Ant Studio designs a home with sloping roofs and extended terraces in India

The New Delhi-based firm seeks a middle path to create ‘In the Mountains’ - a home inspired by the rugged beauty of the Indian Himalayas - for a client who wanted a British bungalow.

by Zohra Khan Published on : Mar 18, 2020

Ant Studio, led by architect Monish Siripurapu, revealed photographs of their recently finished project - a house in India’s northern state of Uttarakhand, set amid rolling mountains and lush terraces. ‘In the Mountains’, as called by the studio, has been designed as a four-bedroom dwelling where each space overlooks the views of the majestic Himalayas.

The house surrounds lush terraces and overlook views of the great Himalayas | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
The house surrounds lush terraces and overlook views of the great Himalayas Image Credit: Jaidev Venkata and Anirudh S

Inspired by the rugged beauty of the context, Siripurapu conceptualised a building that completely merges with the site and aligns with its natural contours. He proposed a middle path to convince the client who instead wanted a British bungalow with colonial influences that would stand apart in the neighbourhood.

  • The house derives its form from the contours and slopes of the surrounding landscape | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
    The house derives its form from the contours and slopes of the surrounding landscape Image Credit: Jaidev Venkata and Anirudh S
  • Zig zag paths connect the various levels of the building | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
    Zig zag paths connect the various levels of the building Image Credit: Jaidev Venkata and Anirudh S

“We were designing in nature, so it was imperative that the building is such that it belongs to the site, perhaps hugs it as closely as possible,” says Siripurapu, whose architectural practice fosters local materials and techniques in designing contemporary solutions.

“The project is very contextual. If somebody removes the building from the site and puts it somewhere else, it would not probably be able to match the ground,” he adds.

Site plan | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
Site plan Image Credit: Courtesy of Ant Studio

Various openings, courtyards and ramped terraces allow the north facing house to let in as much natural light as possible, while cutting off the chilly winds.

The interiors have been designed in a manner that one can capture the views of the surroundings from every corner of the house. Roofs, gardens and terraces extend from each room, where inhabitants accessing these spaces appear as if they are walking in the landscape.

Multiple openings in the house frame stunning views of the surroundings | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
Multiple openings in the house frame stunning views of the surroundings Image Credit: Jaidev Venkata and Anirudh S

Upon entering the building, one arrives at a semi-open lounge that includes the parking as well. An open terrace is laid ahead, framing a panoramic view of the surroundings. “We didn't want to let people enter into a building with a close environment. We wanted this transition to be very natural,” says Siripurapu.

  • Floor to ceiling glazed windows and a skylight in the ceiling lets natural light enter the living room | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
    Floor to ceiling glazed windows and a skylight in the ceiling lets natural light enter the living room Image Credit: Jaidev Venkata and Anirudh S
  • The dining room is accentuated by an array of wooden textures | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
    The dining room is accentuated by an array of wooden textures Image Credit: Jaidev Venkata and Anirudh S
  • The elaborate master bedroom features white walls and dark wooden flooring | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
    The elaborate master bedroom features white walls and dark wooden flooring Image Credit: Jaidev Venkata and Anirudh S
  • The bathrooms complement the encompassing intent by revealing textures of brick and wood | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
    The bathrooms complement the encompassing intent by revealing textures of brick and wood Image Credit: Jaidev Venkata and Anirudh S

Further, a lobby leads to the living and the dining room downstairs on one end, and the master bedroom on the other. The former features full height glazed windows and a skylight that fills the space with abundant sunlight. Dark wood flooring and nude shades of furniture complement the woody exteriors, while light blue toned walls find inspiration in the vast looming skies. Ahead of the living and dining is a private quarter, which has two bedrooms and one guestroom, each connected to a private balcony.

  • Ground floor plan  | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
    Ground floor plan Image Credit: Courtesy of Ant Studio
  • First floor plan  | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
    First floor plan Image Credit: Courtesy of Ant Studio
  • Longitudinal section  | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
    Longitudinal section Image Credit: Courtesy of Ant Studio
  • Lateral section  | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
    Lateral section Image Credit: Courtesy of Ant Studio

‘Local’ being an integral aspect of Ant studio reflects in the design of the house. For instance, the studio responded to the client’s wish of bringing something warm under the feet by using local wood ‘Tun’ in the flooring. Interestingly, the architects found a massive boulder on the site during construction, which they decided to retain near the entrance. Many such boulders from the site have been used to create the boundary walls as well as decorative elements within the interiors.

Softly illuminated house during night time   | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
Softly illuminated house during night time Image Credit: Jaidev Venkata and Anirudh S

On being asked the challenges that the team faced while designing ‘In the Mountains’, Siripurapu said, “It is very difficult when you are building in a hilly terrain as compared to a flat site. One needs to be extremely careful on how to touch the ground. The climate was also a massive challenge as nearly five to six months in a year, construction is not possible. Additionally, we had to design the roof in a way that not only it follows the terrain, but also ensures that during the rain, water does not collect on the site. We wanted the flow of the water exactly the way it was before. The contours, the terraces and the overall layout was designed keeping in mind how the water will flow through the space”.

A view of the snow-clad ‘In the Mountains’ house   | ‘In the Mountains’ | Ant Studio | STIRworld
A view of the snow-clad ‘In the Mountains’ house Image Credit: Jaidev Venkata and Anirudh S

We also ask if he would like to revise any particular aspect of the project now, to which he responds saying, “Even though I am happy how the building has emerged, but I would like to use more contextual materials, especially in the facade to add more volume to the idea that the building not only blurs the lines between the landscape and the built fabric, but also presents itself as a habitat nirvana that the client wished for”.  

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About Author

Zohra Khan

Zohra Khan

A formal education in architecture combined with an avid interest in architecture journalism and design criticism led Khan to professionally venture into writing and research. She has worked in design communication for more than three years, generating content for mondo*arc india journal. When not writing, she kicks back by dabbling on social media for STIR.

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