A Beautiful Garden Stands Between This Modern House and the Street (Privacy Barrier eh?)

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The Skewed House – Part 1

Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent – Joe Soprano

When a modern house such as this one opens up to a busy street, you have two choices to create a privacy barrier: erect a tall, concrete compound wall, or think out of the box to create an interesting facade.

Studio Lagom  chose the second option for this 11,000 sq. foot villa in Surat by pushing the main structure of the contemporary house to the rear and enveloping it in a lush green landscape that reveals itself in stages. A maze of pathways unfolds the beauty that lies within, and it is equally intriguing for passersby on the street wondering what is on the other side. It is little surprise that the architects christened this residence “The Skewed House“.

This home tour is a two-part series with the first part focusing on the exteriors and the maximizing views of the landscape.

Location: Surat, Gujarat
Area of plot: 14,000 sq ft
Built-up area: 11,000 sq ft
Architecture & design firm: Studio Lagom
Principal architect: Hardik Shah
Landscape architects: Umesh & Prachi Wakaley (Roots Designs)

Wooden Facade of a modern house on a busy street in Surat

the pathway from the main gate leading to the garden of the house

A green wall leading to the entrance of the bungalow. This also provides privacy.

The architect reversed the norm of having the main structure on the street side and the garden in the rear. By setting the bungalow back beyond an elevated garden makes this home feel rather spacious rather than in a typical forbidding, fortress-like compound wall.

The elevation is made up of Valsadi teak battens wrapped in cascades of creepers. Beyond this wall is a ramp that leads one directly to the garden. It is sandwiched between this slatted outer boundary wall and the retaining wall of the home with an intermediary concrete wall.

The architect’s vision was to create a journey of sorts, a constricted perambulatory approach that finally ‘releases’ the visitor into the garden. The other access point, which is the ‘normal’ main door, also uses the same strategy of constriction and liberation, via a small entrance lobby that shields the main living space from direct view.

Landscaping of a tropical villa camouflaged by plumeria trees

A covered pergola in the porch of a tropical bungalow surrounded by lush green lawn.

Lush green manicured lawn and a sprawling landscape take the credit for the relaxed ambiance of the Skewed house. This was developed collaboratively by Roots Designs and Studio Lagom. The lawn comprises a sectional profile (a kund-like sunken central portion) that is inspired by the ghats of Varanasi and Ujjain. An artistic dimension was added by extending the floor pattern of the gazebo into the kund.

A distant view of the bungalow/ villa from the landscaped garden

Stone sculptures dot the landscape of this tropical bungalow

Various animal sculptures around the water bodies in landscape of this tropical bungalow

Landscape of the tropical bungalow

View of the tropical landscape from the living room

Ideas for how to design a porch and landscaped garden for a tropical villa

A peek into the house from the garden


Entrance to the bungalow

Wooden main door entrance

I bet you can’t wait to see the insides when those doors are thrown open, can you? The interiors are as breathtaking as the outdoors. Stay tuned for part 2.

Image courtesy: Photographix | Sebastian + Ira for Studio Lagom


1 Comment

  1. shalini jain

    Very very creative blog! I really appreciate your creative writing skills. Keep writing!

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