What started as a possible restoration of a tumbledown stone dwelling on a three-quarter acre plot in 2013, is today a 12,000 square-foot set of three interlinked blocks, with an imposing collonaded façade of slender pillars in textured precast white concrete. The Lake House is an interpretation, or “abstraction” of the chhatris and baradaris, elegant pavilions, supported by fluted columns that are a recurring leitmotif of Rajput-Mughal architecture.
Spaces within the five-bedroom construction, mindful of local ecology and climate, are Vaastu compliant. They also defer to the requirements of three generations of the family. There is, for instance, a puja room for an elderly parent; an 80-foot-long entertainment area behind the single-storey collonaded block, subtly divided into seating, bar and library sections; a formal dining room in the second block; bedrooms with large private terraces for the couple and their two daughters on the floor above.
With its orientation of open and enclosed areas, the house is climate-compatible in all seasons. The verandas open to the soothing expanse of water and cut down the glare of the summer sun while the insertions of narrow skylights and courts catch the south winter sun. The breeze rippling off the lake is often so pleasant that you could slightly shiver on hot summer evenings.
The extensive use of precast concrete in place of stone, in defiance of Rajasthan’s superior age-old skills in stone masonry, was based on reasons of economy and speed of construction. High-quality stonework, as visible in the temple buildings, is available, but it is both time-consuming and expensive. Concrete is a speedier, cost-effective, elegant material for our time. We combined it with the hard-wearing local grey bijolia and yellow sandstone in external areas.
As heir to a glittering heritage of Rajasthan’s architectural wonders, this home is both pavilion and a palace for the 21st century.
Firm name: Matra architects and rurban planners
Architectural design team: Verendra Wakhloo, Priyank Jain, Rachit Shrivastava, Pradeep Singh, Saloni, Sanjay Devrani, Mukesh Kumar (Model)
Interior design: Atelier Ashiesh Shah/ Mumbai
Landscape design: Matra Architects
Structure: Hemant Kumar- RSM Engineering Consultants
Electricals: Lirio Lopez/ Delhi
Lighting: Mandala Designs / Manav Bhargava
Contractors: Neeraj Bhagat Contractors
Metal work: SK Metals/Delhi
Completion date: November 2019
Plot area: 1 acre approx.
Built-up area: 12000 sqft
Photography: Edmund Sumner, Ashish Sahi, Ankit Jain