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By Ellie Stathaki
If you are already familiar with Ahmedabad-based Matharoo Associates' work it is immediately evident that this recently completed project is big departure from the practice's usual sculptural concrete work.
Gurjit Matharoo and his team drew inspiration from India's warm climate and the childhood tradition for sleeping outdoors tucked under a simple net held in bamboo poles. Fittingly named Net House, the structure is an amazingly simple box-shaped volume, made out of steel and concrete trellises, which support the frame.
The clients' brief outlined a light-filled retreat on the fringes of Ahmedabad; something that would act as both a safe haven and a place open to the surrounding nature. Due to its peripheral load bearing design, a main 40' x 40' column-free interior was made possible. The distinctive roof structure is held up, also supporting the whole building, through a three-dimensional steel mesh.
The interior is simple and transparent, including dining, kitchen and washroom areas, a living suite, Jacuzzi, steam room and a lily pond, blurring the boundaries between indoors and out. A bespoke, centrally-placed cabinet is one of the few fixed features of the space, while a carefully positioned extra vertical layer of sliding mosquito nets, framed by bamboo panels, adds protection from the tropical sun and allows the space to be separated for air-conditioning if needed.
Balancing privacy, nature, protection and climatic requirements, the Net House is undoubtedly one of Matharoo's most interesting work, adding to their long list of thought-provoking projects, such as their Prathama Blood Centre in Ahmedabad and their innovative Cative Mobile Blood bus.
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