The concept for this home grew out of longing: for the forest, and the protective shade of a tree canopy in the context of a city. The site, a 2 acre plot that was formerly agricultural land, was devoid of vegetation. Not a single tree grew within the site boundaries although lush planting edged the periphery. And so grew the idea of architecture as another nature, and the creation of a home nestled under a sun dappled metal tree canopy with tree columns rising up to support it. The design approach followed was to build a timeless home that comes alive at night, since its primary use was intended as an entertainment space. It is an original and powerful example of a home that establishes a keen dialogue with the sun, sky, earth and larger Aravali landscape.

The client was desirous of a standout home that would provide a dramatic entertainment setting in the evening. Our response was to create a quiet retreat that transforms into a memorable experience after sunset. In both, day and night settings, this home embodies counter points of sensory experience that are a source of delight. There is an almost meditative stillness to the forms, lines and experiential quality. The facade materials, in addition to oxidised steel, that will age slowly and change colour, include riverbed Teakstone, oiled Thermo-oak and Ironic. This Aravali pallete of rust, grey, gold and brown, roots the home firmly in its natural context. The values of beauty, repose, sensory richness and dynamic value are primordial to the expression of this home.

The site has two access roads, linked by a connecting vehicular path that has been planted with grass pavers and cobblestones to dissolve into the landscape and minimise non-porous surfaces. A key element in the garden is the pool pavilion and pool deck that flow into the living areas on the lower level. A series of decks and water features seamlessly connect the home and garden and create 'outdoor rooms' of varying scales and volumes. The drop off point is protected by a floating metal canopy and framed by pergolas of fins that establish a quiet rhythm. There is a primary internal spine that connects all the internal spaces on both levels. The poolside bar, and formal living and dining areas, oriented on either side of a water court are placed linearly to the east of the circulation spine. A dramatic cantilevered metal tread staircase leads upwards to the private living spaces at the upper level. The circulation culminates in a lobby, guest toilet and court. At the upper level the circulation spine becomes a breezeway, with terraces at both ends. Three bedroom suites, a family lounge and a beautiful outdoor deck in the north-east nestled under the roof canopy comprise the upper level. Small balconies overlook the water court and become spaces of quiet contemplation.

The real strength of this home is its sense of quiet and the innovative and exploratory quality of its architecture. The dynamics between the vertical lines of teakstone walls, the branching structure of the tree columns and sculptural, carefully positioned openings and courtyards create constantly shifting geometries that delight and draw the eye forward. The inspiration from Nature and the sheltering benevolence of a tree extends into the colour palette and the forms selected. Sustainability is enabled through a careful selection of local materials that will require no recurring maintenance, the roof canopy is both a central visual element and a means of climatic temperature control, maximising porous surfaces in the landscape by shading openings and the roof slab, rainwater harvesting and a floor plan that maximises daylighting and cross-ventilation. Local stone working skills have been harnessed in finely detailed teakstone walls. A sense of peace and stillness pervades all the spaces and yet there is a magical unfolding of views, light and pattern as you move through the home, almost like a walk in the forest.



Plot Area: 3946.5 sqm
Built-Up Area : 885 sqm

Architects : Ms. Swanzal Kak Kapoor
Mr. Ashish Saxena

Structural Engineer : BMSF Design Consultants Pvt. Ltd.

Tree House by swanzal kak kapoor in India won the WA Award Cycle 27. Please find below the WA Award poster for this project.

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