by Pallavi MehraApr 08, 2023
Designed as a weekend home in Alibaug, India, about three hours from Mumbai, is a home-away-from-home in nature built by Mumbai-based architecture and design firm Clay Architecture and Interiors led by architect Ahsan Ansari. The name 'Uminoya' literally means a house by the sea in Japanese, however for the architects it meant 'flanked by abundance of nature'.
“The clients wanted us to design the house in propinquity with the mature coconut grove and to retain all the trees on the site. The main architectural language that we adapted here was to manoeuvre between the existing landscape and also let it be a part of the structure,” shares Ansari. "We wanted something which was inspired from the Japanese language as the design speaks of a blend of Modern architecture in a tropical topography," he adds.
The house has been designed with an individual quality assigned to each of the spaces. The structures have been built separately retaining its own form and integrity, all the spaces have been planned and designed under one roof with varying heights. Ayesha Shethna, a member of the design team says, "We wanted to design a structure that vanishes in its surroundings and appears less imposing while maintaining all its functions. We believe that is when you have incorporated the context in your space." All the spaces have been linked through the inner courtyard that allows daylight and ventilation to invigorate the spaces and with it creating ever-changing shadows.
The central courtyard becomes the separating point between private and public zones of the house. The wide entrance laid out with a colourful carpet is where the eye meets the central courtyard. The entrance passage is flanked by the living room on one side and the kitchen on the other. All the other rooms have been placed on the other side of the courtyard, the master bedroom in the furthermost corner with a verandah. The gazebo and the Yoga room have been artistically designed across the swimming pool.
“The house kept evolving, as we wanted to incorporate more and more nature into the house at every step. The mound next to the pool was not pre-decided. It was only when we excavated the soil for the pool and piled up all the soil, we realised that it balanced the void of the swimming pool very well,” shares Ansari. A series of decisions taken as per site conditions and an imagined aesthetic gave the house its eventual earthy and warm feel. Innovative elements such as raised seating in the courtyard and a cozy reading space with light coming through a wooden screen and skylight create elegant, dramtic effects. “The plinth seating below the skylight was also not pre-planned but as the house kept coming together, we felt that the solid plinth would balance the skylight above,” adds Ansari.
A combination of the subtle hues of concrete, layered with natural shades of wood and sprinkled with elegant carpets and décor pieces create a coherent space. The home is an airy, light-filled setting with individuality in its spaces, elegant design aesthetics that reflects contemporary culture of the modern times. “The simplicity and clean lines of the structure define its architectural language,” concludes Ansari.
Name of the project: Uminoya Weekend Home
Location: Alibaug, Maharashtra
Year: September 2018
Area: 9,500 sqft
Time taken from conception to construction: 3 years
Time taken for construction: 2 years
Official name of the architectural firm: Clay Architecture and Interiors
Design team: Ayesha Shethna, Sagar Ved