This project is a conversation between Architecture and Nature. Set in the middle of a dense forest, the house pivots around a tree with its spaces shifting and stacking around it responding to its immediate context. The idea of the SHIFT-ing Earth stems from its response to its context. Change in context brings about change in the response. Such core contextual parameters were identified and synthesized into an algorithm that can be applied to different contexts producing different outcomes. This process helped us to populate the structures over the site of the township with unique solutions for every individual plot responding to parameters like Sun, Wind and Vista.
We looked into one such plot and explored more in the detail on this idea. All the living and outdoor areas were planned with a water body around them, providing a relief and comfort from the tropical climate. Central tree establishes a dialogue with the context giving origin to force field vectors. The house starts growing by shifting and stacking spaces guided by these geometries. A stone pathway leads through the greens and bridges over the water body at the front of the house leading you to the entrance. A minimal door in corten steel separates the outside from the inside. As one pauses at the entrance waiting, water cascading into the front water body creates almost a therapeutic sound; and it continues to run around the house almost creating a tropic island in the middle of the forest. Enter inside the house and you’re outside! And then you step down to a underground pool area and you find yourself under the open sky again. This house is conceptualized to rethink definitions of spaces. Living spaces overlook the pool area where water from the front of the house pours down into the pool connecting the outside to the inside both in physical and experiential way. Pool area was provided to regulate temperatures due to being partially underground also provides a sense of privacy and comfort. Part of the pool area retains the natural rock found during the excavation process. This creates a perfect setting to submerge oneself in a tranquil experience and lose track of time.
All bedrooms are placed towards SW of the house aligning with the incident wind direction helping to provide cooling & minimizing need for mechanical cooling. Internal courtyard and passages are cooled using air draught received from the dining area opening on the ground floor using passive cooling techniques of open and enclosed spaces provide the habitant to choose their comfort depending on the seasonal weathers. Most of the living spaces open out towards indoor open spaces or offset from the front public spaces, providing a sense of privacy from the outside with the openness of the forest.
Use of rammed earth as core building material promotes sustainable practice. Existing tree used as a pivotal element in the house is an attempt to conserve the existing habitat, minimizing construction impact. Earth excavated from the construction process is rammed into formwork to make the walls that resemble a section of sedimentary rock revealing deposition of time. Oxidizing corten steel panels provide protection to the upper bedrooms directly exposed to weathering factors, while the living areas are opened out to look over the surrounding forest. With and inside out approach core materials used to construct the house bare themselves as the finishing textures.
SHIFT-ing earth is a synthesis of ideas that materialize in form of a house. A house that responds to the aesthetic and environmental context of the site. A space is not an enclosure but it’s an experience. In this case, it is the experience of being in the wilderness and yet feel at home. Architecture here only serves as a frame!! What it frames is more important; Greens of a forest fading slowly into the distance.