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© Ariel Huber, Lausanne


Architects: Architecture BRIO Principal Architects : Robert Verrijt, Shefali Balwani Design Team: Robert Verrijt, ShefaliBalwani, Sahil Deshpande, Shuba Shekar, Prajakta Gawde Structural Design: Girish Wadhwa, Vijay K. Patil Landscape Design: Architecture BRIO Contractor: Raj Construction Area: 330 sq.m. Location: Karjat, Maharashtra, India Client: Private Completed: October 2015 Photo Credits : Ariel Huber, Lausanne


adj. 1. Of, inhabiting, or situated on the bank of a river
2. A dweller on the bank of a river
3. Denoting or relating to the legal rights of the owner of land on a riverbank, such as fishing or irrigation

Not a long drive away from Mumbai, a mountainous landscape rises up, called the Western Ghats. From this UNESCO world heritage area, numerous rivers and streams find their way down through an undulating landscape eventually feeding into the Bombay bay.

The Riparian House is placed just below the top of a hillock at the foothills of the Ghats. The top of a vegetated roof merges with the top of the hillock, hiding the house from the approach on the east side. Inside the house one can nevertheless enjoy the views to the north of the Irshalgad hill fortress and towards the west the sunset while the river winds its way across the agricultural fields.

Since the most of the site is steeply sloping with a 1:4 gradient, the vegetated roof gives the house an additional usable area. From the top it seems to be an extension of the natural landscape, enhancing the under-statedness of the house. The green cover serves to keep the house below cool due to its insulative properties.

Along the central axis of the house landscaped steps lead you along a coarsed stone wall towards the pool deck. A second set of steps connects to the main level of the house where the axis culminates via the dining room and kitchen into a light filled courtyard. The experience of being inside the earth is enhanced through the stone boulders which were discovered during the excavation process and retain the earth.

The kitchen occupies a central position along with the open to sky courtyard and is flanked on either side by two bedrooms at the two far ends. These spaces are embedded in the earth with windows brining in ample light from above and the river side.