Palmyra House - Aga Khan Award for Architecture
Aga Khan Development Network
 

Palmyra House

Palmyra House

Location: Alibagh, India (South Asia)
Architect: Studio Mumbai Architects, Bijoy Jain
Client: Jamshyd Sethna
Completed: 2007
Design: 2005-2006
Site size: 277 m²

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This two-storey timber house, built as a weekend retreat, lies in the shade of an extensive coconut grove on coastal agricultural land facing the sea, near the fishing village of Nandgaon, south of Mumbai. The functions of the house are placed within two oblong masses slightly offset from one another, whose facades are predominantly characterised by louvers made from the trunks of the local Palmyra palm. The structure is made of ain wood; local basalt was used to make boundary walls, plinths and paving. Plaster finishes were pigmented with sand from the site. The development of the design and detail, which resulted from collaboration between the architect and the craftsmen, took on tested techniques, both local and foreign, and raised them to a finer construction resolution. The house is well-adapted to its environment: the louvers on the elevations enable passive cooling, as does the extensive shade provided by the coconut trees above; water for the house is harvested from three on-site wells, filtered and stored at the top of a water tower and fed by gravity to the house. The result of these measures is a quietly compelling project that is fully integrated into its landscape.

2010 Award Recipients