This incredible home is perched 200 feet above an expansive stretch of green along the Arabian Sea coast, at the edge of a cliff, its most prominent feature is an asymmetrical sloping roof set against the fronds of a coconut plantation. Opening its embrace to the warm sea breezes, the home covers an area of 15,037 square feet (1,397 square meters). The external and internal finishes are polished cement, concrete and rough slate juxtaposed against warm slatted timber and natural local kota stone. Furniture and accessories are kept to a minimal, so that the focus doesn’t stray from the natural environment.
The client lives in London and commissioned Khosla Associates to build the house as a holiday home to enjoy the Kerala, India sun and the spectacular views. The client requested for a large outdoor pool, several decks and meditation areas. He was keen to use local artisans and material and his empathy towards the active fishing community in Chowara prompted his decision to buy a plot of land that had some distance from the beach.
In keeping the view and the ambiance pleasant in Kerala’s tropical heat. only half of the built area is actually defined by four walls, the rest is kept open to the elements, allowing for light, air and the breeze to flow right through. Ample overhangs were provided specially on the main roof to protect against the fierce western sun and monsoon rain. Since large expanses of glass would trap the heat in this environment, the Architects devised a system of louvered wooden sliding and folding shutters for the doors and windows to allow for un-interrupted air circulation.
The entrance faces northeast and the entry walkway is made of a straight line of monolithic stone steps flanked on either side by lush tropical water bodies. The concrete wall to the right and mysterious louvered wood screen wall deliberately conceal what lies beyond.
On entering the house, the open plan voluminous foyer not only separates the private and public spaces but also extends all the way from the front entrance to the rear deck, where you can wade straight into the enormous infinity pool. The double height foyer separates the two wings and separates public and private spaces. Guest bedrooms and shaded decks lie to either side of the outdoor pool. Additional guest rooms and master bedroom connect to each other on the upper level via a walkway and terrace.
All bathrooms have tropical open-to sky courts that are integrated visually with the bedrooms and several open courts and water features punctuate and soften the scale of the foyer. The overriding canopy roof is clad on the underside entirely with eco-friendly timber that offsets with warmth the large expanses of kota flooring, concrete and polished cement.
Photos: Bharath Ramamrutham