Beacon of sustainability since the times when architecture fraternity was devoid of the new age world, Mozaic has stood out over the years due to its unique solutions and holistic approach and consideration towards the environment. Under the guidance of architect Dean D’ Cruz, the firm has focused on sustainable building practices while keeping the regional sentiments intact. Most of the designs are earthly combined with cost-effective strategies and have a subtle fluidity that effortlessly connects the indoors with the outdoors.
The firm believes in the coherent disposition of spaces with a sense of functionality and climatology while also being constantly aware of the future consequences.
Architect Dean D’ Cruz moved to Goa after completing his graduation from J.J. School of Architecture, Bombay. He initially worked as an assistant to Gerard Da Cunha and got inspired by Laurie Baker’s basic design approach, which Gerard also adopted. He subsequently realised the beauty of the intrinsic details in the hands-on approach towards design rather than focusing only on the outcomes. Eventually, when he co-founded Mozaic, he instilled those principles of sustainability in his work and, thereupon, became one of the pioneers of environment-friendly and cost-effective buildings.
Now, let’s look at a few projects by Mozaic:
1. Laguna Anjuna (Traditional Boutique Hotel)
Nestled amidst the grove of coconut and various fruit trees in the seaside village of Anjuna, is the traditional Portuguese style resort of Laguna Anjuna. Taking inspiration from the conventional dwelling style of Goa, the resort design comprises thick laterite stone cottages with tile-roofed high ceilings, carved pillars and lintels. With its exceptional site planning skills, Mozaic has conceptualized interlaced courtyards with cobblestone pathways and successfully preserved the existing trees on site.
Today, the hotel is one of its kind, with innovative spaces immersed in nature and close to the traditional roots along with a touch of sustainability.
2. Commander Narayanan’s Residence (Low- Cost Residence)
Sustainable in its spirit, the residence imbibes a subtle tone of traditional values and a hint of ingenious craftsmanship. Stacked into three levels, it stands on a hilltop near Vasco da Gama. The residence carefully uses the hill rock for foundation as it uses Laterite Stone for the entire construction. Adorned with the rustic vibe, the residence calmly absorbs into its context with rough exteriors and equally simplistic interiors. However, the innovation is at various levels, and the design also uses local materials such as coconut wood and shells in the interiors, which creatively reduces the footprint.
Despite the cost-effective aspect, the earthy abode proficiently creates a design metaphor. While the design aims towards repaying the site with a minimal carbon footprint, the roof is a total reflection of the site as the sloping roof perfectly aligns with the slope of the hill.
3. Karwar Cathedral
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption at Karwar, Karnataka, is remarkable in the domain of Sacral Architecture. It creates renewed perspective towards religious buildings while defining a distinctive presence with utter simplicity. The congregational space is encompassed with granite walls, twelve tree-like columns and a roof with sustainable Mangalore tiles. However, redefining the conventional image of the space, it also forges numerous metaphors out of Christianity. While the twelve columns represent the Twelve Apostles, a mini pond is designed near the entrance to signify an actual Baptismal Font with seven steps relating to the seven Sacraments.
Furthermore, the entire building is conceptualised in the form of a Roman amphitheatre-like space marking the actual origin. The gradual unfolding of the entire area gives rise to several transitions giving scope for accommodating different size groups. The stepped layout efficiently helps in giving better viewing. While the roof floats above the granite walls, the entire area rises and then transcends down ultimately towards the sky-lit altar.
4. Mahua Kothi (Jungle Lodge)
Situated near the obscured expanse of the Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh, the lodge is a culmination of a resort in the spirit of mud houses. Commissioned by Taj, the lodge stands relevant to the context it is built in and has adopted local building methods and materials. The cottages referred to as ‘Kutiyas’ are mud houses with sloping roofs giving an earthy vibe along with rustic interiors.
The project strikes a balance between the need to be sustainable and eco-friendly, in coordination with the site context and facilitating high-end resort facilities while being as natural and organic as possible. Without the use of fancy technologies to be sustainable and green, the regionalist approach brings in the ideal sustainability quotient required.
5. Nilaya Hermitage
Nilaya Hermitage is a traditional style boutique hotel and is another excellent display of sustainable techniques by Mozaic. The 8 room hotel is situated in Arpora, Goa, on a hilltop and overlooks the beautiful stretches of the beach. While it imbibes a cosmic ideology in the room interiors, the exteriors are equally rough and earthy with exposed stone textures. Built with the stone excavated from the hill behind, it advocates the use of locally sourced materials as in other sustainable projects by the firm. Besides, it also reuses old artefacts such as temple columns coupled with renewable coconut timber for its roofing.
Rich in its aesthetic, it also exhibits the powerful and stylish use of mosaic as an eco-friendly measure to design the different cosmic themes of sun, moon, earth, air, fire and stars.