by Jerry ElengicalSep 08, 2021
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".
“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.
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.
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.
An outdoor wooden deck on the ground floor becomes one with the interiors by removing its openable louvers that separate the spaces.
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.
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
Site Area: 920 sqm
Built-Up Area: 270 sqm
Year of Completion: 2019