Flying House Khandala

The Flying House is inspired from the sloping site situated in the Khandala region for two friends that wanted to build two adjacent houses that would share common recreational areas.

Perceived
The house was designed for two friends who wanted it to be a retreat in the mountains, where each one could have separate domestic spaces with shared common recreational ones like the pool. But other than that, the clients didn’t have any set brief or rules or design styles. They had chosen the Architects due to their focus on creating unique projects both in design as well as construction.

Thought Process
The initial thought process, was inspired from the foggy mountains of Khandala, and the design team wanted to explore the unique topography of the site to create an innovative structure that felt that it was extruded from the surrounding contours. With the client brief in mind, it was transformed and extruded in the mountainous site to form two wings that will house their families with a cantilevered infinity pool that will give a ‘flying’ effect.

Steeling effect
Steel was considered from the beginning as a major structural and construction material since it enables a greater control on the geometry of design as well as the flexibility of doing it off-site. Any on site construction for the cantilevered sections would have been more difficult due to the steep topography and would have resulted in larger and heavier structural solutions. Steel allowed a minimum but an efficient structure that allowed the architectural intent to be taken ahead to achieve that truly flying effect on a cantilevered pool.

 

The experience so far from all the projects including this one has been an exciting and challenging one since all projects are unique, both structurally and conceptually. The fact that we are now able to build these unique concepts in India in a cost effective and aesthetically desirable manner has been the greatest reward so far.

Amita Kulkarni, Co-Founder, SAV Architects

Architectural Dynamics
Emerging from the foggy rugged landscape that Khandala is known for; the houses are supported on V shaped structural steel branching columns and are dynamically shaped to follow the sinuous curves of the mountains giving expansive views to the lush waterfalls in the monsoons. The project is designed as two wings, that are carved out of the mountains, that are supported by branching columns that pierce through the slabs to support the cantilevered portions.

The tilted geometry of the houses, as well the steel columns give a dynamic and fluid feel to the project. The cantilevered pool is one of the most interesting feature since it does not rest on any column to create a floating and flying feel. The concrete structure was equally interesting since we used the thin blade columns that allowed for structural walls creating the column free living and bedroom spaces with their unique geometries.

The design philosophy is shaped around, a combination of technology and crafts to bring architecture closer to nature both in its construction as well as in its experiential qualities while ensuring cost effectiveness and more importantly projects that reduce waste, energy and resources of this planet.

Inspirational Geometrics and software used
The designs are very much inspired from natural systems, which have evolved over so many generations. Their combination of ordinary beauty, elegant tactility, experiential sublimity and meticulous efficiency shapes the work. The geometry for this house is inspired from the topography of the mountain which we have transformed and morphed to create a mix of unique form and experience within our architecture.

The use of a mix of CAD software and modelling techniques to generate our forms. Due to experiences and networks across UK and India, it helped in research and applying new methods and processed within architectural design to the projects.

The Design team equally works with sketch physical models as that helps to understand the physicality of the design and the structural and construction constraints that the proposed designs may face during the building process.

Flying House stands alone with its distinctive architecture identity on the site, presenting large-scaled mountainous flying-landscape through flowing surfaces harmonised with green infill. Flying House, composed of multipartite dynamic surfaces and terraces, sits on the site with its natural landscape using modern structural material combination yet defying the nature, structure- looks like a ‘landing of an airship that load nature.’ Primary supporting material is combination of wood and structural steel plates, wood have been used extensively in composite action with structural steel plate in structural designs. Roof spans of composite wood and structural steel ranges upto 30m clear to achieve
the required architectural profile and intent.
Vivek Garg, Managing Director, Global Engineering Services

The Learnings
The experience so far from all the projects including this one has been an exciting and challenging one since all projects are unique, both structurally and conceptually. The fact that enables, the design team to build these unique concepts in India, in a cost effective and aesthetically desirable manner has been the greatest reward so far.

Timeliness
Since the project is a private house the timeline has been much more flexible than some other projects that are far more market drive. Having said that the construction on site needed to be faster due to the tough site conditions as well as the due to the monsoon times since work almost comes to standstill again due to climatic conditions.

 

Fact File
Architect: SAV Architects
Structural Consultant : Global Engineering Services
Contractor: Duratech Construction