The Mango House: an excerpt from the PKA Portfolio
After being voted as the Best Profile on TFOD (till July 2015), Ar. Puran Kumar extends his participation to TFOD Articles! A home in Alibag, designed around and with several grand old Mango trees on the site, is one of the most breathtaking projects from PKA. The Mango House has an underlying simplicity in thought and expression through form, material and décor, in a concept woven around the conservation of the century old mango trees on the site. The house is a reflection of an architect’s creative sensibilities.Here, Puran shares with the readers of TFOD the concept and creation of The Mango House.
The Mango House is the physical manifestation of a quest to connect with the natural environment. The unspoken, yet obvious, brief was to stay true to the basic values of being organic in texture and adopting green culture into the design. With “Form follows Function” as the guiding principle of design, the site dominated by mango trees actually gave birth to the layout and form of the house! One could say that the house gets its definition from the trees.
The form of the structure was governed by their location on the North, South and East sides of the house. Their presence on the plot warranted the design approach to be responsive in context with the surrounding. The entrance on all four sides along both the north-south & east-west axes leads to an uninterrupted view of the verdant landscape. There were some certainties that were a given – entrance porch to the north as there was space for a driveway and kitchen on the east to catch the early morning sun.
The restrictions imposed by the narrow plot on the construction site entailed the house to be taken to the second level. The location of the mango trees on the plot demanded the layout plan to accommodate the roots of the trees during the excavation phase. Certain areas like kitchen block and the pool had to be relocated in order to achieve this. There was a need for balance between the open and covered spaces.
Within the built form too, the flow of spaces continues across both levels without losing its thematic context or its proportions. The suspended steel staircase is the raison d’etre of the house as its majestic presence dominates the interiors. A skylight here and another over the dining area underscore the vastness of the interior volume.
The sweeping staircase also follows the same aesthetic of the house - a rustic assemblage of steel and wood.
The vastness of the free-flowing spaces and their uninterrupted connect with the surrounding becomes the highlight of the house. But the most striking feature is its relationship with the mango trees, who seem to play a patriarchal role in the design scheme by allowing the house to be built in their midst.
The material palette includes exposed brick façade, plastered concrete elements, Shahabad stone, recycled teak wood and terracotta tiled roof. These choices reinforce the rustic character of the structure, making it a part of the landscape. Glass has also been used extensively to maintain the seamless connect between open and enclosed spaces. The hammered-look curved steel spine, supporting steel plates as treads, and complimentary steel/ teakwood railing on one side constitute the winding staircase in the living zone.
All in all, a home away from home in the true spirit of its surrounding, The Mango House helps the city-dwelling family to connect with nature by being organic in both spirit and content.
Project Type : Private Residence
Location : Alibaug, Maharashtra, India
Built-Up Area : 6000 S.ft.