Project head: TheBusride Design Studio

Alibaug, a couple of hours drive from Bombay, is a town well known for its beaches. Our clients wanted to build a retreat on a one acre site adjacent to their own farm house. The site was quite far from the beach, had no view of it and was adjacent to a residence. There was no ‘natural’ sense of retreat. The site did have an interesting contour and enormous mango trees growing in two clusters, which we decided would determine our design. Since the site was compact, our proposal looked to create a kind of micro-atmosphere composed of small intimate spaces within an intense built landscape. The idea was to make the space seem larger by creating multiple pockets of activity around the site thereby also controlling vistas that would span across the site. Common facilities were organized in a compact linear block at the entry with the individual cottages strewn amongst the mango trees creating cozy, alcove-like spaces all around. The lowest part of the site was walled-in to create a pool which became the central feature to the development in an attempt to compensate for the lack of a beach.

Key Plan indicating location of existing farm house with respect to the site

Site Plan

Local basalt was used as construction material and left exposed in parts to emphasize a ‘local’ character to the retreat and to insulate the house during hot summer months. All roofs harvested water that was stored in a tank at the lowest end of the development. Later options for cottage suites attempt to integrate room and landscape through more intimate encounters. The project remains unbuilt.

An intense built landscape

The design created multiple pockets of activity around the site

The cottages were designed to integrate room and landscape


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