Located in the coastal town of Alibaug, near Mumbai, the House of Concrete Experiments is a residential project. The home was built for a client who attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology and showed a willingness to experiment with the designs presented by Lead Architect Samira Rathod.
Set on the foothills of Deotalai in Zirad, the home and the owner speak to nature through the surroundings, including a mango orchard. In fact, the home was built around the existing trees and plants in order to avoid removing them. This natural footprint guided the finished footprint of the house.
The surrounding landscape also provided a natural dip in the land. It was converted into a sunken courtyard in front of the house. Trees surround the home, blurring the lines between outdoors and indoors. Inside, the home embraces a minimalist design, only placing walls where structurally required. The space otherwise resembles a studio, with a single bedroom for the occupants and two more bedrooms for guests in a second structure outside the home.
Furthermore, concrete is used throughout the home. Concrete was poured to a thickness of 450 millimeters to 1000 millimeters for sound buffering and insulation that keeps the space cool. An ancient-style active system uses the thick walls to transport air around the home via small ducts carved into the concrete. Additional passive design elements such as cantilevered overhangs provide shading.
Moreover, the concrete for the home incorporates a variety of recycled materials as aggregate for the mix. These include stone chips, broken bricks and large pieces of waste stone. This is where the experiment came in with varying finished textures throughout the space, including debris cast concrete, waterjet concrete and form finish concrete with pigments. For example, the guest portion of the home is embellished with pinkish blue concrete, tinted by brick powder. Similarly, the floors are formed from recycled stone pieces cast in concrete terrazzo. Additionally, black kadappa, white marble and pink marble are all used to contribute to the floor’s design. With the main home cast in concrete, skylights and windows were used to flood the space with natural light.
According to a press release, “The House of Concrete Experiments is in fact an experiment in all its aspects, its planning, construction, structural design, material usage, the play of light and shadow and its services.”
Photography by Niveditaa Gupta