River island: Architecture Brio brings nature flowing into House on a Stream, India
The stream running through a plot in West India’s Alibag largely directed the design solution for this brand new house by Mumbai-based practice Architecture Brio.
The house is a weekend retreat for a professional couple working in Mumbai, whose main residence is a pied-à-terre in the city. While it is made out of sturdy materials such as wood and concrete, it sits delicately onto the landscape. Instead of being carved from a single volume, this structure is composed of several smaller elements, both closed and open (most areas have their own verandas, some open, some covered by pergolas). Additionally, the architects - headed by the firm’s founders Robert Verrijt and Shefali Balwani - designed parts of the house to lift gracefully off the ground, underscoring a sense of lightness.
The structure is arranged across two parts: the day areas, which consist of the dining, kitchen, living room and an outdoors space; and the sleeping quarters that contain the master bedroom, wardrobe and en suite - joined by a small bridge over the stream. The kitchen was designed to sit at the heart of the house, a gesture that reflects the owners’ passion for cooking. A guest room at the end of the day-room complex and a pool complete the composition.
Inside, the house’s rough plank-finished concrete is offset by spacious, minimal white interiors and plenty of rich brown timber-framed openings that include a dramatic, centrally placed skylight over the kitchen space. The rooms’ orientation was determined with the region’s climate in mind. The bedrooms are poised to catch the evening sun, while the large floor-to-ceiling windows carefully frame the green landscape around the house, also offering glimpses of the mountain range in the distance.