Terni Farm / Shreyas Patil Architects
3510 sq. Ft.
Photographs: Atik Bheda
Text description provided by the architects. A family of doctors wanted a weekend getaway to design on their ancestral farmland located in the village of Terni. The idea was to take advantage of outdoor spaces around a swimming pool nestled between sugar cane fields and mango orchards. The profile was to design a place that gives users the feeling of living between farmland, less with themselves and more with the flora and fauna of the site.
The road to the town’s farmland takes you through a series of villages in Karnataka and Maharashtra, casting impressions of the local villages which have a strong character of rural material palette and simplicity in architectural style bringing a feeling of rootedness and humility in the lifestyle, a contrast to urban life. Customers were eager to have a slice of this rustic palette for their weekend. And, as architects, we had our contemporary take on it.
Like all village houses in this region, this piece of built form is essentially divided into three main spaces. One, dedicated to daytime activities such as lounging, eating, cooking and having fun. A second space flanking the length of the pool and the deck houses the bath and the toilets. Finally, an elevated space is positioned just in front of these spaces for a good night’s sleep. Unlike a typical village house housed under a single gable roof, each of these spaces is sheltered by its own independent gable roof. Thus, the image obtained of the roof silhouette recalls that of neighboring villages.
These three units are spaced apart from each other so that the cantilever gables of each roof slope toward the buffer zones that form hardwood and hard courtyards. The baseboards and roofs of these three constructed spaces cascade down to the east, allowing all spaces to see and enjoy the pool, also adding benefits of blocking out glare from the south and west and the cross rains while directing users towards a softer light on the east and north.
The house disperses in a compound boundary right in the middle of the fields only to protect its users from unknown wildlife. As you approach from the east, a large lawn stretches around the pool. The swimming pool connects the house to the west end. One can walk barefoot to the house with the swimming pool on the stone terraces or walk along the terracotta jali walls on the landscape. The architectural spaces revolve around the central living pavilion. The main living pavilion serves as a terrace for the bedroom and the pool on either side, creating a variety of functional spaces.
The bedroom is independently placed on a higher plinth with aluminum sliding windows that open the bedroom to the landscape. A slender slit window is open to the west which frames the mountains in the distance across farmland also framing a spectacular view of the sunset. As one gets comfortable on the bed the only framed views are open to the sky gardens, the light is reflecting the pool and the sunlit clay tile roofs of the other two. volumes in lower tiers. This bedroom also dialogues with the living pavilion through a thick garden courtyard visually widening the volume.
The play of materials of this project establishes a balance between vernacular tones and contemporary hues bringing both warmth and elegance. The warmth of the earth’s browns and blacks is achieved by using clay tiles for the roof, wire-cut hollow mud bricks for the jali walls, and treated kadappa stone floors. The balance of modernity was marked by steel trusses, freestanding white walls and luxury ceramic pool tiles.
The impact of this location was to give the user a different rhythm, where they could soak up the calm and openness of farm life. The immediate farms of this farm change in character with the seasons, shifting from barren land ready to be plowed to tall sugar cane fully harvested, which adds to the change in the quality of the built form and image of the place.
A double swing hangs casually from one of the beams with the pool, leaving a swing above the waters, creating an unusual experience. Just across that corner, a breakfast table hangs from the roof truss, allowing it to float. The central pavilion houses the living room and dining room as a single space with openings on each wall that serves as a pantry at one end and a seating area at the other. The entire built form is organized as a system of interlocking pavilions, connected to each other by open corridors, independent walls and gardens. This project is choreographed to create open, fluid movement within the wall and floor elements beneath a series of hovering steel lattice gable roofs.
The open plan adds to the dynamic nature of the space allowing the place to be used according to season, weather and occasion. A minimum of teak carpentry units are sprinkled over the design just enough to store the essentials for a weekend stay. The play of shadow and light is bought by the positioning of independent walls and roofs that form the courtyards. As one walks through these spaces, the walls and openings are designed to create a juxtaposed view of the farmland with the architecture itself, reminiscent of the power of nature and architecture.