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Home In Kotagiri

Location: Kotada, Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu

Area: 1982 sq.ft.

A retreat for a couple residing in Chennai, the home in Kotagiri has two bedrooms, attached bathrooms, and an open living, kitchen, and dining space. In use for two to four months a year, the home is a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, drawing them closer to nature by growing their food, spotting birds, and gardening, and eventually turning the home into a permanent one, to work out of, spend time living slowly, and entertain close friends and family.

The first response to the site was to plan a house that shaped itself as per the lay of the land and not be in conflict with what naturally existed. A revetment (retaining wall) standing 14 ft tall was built in the shape of the contours surveyed, giving rise to an obtuse 'V' profile. A bold and guiding spine to the shape and organisation of the house was created.

The second response was to offer long lines of sight, and a circulation that attempted to mimic natural movement on site which finally decided the orientation of the staircase. The larger and flatter terrain on site is where the living, dining, and kitchen are currently located, with the adjacent area dedicated to the master bedroom.

A coherence began to emerge between the spaces and the vast vistas they opened towards. This gave rise to a 'shelter' that guides one's gaze and focuses on the natural features on site, not a space enclosed by edges and forced views.

The third response, which tied the form and the land together, was to provide two floors. The lower level sits underneath the living room, used as another bedroom or a studio, and offers a panoramic view of the trees rolling down into the valley, creating a more intimate experience of the beauty on site.

The fourth and final response is to shroud pockets of open spaces around the site with native flora and trees that bear fruit for local wildlife, big and small. The vision was to embed the house in its environment offering a quiet observatory to the natural life that passes through the site.

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