viewing portals open out to a terrace complete with a plunge pool and dramatic views of the lake.

Highly theatrical and carefully choreographed, the home is a study in contrasts. The cool stone exterior transitions to a warm teak wood interior, verdant tropical plants at the entrance shift to dry desert plants like agave, cactus and succulents on the terrace, and the opaque stone facade gives way to an airy open-plan room from which guests can spill out onto the multiple decks perched above the rugged terrain.

Seen from the lake, the home appears to be three box-like structures balanced precariously on a steep site. The ground floor's two sections: the first housing the living room and the second one the bar, are each strategically positioned to frame different views of the lake, nature reserve and the 60-hectare HITEC City tech park, which can be seen in the distance. The guest bedroom sits near the ground-floor entrance, while perched one level above, turned slightly at a different angle, is the final structure — the master wing with a private terrace.  

‘The tension between heavy and light is a theme that we were interested in exploring from the start,’ says Higgins of the home’s design and positioning within the landscape. ‘There’s an interesting contradiction between what’s perceived as a heavy stone clad volume and the way it hovers above the ground.’

Unlike the neighbouring property, which was built after blasting and clearing the surrounding debris, the Lakehouse was built among the site’s large boulders. In a rapidly developing city, where gorgeous granite rock formations are being razed to the ground, the Lakehouse is not just a lone fortress-like home but a homage to the beauty of Hyderabad’s fast-disappearing natural terrain.

Text / Payal Uttam
Images / Ben Hosking