The unpretentious landscape of this farm house designed by architectural & landscape consultant Kishore. D. Pradhan is in harmony with its natural surroundings. The designer describes the process and the unique elements that helped fulfill the client’s expectations from the place.
To escape the urban stress and pollution, periodic visits to countryside is a favourite ritual among the members of higher echelon of city population. Many weekend houses now dot pristine locations within an easy reach from the congested metropolis.
Unlike the general trend of vacation homes located on the seashore or among the hills, this six acre farm house in Raigad district of coastal Konkan region in Maharashtra is situated on a riverbank. This is a perennial river owing to regular release of water in its basin by an up-stream power generation plant. The flowing water and surrounding forest covered hills make the location idyllic, serene and picturesque.
Respecting the surrounding landscape character of natural beauty, juxtaposed with numerous ‘wadis’ (traditional orchards usually associated with houses), it was decided to limit the planned landscaped area and dovetail it with groves of mango and coconut trees to achieve a seamless transition to the orchard around.
The plot slopes naturally towards the river bed, dropping down by nearly eight meters from the access road to the river edge. The house was built near the access road, which also is the highest location on site. This allows a panoramic view of the landscaped zone, lush ‘Wadi’ vegetation dominated by Mango and Coconut groves as well as the natural greenery on the banks of the river and surrounding hills. Though the view from the bungalow is spectacular throughout the year, it is especially beautiful during monsoon.
Traditional ‘Charbagh’ pattern was adopted for the private garden to harmonize with the grid-iron planting associated of orchard cultivation. Presence of water in the form of a cascade, fountains and a narrow rill at the central plateau, underscore the presence of the natural water nearby.
A dry kund located at the central terrace, acts as a visual recall of the village water- body. It also doubles as an amphitheater for outdoor entertainment. Well grown coconut trees were specially brought from Andhra Pradesh and placed along the central path to achieve an instant, mature feel in the out-door spaces.
In order to ensure privacy and quietitude around the bungalow, the parking lot for visitors’ vehicles is situated away from the main entrance to the house. A small parking space for family cars is located near the porch. A wide path along most of the periphery takes care of patrolling, walking exercise as well as golf-cart ride for senior citizens and physically challenged guests. This undulating peripheral path winds through different planting zones of decorative flora, a variety of fruit trees and riverside natural vegetation offering an enriching experience.
Konkan is famous for its snakes. While selecting the plant material care was taken to avoid messy, bushy growth on ground to avoid harbouring shelter for reptiles. All the accessible areas are either paved, covered with manicured grass or have open weed less ground at the base of the plants to ensure safe environment.