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.

PLOT SIZE – 400 Sq.Mt.
BUILT UP AREA – 394.73 Sq.Mt.
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.


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.

Write A Comment