Zowa Architects design Kokum House with a 'borrowed garden' in rural Goa

On a tight patch of land, a towering monolithic grey mass doubles as a private residence that overlooks typical Goan houses and a neatly tucked wild garden.

by Zohra Khan Published on : Sep 29, 2020

Zowa Architects have designed a private residence on a tight site in Goa, which also accommodates a beautiful orchard. The project called the Kokum House (the word ‘Kokum’ means a fruit bearing local tree) is conceived by the Colombo-based firm and built in collaboration with Goa-based Studio Matter.

The architecture reveals itself as a monolithic grey structure towering above a large orchard and the low-rise habitation of a neighbourhood in the Quitla village of Aldona – one of the prominent rural areas of Goa, which its residents believe is "the most beautiful village in the world".

  • Kokum House surrounded by a wild garden | Kokum House | Goa | STIRworld
    Kokum House surrounded by a wild garden Image: Rishul Bangar and Studio Matter
  • Cubical protrusions on the house’s façade that have open to sky showers on the inside | Kokum House | Goa | STIRworld
    Cubical protrusions on the house’s façade that have open to sky showers on the inside Image: Rishul Bangar and Studio Matter

“The space we got was tiny compared to the size of the land, with large swathes of leftover land on all sides, which we couldn’t touch. So, it was about building in the round, making connections to the gardens, and also to the rest of the landscape,” says Pradeep Kodikara, who has conceptualised the project with his partner Jineshi Samaraweera.

The three-storey dwelling is designed with a pitched roof, a floor to ceiling glass and steel front, and cubicle protrusions on the façade that envelope open-to-sky shower areas on the inside.

The floor plan of the house, measuring 9 x 12 meters, comprises five bedrooms, a kitchen, a living-dining-lounge area and a sheltered outdoor deck. To the building’s east is the orchard, which has a wild garden with fruit trees and frequenting birds.

Kokum House in the evening | Kokum House | Goa  | STIRworld
Kokum House in the evening Image: Rishul Bangar and Studio Matter

Though an inward-looking building, the house as much embraces its exteriors. To open the architectural envelope to its surrounding, a vertical atrium is designed in a grid of three meters, which as per the architects is the home's 'second skin' and a gracious inlet for sunlight and ventilation.

“The double-height glass relates to the forest just beyond; the wrap around the verandah was a much-needed extension of the living space,” adds Kodikara.

Studio Matter founder, Ruturaj Parikh, refers the atrium as the well that renders lightness in the house, and at night, induces a contrasting effect, wherein the building lights up against the darkness of the lush surroundings.

  • An open-plan on the ground floor accommodates a lounge and dining area| Kokum House | Goa | STIRworld
    An open-plan on the ground floor accommodates a lounge and dining area Image: Rishul Bangar and Studio Matter
  • The dining and outdoor court | Kokum House | Goa | STIRworld
    The dining and outdoor court Image: Rishul Bangar and Studio Matter

Upon entering the residential building, an open-plan layout brings a synergy of informal spaces on the ground floor. A lounge overlooking the garden outside spills onto a linear double-height passage that accommodates the dining space. The kitchen, quite coy to the overarching layout, is pocketed next to the dining. Its walls and fittings, contrary to the largely white interior design, is rendered in black. Private spaces such as the bedrooms are designed at extremities to receive views from beyond the site.

Lounge overlooking views of the outdoor deck and the garden beyond | Kokum House | Goa | STIRworld
Lounge overlooking views of the outdoor deck and the garden beyond Image: Rishul Bangar and Studio Matter

An outdoor wooden deck on the ground floor becomes one with the interiors by removing its openable louvers that separate the spaces.

  • Bedroom | Kokum House | Goa | STIRworld
    Bedroom Image: Rishul Bangar and Studio Matter
  • Open to sky shower area | Kokum House | Goa | STIRworld
    Open to sky shower area Image: Rishul Bangar and Studio Matter

A ‘restrictive’ material palette defines an aesthetic that belongs to the place. "The combination of polished cement floors, painted laterite walls and timber furniture renders a monolithic material idea across all internal spaces," add the architects. The roof, which replicates the form of a local church, has used corrugated zinc-aluminium sheets while the building’s façade employed cement finish with titanium pruning.

The fluidity of the programmes and the simplicity of materials and their applications reveal a house that merges with its surroundings yet stands out from afar.

  • Site Plan | Kokum House | Goa | STIRworld
    Site Plan Image: Courtesy of the architects
  • Ground Floor Plan | Kokum House | Goa | STIRworld
    Ground Floor Plan Image: Courtesy of the architects
  • First Floor Plan | Kokum House | Goa | STIRworld
    First Floor Plan Image: Courtesy of the architects
  • First Floor Plan | Kokum House | Goa | STIRworld
    Second Floor Plan Image: Courtesy of the architects
  • Section | Kokum House | Goa | STIRworld
    Section Image: Courtesy of the architects
  • Elevation | Kokum House | Goa | STIRworld
    Elevation Image: Courtesy of the architects

Project Details

Name: Kokum House
Location: Quitla, Aldona, Goa
Client: Vikrom Mathur
Architect: Pradeep Kodikara, Jineshi Samaraweera; Zowa Architects, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Associate Architect: Rishiraj Sarkar, Ranganathan Ravi and Ruturaj Parikh; Studio Matter, Goa, India
Engineer: Rahul Deshpande, RDA, Goa
Civil Contractor: Santosh Kolar
Aluminium Contractor: Girish Sanvordekar, Alpha-Tech Glazing
Master-Mason: Kothandan Enba
Area:
Site Area: 920 sqm
Built-Up Area: 270 sqm
Year of Completion: 2019

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