A quiet weekend retreat nestled in the pristine greens of Kausani, this house embodies the quintessential qualities of a getaway home. Designed to be at peace with its context, the building is made entirely of local stone and pine wood. The architecture endeavours to celebrate both the winter sun and the stunning views around it.

Project Name: The Stone House
Studio Name: Atrium
Design Team:  Sumeet saxena, Vishakha Saxena, Abhishek, Kavita
Area: 2500 sft
Year: 2011
Location: Kausani, Uttarakhand
Structural Consultant: Ascent Associates
Photography Credits: Sumeet Saxena

The Stone House By Atrium Architectural Studio - Sheet2
©Sumeet Saxena

Nestled in the hills of Kausani, the house sits on a beautiful piece of land facing the grand Himalayas. Surrounded with verdant greens and a plethora of stunning views, the house has been designed and built as an entity at peace with its surroundings and completely in sync with the vernacular architecture of the hills.

The design brief itself was quite simple, the client needed a vacation home to get away from the chaos and hustle and bustle of urban living. For us as architects, the design brief went well beyond the functional- the challenge was to harness all the stunning views on the north side, and also keep the house climatically appropriate by opening it up on the south side to take in the winter sun.

The Stone House By Atrium Architectural Studio - Sheet3
©Sumeet Saxena

The house had to create an internal space that was cosy and welcoming in the cold, and also open to the beauty around it. But in locales as pristine as this site, the architects biggest task is to create a building that quietly blends in, more as an observer of nature rather than create a standout structure that breaks the quiet by screaming for attention.

The plan was designed along the East –West axis, orienting all  spaces towards the north face for the view, and towards the south face for the winter sun. The heart of the house is a high roofed central family space around a fire place.

The Stone House By Atrium Architectural Studio - Sheet5
©Sumeet Saxena

An open kitchen, dining area and a low roofed cosy card playing area cluster around this central volume. This space had large picture windows looking on to the Himalayan view and high placed windows at the roof level to take in the winter sun rays from the south face. The entrance lobby with its pine wood staircase juxtaposed against the rough stone walls separates the bedrooms from the living area at both levels. The verandah on the north face, fronting on to the garden also provides a sheltered sit-out to watch the hills and the rain, and soak in the beauty around.

The Stone House By Atrium Architectural Studio - Sheet6
©Sumeet Saxena

The material palette used for the building was entirely local. The main walls were all made out of local stonework, left exposed. Pine wood was used for the roof structure and staircase and flooring. The natural materials lend a character to the interiors that is both permanent and timeless.


Atrium Architectural Studio

In 1994, Atrium Design Studio was founded by Sumeet and Vishakha Saxena, both alumni of the renowned School of Architecture, C.E.P.T, Ahmedabad. Sumeet gained professional training with Raj Rewal Associates in Delhi, while Vishakha trained under Christopher Benninger in Pune. Upon graduating in 1992, both freelanced with DAAT architects and Spazzio Design in New Delhi, before setting up their own practice.

In their 27 years of their practice, both the principal architects have handled a vast range of projects from hospitality to restaurants, educational institutions to offices, private residences to vacation homes, giving them an opportunity to develop a very diverse architectural and interiors practice.

Atrium’s design philosophy “focused with a purpose” has developed over the years. They believe that architecture is not merely an act of ego. Being sensitive to understand
client’ needs and aspirations, sites’ intrinsic character and potential and integrating them with design sensibilities to create something that is unique in character, is their primary focus. Creating simple yet significant, experiential, efficient and feasible designs along with maintaining the cultural ethos and contextual identity, is what defines their design process.

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