Inspired by the childhood summers spent escaping Ahmedabad's tropical heat of under mosquito nets, India's Matharoo Associates created the NET House. A beautiful weekend escape built within a lush site, this construction incorporates the surrounding nature, but with a twist. Thanks to a network of mesh shutters integrated at the building's faces, the design not only pays homage to the machardani nets of the architects' childhood, but provides much needed protection from insects.
With the year-round weather bringing forth everything from a humid monsoon season to scorching summers, the cool breezes of night are sometimes the only relief offered. The exterior of the house addresses the seasons with a transparent network of nets, blinds, and glass panels, which slide, roll and fold to create varying layers of protection and privacy. They can also be manipulated to maximize cross-breezes and daylight, or entirely shut when the monsoon season strikes.
Inside, the floor plan is open, with a concrete slab separating the first and second floors, and a large cabinet structure used as a room divider. But the cabinet is more than meets the eye; hidden inside, the cabinet is the life blood of the house. When opened, a dining table and set of chairs can be folded down and arranged, and levels fold out to create an entire kitchen, complete with microwave, refrigerator, and appliances. An internal entertainment system unfolds to include a TV, speakers and stereo system. Once fully extended, the cabinet can also be used for its intended purpose – to hold clothing and accessories.
The bathing area includes two bathrooms, with plumbing all leading to the all-encompassing cabinet. An outdoor netted area is adjacent, which includes a Jacuzzi, steam bath, sundeck and a bathing pond.
Monsoon water is harvested at the roof and directed in a stream along the spiral staircase, creating the illusion of climbing a waterfall. The rainwater is stored in an underground tank.
The NET house combines a childhood memory with a modern compartmentalized mechanism – much like that of Andrea Zittel. Its open plan makes the residents feel in the midst of nature, but with sheer nets and glass they are well protected from the elements.