Week 30: Dreaming up a life lived outdoors...
Outdoor space at Villa Aashyana in Candolim in Goa
Last week began as an exciting week. We issued the landscaping drawings and began work outside. Miraculously this year the monsoons have pretty much subsided by the beginning of August. Even though this means that the temperature is rising (and I never want to say goodbye to the lovely monsoons), this is good news for our construction crew who can now work outdoors.
This week, we built the verandahs that wrap around the bedrooms and designated courtyard spaces for the bathrooms. As I have mentioned before, in our design concept, we have designed each bedroom to be like an individual pavilion that sits within its own series of open spaces. The ground floor bedrooms are wrapped around by covered verandahs. These verandahs are designed to be an intermediate layer that connects the indoors with the outdoors. The covered verandahs and balconies are designed to be the extend the bedrooms outdoors.
For our project, the outdoors are as important as the indoors.
The core design concept is to design a house that allows one to ‘reconnect with nature’. In response, all our indoor spaces are designed to have a progression of open spaces that maximize interaction between the indoor and outdoor. First, each indoor space is designed with two out of four walls that completely open to the outdoors. These openings then connect the indoor spaces with the covered outdoor vernadahs and balconies. These intermediate spaces then connect to the central deck space and surrounding gardens. The garden spaces are significant as this house sits on a large 1000 sq.m. land parcel. In our design, we have tried to minimize hard space. Over 40% of the site has been preserved as natural landscape. This does not include the driveway, parking and parts of the deck that have been designed with permeable paving.
(On a side note, permeable paving allows rainwater to percolate back into earth. Hard paving creates non-permeable surfaces that increases the storm water run-off from land, which in turn reduces percolation back into earth thus reducing the recharge of underground aquifers and potentially overloading the storm water run-off drainage system in the area)
Sketch showing the west-side bedroom designed like a pavilion with two walls out of four being large openable wood and glass doors.
View from the inside of ground floor east-side bedroom to the outside minus the pile of debris. The two openings will have sliding wood and glass panels that leads to a wrap around covered verandah
According to Geoffery Bawa, ‘life in the tropics is about living outdoors’. Along with the living spaces in the house, the bathrooms are also designed to connect seamlessly with the outdoors. One full wall in each bathroom is designed to be built with openable glass. This transparent glass wall and opening will lead each bathroom to a dedicated courtyard space. The courtyard spaces are designed to be more than just little outdoor showers tucked away in the backyard. The bathroom courtyards are carefully designed around existing trees. They are spacious garden spaces that are designed to be private escapes possibly with relaxing arm chairs, day beds, maybe a hammock, a bird bath or two and of course the outdoor shower and bath..
This space will be the master bathroom with a picture window above the wash basin counter and a terrace with a built-in outdoor bath-tub.
The reason for this mad chase behind the indoor-outdoor space concept lies in the fact that we are building in Goa. It is common sense that building construction in Goa should be different from building in urban cities in India or coastal areas around the world. Reconnecting with nature is central to one’s choice to live in Goa and it is a luxury few can afford. This makes it essential to pay special emphasis to the relationship between the indoor-outdoor while building that dream country home in the beautiful tropical paradise of Goa.