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Shah Houses

Shah Houses

Brahmanghar, near Pune, India

Built at the edge of a river on agricultural land, the complex is shared by two residences.

Natural basalt stone is chosen as the primary locally available building material and combined with handmade terracotta hollow tubes for vaulted roofs as already used in the Wall House. Apart from their main residences, the site includes collective shared buildings accommodating caretakers’ residences merged within the design of the compound wall in stone masonry and a cylindrical water tank, also in stone masonry.


The residences themselves, are composed of alternative massive construction of stone masonry volumes interspersed with vaulted volumes of space that are visually more transparent, the vaults spanning the spaces between the massive stone masses. The underneath spaces of the vaulted spaces are thus used for the more social spaces such as living and dining areas, while the more private areas are accommodated within the stone walls. This strategy allows the continuous view of the waterfront through the selected axes of the house, from areas located higher up in the sloping terrain.


The ground floor spaces are contoured to hug the sloping site with sequences of steps that cascade along the territory and continue through the house into the immediate exteriors. As a contrast to the natural colours and textures of the key materials of terracotta and basalt stone, coloured oxides on selected plastered surfaces and floors provide the counterpoint of contrast in colours and textures, and complete the soothing environment of a refuge in the natural landscape away from the megacity.

Photos by : Javier Callejas