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Kavya Ramakrishnan & Prerana Mohanty

Mumbai city is an arena for consumerism. The city's essence lies in the way it is pluralist and integrated, diverse and coherent. Its eclectic composition of different groups and cultures makes it a difficult city to define. The narrow lanes of slums which seem to be an inconvenient maze, become shortcuts to larger destinations. A represent value is added to the human life here. The social and cultural commitment of the community of the urban society is what results in civic beauty, but for many, it’s a city that represents possibility.
In the midst of the unstoppable urbanization and deforestation, the city has a large chunk of land protected as a national park. The shift while entering from an open space that seems seamless to a dark, confined space contrasts with the form of the space to reinforce its boundaries. The thick basalt rock walls, dampness, and the cool air inside emphasizes the structure and its character as a place. The cold, humidity, darkness, and the absence of sensory cues facilitate optical and auditory hallucinations which paves the way of coming into contact with spirits through the wall.
Before looking into the activities of an ASI officer, we must understand that archaeological research is a field that requires great amount of patience and mental strength. Looking through research papers all day, going to the heritage site and testing the land, coming back at the lab and writing the conclusive reports also takes a lot of stamina. The peaceful environment and the refreshing air are some of the advantages of being far from the city. The desire for luxury, space is present in any human. Designing a space after understanding the cultural sensibilities and evolution, geography, its location, accessibility, transport, weather & climate, can also affect the ASI officer’s thinking and the relevance of the structure increases.
The volume of the house is rotated to have a vast bird’s eye view of the Sanjay Gandhi national park. The concept of the design is being completely sustainable, material wise and justifying, respecting the context and history of the place. Sharanam is inspired by the famous proverb – ‘Buddham sharanam gachami’. The organic structure of the roof follows the contours. A semi-private space is provided by making the roof walkable. Ample of ventilation is provided through the different facades of the house. Kinetic wooden panels have been placed such that they can be adjusted manually according to the need of the user. The terrace overlooks the valley of the hill and shelters the garden and the entrance. The view of the hillside from the terrace, with its houses and trees, is a reflection of the place where we live, while the sheltered garden is a continuation of the hillside ground. The windows are made full-height and the interior is made up of repeating strips of the wall. This allows skylight to reach the back of the ground floor from all directions, and intermittent views of the outside light allow the atmosphere of the outdoors to permeate the interior. The design of this house was about a family's search for a house that would allow them to live in today's world, to feel free and rooted in the land.

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