Alibag, across the harbour from the Indian city of Mumbai, is a retreat of choice for the wealthy amongst that city’s inhabitants. Here, a former pastoral setting is transforming into a suburban landscape of large villas within gated surrounds that rub shoulders with farmlands, orchards and the quintessential local village hut.
Within this setting, the Mumbai-based practice spasm designed and built a house that takes its cues from the found aspects of the site and the setting. A functional well, large trees spreading across the site, and a grove along the access road – based on these, the architects began to evolve a parti that formed an L aligned along the cardinal directions. The access to the house became the fulcrum of this plan configuration, leading to a simple single-storey arrangement of bedroom suites along one wing, and on the other, a tall living room leading to a two-storey wing aligned north-south that accommodates the master bedroom above a lower floor of entertainment spaces and other bedrooms. A parallel service wing completes the ensemble. With the well as its focus, the aforementioned L evolves to offer an opposition of a massive, fortressed outer periphery that encases an open, porous inner edge towards the courtyard-like space embraced by the L.