A magnificent house by the Ganges

Maia Devereux Maia Devereux
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In today's Homify 360º we're taking a look at a magnificent house that sits on the banks of the River Ganges in India, designed by Mumbai architects Rajiv Saini & Associates. Designed as a holiday house/retreat on the Haridwar-Rishikesh Hindu pilgrim route, the clients shared the architecture firm's passion for design, with the result that they trusted them enough to embark on quite a radical project. The client's requirements for the house were simple: three bedroom suites and enough informal spaces to lounge around in with family and friends while soaking in the virgin territory all around.

Single-storey home

The single-storey residence burrows into the sloping riverside terrain. Rough masonry walls define the main entrance, while both angular and curved concrete walls separate individual rooms. Floor to ceiling windows maximise the view of the river, while also flooding the house with natural light. 

The approach

The house is approached between two 12-feet high, tightly placed parallel walls of stone masonry. All of the stone used for the masonry walls in the structure was quarried locally. Once through the entrance corridor, you enter into an enclosed courtyard bound with walls on three sides.

Natural inspiration

The house is located on an elevated hill slope, over looking the Ganges river as it bends, and the raw energy of the gushing river was a constant source of inspiration for the design. The form of the house is an attempt to echo some of that unbridled natural energy.

The entrance hall

The large entrance hall, along with a deck outside, functions as an informal lounging zone. It also encloses an elliptical, glass- and teak-framed dining space. From the entrance hall, one crosses over a bridge and through an internal courtyard into the lowered living room. 

Sandstone and timber flooring

The flooring throughout the public areas and hallways is in textured ochre coloured sandstone, while the private spaces – the bedrooms – are finished in timber. Bathrooms are also clad in local stones or teak timber, and custom solid teak wood furniture along with linen and cotton furnishings was used throughout the house.

Dining space

The ellipitical dining space is simple, but boasts views of the river beyond. 

Exposed brickwork

The master bedroom suite, along with the attached en suite bathroom (and an outdoor courtyard with outdoor shower) is located on one side of the living room. Teak wood floors and exposed brickwork make for a warm and inviting space. 

Glazed corridor

The bedrooms and TV lounge are accessed through a long glazed corridor lined with a grove of bamboo trees. A small courtyard ensures enough natural light to illuminate the corridor, while also offering total privacy to the house's inhabitants.

Natural materials and finishes

In keeping with the location and form of the house, the architects played with natural materials and finishes inside. Ceilings throughout are in form finished concrete, as are many of the retaining walls. Other internal walls are in white painted unplastered bricks – as we saw above – or rubble masonry.

Curved wall

A stunning curved wall characterises the sitting room, which looks out over a gorgeous vista of the river below. 

Double height rooms

Another curved wall in this double-height bedroom, which, despite its size, seems warm and welcoming. Furniture is simple and characterised by clean lines. The structure is the star of the show, along with the magnificent views. 

Simplicity

As in the rest of the house, simplicity in the furnishings is the order of the day in the bathrooms, allowing the natural materials – local stone and timber – to shine. 

TV lounge

The TV lounge is made snug with a slightly lowered ceiling and smaller windows than the other rooms in the house. The touches of pink in the spotlights add a fun burst of colour to every room. 

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