by Zohra KhanSep 23, 2022
Rows of staggered cuboids grouped together give these structures the feeling of an organic village cluster, but at the same time that of futuristic housing. Does this multi-fragmented approach to design remind you faintly of Charles Correa's Cidade de Goa? Sameep Padora, principal architect and founder of Mumbai-based Sameep Padora and Associates (sP+a), agrees and adds, "We were hugely inspired by the masterful scale of Correa's villas in Verem and the formal aggregation of Cidade de Goa. In this project, which will be completed next year, we tried to merge the density of group housing in apartments and the spatial experience of living in a villa. So this hybrid type has courtyard terraces that are open to the sky." These courts, located on different levels, make way for a unique program—of courtyard or aangans that aren't just outdoor spaces but rather structured as social spaces allowing different programs to be grouped around and spill out into.
sP+a’s Zira Homes is a special project by the Bengaluru-based real estate firm, Kasu Homes, founded by sisters Dhruthi and Jyotsna Reddy. “We build holiday homes or second homes for people from the metros who want certain lifestyle luxuries in Goa. The state is a very popular destination, and has especially picked up since the past few years. During our research, we found that while people are looking to have homes in Goa, there is a dearth of high quality residences. Plus, all the well-designed Airbnbs are mostly always booked out. We realised there was a gap in the market for good quality construction and aesthetically-pleasing homes for travellers looking to have a foothold here. We wanted to bring a more superior product to the market, not just in the way the homes are built but even furnished,” avers Dhruti. While the sisters have contributed heavily to the growth of real estate in the state, the concept of Zira Homes was specifically skewed for the young professionals looking to make the region their own. “Goa has a huge influx of working professionals who visit often and would love to have a second, more luxurious home here. We spoke to Sameep, who we have been working with since the past five years, about doing a project with smaller units that were more affordable. The site itself is a prime location; a part of it is on a hill with fantastic views of the city of Panjim,” shares Dhruti.
While the demographics were keenly locked in, it was the idea of social spaces that the owners and the architects truly delved deep into. “When people visit Goa with their families and friends, they tend to spend more time in the public spaces in the home, be it the outdoor pool, the deck or the garden. The inside and outside connection is essential for such properties,” mentions Dhruti. This idea of a more communal home took Padora back to the traditional housing in India, where the courtyard, situated in the centre, was truly the heart of the home. Several rooms opened up to this one space, and all evening or early morning rituals took place here, with the entire family in attendance. "The other thing that we kept in mind while planning this structure was the lifestyle of people in Goa—their lives are connected to the landscape and the outdoors. When you are living on the ground, you have access to natural ventilation, sunlight, open spaces and more, which when you live in a conventional apartment you miss out on. The kind of typology we were presented with allowed that kind of program and performance to happen, in terms of the architecture,” adds Padora.
With a plot size of 35,000 square feet, Zira Homes partly located on a hill, will have 32 apartments and six villas. Four villas will be situated on the hill, opening up views to the city of Panjim, and the other two will have private gardens. The apartments (1, 2 and 3BHK), a clubhouse and a series of outdoor spaces will complete the scene. “With regards to the outdoor spaces within the compound, there will be, firstly, the terrace courtyards, secondly the building's centre which will be a series of multilevel courtyards with a skylit centre. And, the de facto club house program. In terms of materiality, the walls will be finished with laterite plaster to reference the commonly found materiality of the region, the roof will be clay tiles. And the landscaping will be terraced slopes of native and existing trees and plants," shares Padora.
This residential design aesthetic speaks to the new needs of homeowners who want to be more connected, within the home. As the world continues to wade through the pandemic-induced distancing, members within the four walls desire to come closer.
Name: Zira Homes
Location: Goa, India
Area: 35,000 square feet
Year of completion: Under construction
Architect: Sameep Padora and Associates (sP+a)
Design team: Jemin Mehta, Jaee Mokashi, Aparna Dhareshwar , Vami Koticha, Sameep Padora