Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Himalayas with a lush greenery vignette of the view, In the Mountains is a private villa, located on a 2-acre site, and designed by ANT Studio. Where every room of the 4-bedroom house offers exquisite views of the mountainous skyline. The concept was to blur the lines between the built and the landscape, the house was envisaged to grow from the existing natural stepped terrain of the site.
An abode where one can begin each day as the first rays of sunlight trickle over the pinnacle of the pristine Himalayas and culminate with a warm tangerine glow basked over: is the charming imagery which forms the crux of the recently completed residence by Ant Studio. With the intent of complementing the rugged beauty of the Himalayas, this residence derives its form from the contours & slopes of the surrounding mountains, while seeking to become a part of the terrain.
The design goes beyond functional and aesthetic concerns to generate a romantic conversation between the built and nature. The interiors are kept light and warm with pastel-coloured walls and different shades of wood.
The house is meticulously designed keeping in mind the surrounding mountains and terrain of the site. After visiting the site, we noticed the biggest challenge we needed to overcome while designing a structure in the hills is understanding the terrain and natural water flow which if done without care could lead to natural disasters like landslides. This resulted in a design which allowed the natural flow of water to remain undisturbed.
While there is abundant rainfall and snow, obtaining a source of drinking water in the mountainous terrain was a concern. To circumvent this, a rain-water tank of a capacity of 1 lakh litre is planned to collect the natural water flowing in the site.
Similarly, electricity is another concern that comes with the site. Streetlights and landscaping lights work on solar energy. This reduces the building’s dependency on the electrical grid.
The entire structure was designed by following the contours of the terrain. Without disturbing the natural habitat. The entire landscaping is functional and is designed primarily to grow organic food.
Measures were taken to use local materials such as stone, driftwood, sal wood and tun wood. They were used in the construction and in the interiors of the house.
The design team created a scheme revolving around integrating the essence of nature within the frame of the residence. The resulting plan features courtyards, openings and ramped terraces; strategically placed to allow the confluence of natural vitality and architecture. These spaces would become temporal spaces changing along with the seasons. While imparting a distinct experience on account of its design, each of these courtyards seeks to provide thermal comfort and peeking views of the spectacle.
During the pandemic, the family had the opportunity to stay in this abode and while they were using the space, their grandson was born as the project was almost complete. This called for a change in the brief. An additional room was added to the layout seamlessly owing to the flexibility of the design to allow future expansions to be made.
Further, talking about the external changing scenarios, the house is designed in a manner that during any season around the year, it looks like a part of the terrain. Whether in winter, when the entire site is covered with a blanket of snow or on a sunny day when the roof plays along with the surrounding vegetation and greenery. The form has been designed such that it has stepped terraces because of this placement there is always an ample amount of natural light present inside which lets you enjoy the internal spaces without switching on any lights during the day. On the other hand, the night sky is also really beautiful and the stepped terraces allow one to enjoy the starry night sky from the comfort of their room.
Designed to give the essence of the hills, this mountain house was conceptualised as a minimalistic space with just the bare essentials. The client was very specific about the technology in the building, the absolute minimal technology to be incorporated including fans and air-conditioners. The client’s idea was to just live in a space where he and his family could sit and appreciate nature. As an afterthought, the client requested floor heaters in specific areas of the house for their grandson.
The site is oriented in such a manner that it gives a panoramic view of the landscape on one side. Hence to do justice to the vista, the common and living spaces are placed on the front side to maximise the view and all the services like toilets and kitchen are placed towards the other edge.
Talking about the structural aspect of it, the entire form is designed in exposed concrete and is seamless in fact, not even a single beam is visible from the inside. So, all that is visible is a clean surface throughout.
Name of the project: In the Mountains