Tuesday, October 9, 2012

WEEK 90 - Glass, hardware and closing it up

We have come so far... Now when I look at the previous construction updates and old pictures, I find it hard to believe that we are almost ready to be finished. At this point, we have installed most of our glass and door hardware. As we speak, the plumbing fittings are going up along with final electrical wiring and switchboards. Hopefully, after this, we will be only left with applying final paint and polish to stone and IPS in floors and walls.
Living room opening detail with find glass, louver and mosquito net detail. See photos of the stage when we began framing this opening and how far we have come. 
Detail of our main entrance door to the living room with is pivoted from the center
Majority of the glass used in the house is toughened that enhances the safety and security of the openings. We have also used solar control glass in the east and west facing openings to reduce heat intake when the sun is lower and not easily protected by horizontal shading devices.

Along with the main house interiors, we are also busy with completing the pavilion block and the outdoor landscaping work. More on that soon..
View of the LHS Bedroom and Master Bedroom with all openings completed
Pavilion block from the driveway with service area below. Loving the shadow of tree on the building !
The bathrooms are also coming together great. See photo below of glass being fixed in the bathrooms. I promise a more detailed report on only bathrooms soon too...

Glass fixed to the master bathroom using patch fittings. On the right is the corner of outdoor tub in the master bathroom

Continue reading more updates for the project.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Searching for the contemporary in Rajasthan !

Photo in center: Entrance to the courtyard at Raas Hotel in Jodhpur framing the Mehrangad Fort 
This year happens to be the longest time I have spent in India in the last 10 years. So for our year-end travels, we decided to stay within the Indian Subcontinent. When we travel, we like to linger at a few locations, trying to get to know the place, uncover its many layers, pretend to be local and do things the way locals do.... we find this to be more invigorating and revealing than trying to just check boxes of places visited...

In any case, coming back to the reason for this post, after sorting through a list that included Sri Lanka, Burma and Lakshwadeep, we have decided to travel through Rajasthan at the end of the year. The plan is to start from Jaipur (only place with a direct flight from Goa), then travel to Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur. Now, since I enjoy being in control (read 'freak'..), I am well on my way with the research and planning for the trip. Apart from the forts, palaces, markets, and museums, I am also very keen to discover the newer contemporary luxury hotel architecture that has cropped up in Rajasthan in the recent past. One that has caught my eye and my imagination is the magnificent Raas Hotel in Jodhpur. Seriously, I can't get enough of this one...Other highlights of course are the Devi Ratn hotel in Jaipur and Rasa tents also a Devi resort in Jaipur.

Facade of the new main building wrapped with a sandstone screen
Rass hotel is spread over a relatively small 1.5 acres. It is built into a complex with three heritage buildings that have been carefully restored. But the real beauty of the place is that 3 new buildings have been added to the complex and this has been done with such finesse that if one looks at the photos, it is hard to see where old ends and the new begins. The planning of the new complex is a great example of adaptive reuse. The new buildings are carefully sited and sized such that they become a part of the historic buildings and landscape. See plan and photo below.
Existing Site Plan with three original heritage buildings
New Site Plan for the Raas Hotel with new buildings added to the heritage compound
Photos of the Raas hotel courtyard, where it is difficult to identify the new buildings as they blend perfectly into the historic landscape
In order to blend the old with the new, the designers have used local red sandstone as the dominant exterior material. And that is fine... as the real naunce in design lies in how the designers have managed to use local material, blend it with the old but do all that using a very neat contemporary design language.
Detail of openable screens in sandstone
The building exteriors are wrapped in red sandstone that is used as a contemporary screen. The top of the building that sticks out of the screen in the main block is kept white to keep it from stealing attention but is still not devoid of character due to its understated modern geometry.

Main new building with sandstone screen and modern geometric form 
Inside the screens, they create dramatic patterns with light that changes during the day
Play of light inside the screens
The interiors follow the same wonderfully articulated blend of old and new. I also feel that lighting has been very cleverly designed to highlight the drama in the spaces.

Love this room and the juxtaposition of the old historic with contemporary furniture and lighting
Bathrooms are separated by thick sandstone slabs, bringing historic element to the otherwise modern space
Traditional seating area with contemporary interiors
Nothing looks better than flowing white curtains !! Notice the modern Bertoia chairs in the historic courtyard
Lovely historic courtyard dotted with contemporary furniture and lighting. Also, love the floors..
Designers used mirrors to reflect the surrounding vistas 
Use of mirrors while they distort the landscape adding drama while being whimsical and arty
Here is keeping my fingers crossed so we can get reservations at the Raas !

Designed by Lotus Praxis Initiative. Watch architect Ambrish Arora's presentation on the design for Raas.

Link to Raas Hotel Website.

Raas Hotel won the award for Best Holiday Building at the World Architecture Festival 2011.

Most photos courtesy www.designboom.com 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wow !! The Green School at Bali

Aren't these some of the best images you have ever seen ? Certainly were for me, and I am continually scouring the web for inspirational architecture and design :) The light is what just hits you... all natural making the interiors glow... The founder and visionary behind the project, John Hardy called it 'a cathedral' and I agree....

The awe-inspiring images belong to the Green School in Bali. An initiative towards providing holistic education to children in a natural sustainable environment where they grow up to learn to be an element within nature and not a contradiction. The building is built entirely with natural local materials, mostly bamboo for the structure, grass for roofing and mud for flooring. The beauty is in using such humble materials to build a space that reminds one of a cathedral... So many things about the project are inspiring and made me stop and think and re-think...You can read more about the school and its initiatives at their website.

The project was shortlisted for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2010. See related video here.

For John Hardy's TED talk, click here.

More images below. All images courtesy Green School web photo gallery and Aga Khan Award for Architecture website.


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