In the city’s most prime real estate, not many would consider putting a piece of land into a venture with no commercial returns. But the client, who owned a plot of 400 sq. mt. in the chaotic locality, was keen on building a private residence with numerous requirements: a spa, a gym, a home theatre, a swimming pool, an elevator, a suite (for resort feel), green spaces, and yes, five bedrooms keeping basic Vastu considerations in mind. A luxury that would be commensurate with the value of the real estate that the house would occupy.

PROJECT NAME – STEPPED VILLA
STUDIO NAME – DISHA ARCHITECTS, NASHIK
PLOT SIZE – 400 Sq.Mt.
BUILT UP AREA – 394.73 Sq.Mt.
LOCATION – COLLEGE ROAD, NASHIK, MAHARASHTRA, INDIA.
COMPLETION PERIOD – 2 Years
YEAR – 2014

Stepped Villa By Disha Architects - Sheet1
©Disha Architects

Fitting these specifications on a plot of 4,300 sq. ft. was a challenge, a task that we were most happy to sink our teeth in. The first response was an idea for a ground + two structure, its levels dictated by varying degrees of privacy. Within this, the entertainment/recreational area needed to be the most private from the user point of view. Thus, evolved the idea of ‘hiding’ away this zone (including two guest rooms) on a restricted- entry ground floor; accommodating ‘common areas’ (the hall, kitchen, dining, puja, powder room) on the 1st floor with the entry that could be used by domestic help and casual visitors; and housing the family’s bedrooms and a congregational space on the second floor. The vertical circulation spaces, which would link all these spaces, became crucial to this sprawling scheme, acting as a core element of dramatic transformation. Their journeys are an exploration of the house itself. In some places they overlook the living room; in others they hover over the swimming pool; and elsewhere they offer a vantage point over the Puja area.

Stepped Villa By Disha Architects - Sheet6
©Disha Architects

The envelope design of the east-facing house had to toe the line drawn by Vastu, which dictated a squarish structure. But to this box were added interesting projections at various levels: a glass porch, a glass entrance lobby cube, 15-foot cantilevered balconies all in M.S. structure. A significant part of the façade was clad in granite whose design is modular. Square and smooth, rectangular and rough. The envelope design communicates the inward-looking nature of the house; an edifice that presents a blank face to the world, but holds many secrets within.

Stepped Villa By Disha Architects - Sheet14
©Disha Architects

The living room is the epitome of sectional play that we strove for. For the most part, it enjoys double-height, but if we go to the dining section, and the ceiling suddenly dips to single-height, and further if we move to the northern edge, it suddenly becomes triple-height, with glimpses of the pool below. The dining area smartly extends to the deck, creating an inside-outside entertainment section. The other pocket of significance on the first floor level is the double-height Puja area. This devotional pocket features a skylight, glass walls creating Pradakshina path, granite cladded feature wall, and carefully selected indoor plants which completes the tranquil picture.

All the bedrooms, except the children’s, enjoy a sedate colour scheme. They are all wooden floored and feature wood veneers teamed with cork highlighters of a similar hue. The children’s bedroom, home to two teenage girls, sees a bit of vibrancy, in the form of back-painted glass insets in furniture. Both the ground floor bedrooms enjoy a green area equipped with a pergola. Generally speaking, the washrooms are clad in granite teamed with artificial marble. They fulfil the requirement for spa-like facilities including steam room and Jacuzzi. The suite-room is an indulgent pocket that recreates a resort feel. Its floor is in level with the pool, a successful endeavour to create the infinity effect.

Stepped Villa By Disha Architects - Sheet15
©Disha Architects

The pool, 20’ x 50’, is partly constructed on the plinth, partly on the set-back area which has been used cleverly for light and ventilation as it is open to the sky, and topped by a slatted grill and glass. A vertical garden makes a lush accompaniment to the bright blue of the water. The dead wall on the north has been dressed up in part granite generated on-site, and interspersed with sections of bright mosaic tiles. This wall can be seen from many parts of the house, its brightness injecting a buzz into the interiors.

Stepped villa is a home of surprises. Its location is a surprise. And it’s largely block-like architectural massing holds within it a delight of soaring and dipping ceilings, a riveting play of sections and tantalizing visual linkages that prompt the user to embark on a journey of exploration. Truly, it’s a home that is satisfied with itself.

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