VILLA IN THE PALMS | Abraham John Architects
Photo credits: Alan Abraham
Project name: Villa in the Palms
Architect’s Firm: Abraham John Architects
Project location: Sangolda, Goa, India
Completion Year: 2018
Gross Built Area:610sqm
Plot Area: 1300sqm
DesignTeam: Abraham John, Alan Abraham, Anca Florescu, Neha Gupta, NiranjanFulsundar,VatsalMistry
Villa in the Palms is named after the 19 towering coconut palms that thrived for decades on the land, which dictated the villa's concept and footprint. This four-bedroom house overlooks a field and a seasonal stream.
Embedded into the natural landscape, Villa in the Palms appears almost village-like, pockets of small homes nestled between 80-year-old coconut trees, nearly invisible from points further up the approach road. The fact that the trees on site existed for decades gives the overall house a very rooted presence.
Design Concept & Process
The studio’s design approach is to reconnect architecture with nature.
Designing a regular building block would have required the cutting down of several trees to accommodate the programme. To avoid this, the building was carefully designed between the trees, without disrupting the surroundings, and not a single tree was felled during construction.
Consequently, the structure is fragmented rather than monolithic, reminiscent of an old-time Goan village but at the same time entirely modern. Each bedroom on the ground floor, for example, feels like a separate home, replete with an en-suite bathrooms, a rear garden, a front garden and an internal courtyard flanked by laterite walls.These independent volumes are interconnected with decks, passages and bridges that meander through the trees and over pools and gardens.
The building design adopts distinct local features and materials of the tropical coastal state of Goa, with exposed local laterite stone walls, sloping roofs and screens made from 100-year-old recycled teak wood, while the landscape design consists of local tropical species (mostly various types of palms) that maintain their lush greenery through the year.
Roofs pitched at different angles pay homage to the monsoons and accentuate the staccato nature and fragmented aesthetic of the building. The interstitial roofs which cap each unit individually harvest rainwater, while further visually integrating the building in the lush landscape.
Boundaries between the inside and outside are blurred and vast open spaces connect each living space.
While everything is open and filled with light and air, the house is still very private. The laterite walls thermally and visually shield each room, maintaining privacy while orienting for the best views of the northern field.
The Northern façade on the other hand opens with large recessed glazing to the fields while not increasing the solar gain.
With the thermal mass of the laterite walls, open northern facades & open internal courtyards, the house creates and is designed to be environmentally responsive to its siting, sustainable as far as a private home can be, while respecting the local environment and geography.