The Palmyra House is a vacation home in the south of Mumbai that resonates not just for its clean modern look but also for its rich selection of local sustainable materials. Situated on the coast of the Indian Ocean, this handcrafted home was sensitively placed in a coconut grove and much of its structure is made from the materials harvested on site or nearby. The Palmyra House was recently honored as one of 19 shortlisted entries in the 2010 Aga Khan Awards for Architecture — read on to learn how modernism and materials meet to create this enlightened retreat.

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According to Studio Mumbai Architects the superstructure is made from ain wood, a local hardwood, and was constructed using traditional interlocking joinery. They then wrapped the buildings with handmade louvers made of palmyra palm trunk — also a hardy and local tree. The stone foundation, as well as the sand for the plaster was also locally-sourced. Through the amalgamation of appropriate materials the façade is in utter agreement with its surroundings.

With help from the palms overhead and a ocean breeze, the home uses the ancient technique of having an open skin to shed latent heat. An aqueduct weaves though the grounds and ends at a pool between the two offset structures. The interior is austere and refined to provide a calming sense of order.

+ Studio Mumbai Architects