Client: Mrs Sangya Ghosh
Located close to the quaint village of Sullepura, at the foothill of the Chamundi hills, about 12 kms for Mysore, lies the Ghosh farmhouse.
The farmhouse is set on a high plinth(roughly 3 feet) keeping in mind the high ground water levels in the area. The 60*40 built up area was intended to be built as a weekend retreat for the Ghosh family.
The verandah of the farmhouse overlooks the Varuna canal. At first sight, what strikes you about the place is a sense of simplicity and calming stillness. Intended to be a “back to nature” getaway for the family, the earthy simplicity and minimalist elegance of the construction is displayed in the use of un-plastered bricks in the entire construction.
The farmhouse is mainly divided into 2 regions. The kitchen and the 2 bedrooms form one part while the verandah, intended to be the main “living” area forms the other. Both the bedrooms open into the common verandah which offers a picturesque view of the Varuna canal flowing through the farm. The indigenous Kerala tiles lend a rustic, earthy feel to the entire structure. There is a 3 feet deep overhang on all 4 sides of the house.
The entrance into the verandah is located at the side of the verandah, thus not intruding into the façade of the house. The steps at the entrance are the breadth of the entire verandah emphasizing the entry to the verandah. At the entrance, traditional diya holders, made by local masons, welcome the visitors. The diya holders have an unfinished, almost crude yet earthy feel about them, in keeping with the local traditions of the surrounding Sullepur area. As you enter the verandah, what you first see, is a sculpture by Mr Thyagarajan at the other end of the verandah. The sculpture frames itself into a view with the background scenery completing the frame.
The imposing verandah, with dimensions of 17*60 occupies nearly half of the entire built up area. The verandah represents the village character in a well composed space. Keeping in sync with the getaway theme, the verandah is intended to be the central activity area of the farmhouse. The bedrooms are mainly for the family to retire to, at night.
The verandah doubles up as a dining area for breakfast in the mornings, a lounge for those lazy afternoons and there’s also permanent seating in place for an evening game of chess.
The client wanted a home that was simple, bright, airy and economical. The use of the tiles and the unpolished bricks add just the required getaway feel to the place. There is a sense of varying volumes in the verandah owing to the sloping roof. The sturdy columns lend a comfortable yet strong feel to the house. Interestingly, the columns are not evenly distanced from each other. This is because the areas between two columns serve as different recreational areas for the family that include a large swing, a chess seating and an informal dining area. Hooks are provided between the columns so that blinds can be hung to convert the open verandah into closed spaces for privacy. A traditional “urli” is placed at one end of the verandah adding to the feel and character of the place.
The tiled roofing has a few patterned glass tiles, which bring about a subtle play of light and shadows. These glass tiles cast different light patterns on the floor during the day and also give the verandah a bright, lit-up feel. The verandah, thus as intended is the heart of the house. The earthy feel of the construction emphasizes the calmness and serenity of the surrounding area. The calming view of the canal provides the perfect de-stress solution for the entire family.
The remainder of the house is divided into 2 bedrooms, both with attached bathrooms, which share a common kitchen. The shared kitchen can be shared by the occupants of the 2 rooms, if let out separately as independent units. Both the bedrooms open into the common verandah and have wide windows facing the coconut grove at the back of the house.
Both the bathing areas have a pebbled court for plants and have glass windows on the ceiling for natural lighting during the day. Another interesting aspect of the bedrooms is the presence of recessed windows that eliminate the need for protruding chejjas.
The two bedrooms can be used independently and yet share the common verandah keeping in line with the central idea that the verandah serves as the main activity cum living area.
A few interesting design elements are the rainwater collection system and the presence of a storage area below the rear part of the house which is supported by stilts. The sloping roofs at the front and back, have a PVC pipe running along their entire length, which collect the water flowing off the roof .This collected water then flows through vertical chains at the four corners into four small lotus rings at the four corners of the house. Most of the materials used in the construction were locally available, and hence the house did not have budgetary issues.
All in all, the Ghosh farmhouse, complete with its sloped roofing , open spaces, cozy rooms and minimalist natural elegance provides for that perfect relaxing family getaway.