Farm Houses, and the Fight between Architect’s and the Contractors who build it !

I have designed many farm houses and mostly every time I come across a situation where my contractors try and change the designs , I don’t really know why? One reason is that, contractor’s are after finishing the projects quickly, and they are after getting maximum profits. They are just not concerned about the design aspects of a building, how it looks, what spatial quality it offers. As an architect one thinks of  capturing beautiful vistas that a site offers, one continuously thinks about capturing the immeasurable aspects of life, like the joyous experiences that one achieves after celebrating in a space, or the experience of looking at a mountain, and observing the clouds move by.

Architectural design, and the process of designing spaces is a unique art in itself, it’s not necessary to use expensive materials for creating good spaces, some spaces force it’s inhabitant’s to look inwards, some spaces create a play of light and shadows! Some spaces create an awe factor whereas some spaces, like the spaces that I design are so dam simple that, all they do is to invite the nature into the house. Many a times as architect’s  are forced to do  a compromise, some beautiful spaces, which were present in their original design get completely destroyed!

Consider a case of the house which I designed in Bhor,Maharashtra, where I designed a roof which will come down, to the ground, my idea was to block some vistas, and open certain ones and play with the natural visual frames that the site offered. Terraces and galleries are placed in a manner that they offer beautiful vistas of the surrounding spaces, and very humble, humane scaled roofs would have created a sense of surprise for the entire house. The central space was taller and a mezzanine was placed here, which will allow the clients to have a look, into the surroundings

Basic Sketches of a Vernacular house in Bhor

Poetics, of   Architectural space making, get destroyed by commercial aspects of the execution of the work, and when contractors try to squeeze profits from the work. As usual, we were working in a setting which was located far away from the city. After a discussion with the clients, and contractors we decided to add a room at the central portion.

Although this room offered terrific vistas, and almost takes the person, into the surroundings. Visually the scale of the entire elevation was lost, and the outcome showed visual chaos. The roof which was coming really low, and close to the ground was cropped into something, which didn’t look attractive.

Photograph of the actual design where the roof got cropped.

Adding on to the confusion, the contractor decided to put R.C.C. Chajjas over the windows which added to the visual chaos. Luckily the staircase was built as per the design, and that added some sort of visual comfort, once one enters the house. To add a room on the first floor was a brilliant addition to the original design, as that room really offered great vistas and great views, and during the rainy season, the mist, and the cloudy weather enters the room. One can really sit in the room on the first floor and enjoy the heavy rains with the afternoon tea, and pakodas, so although the room is visually a discomfort, it offered many, advantages, in terms of spatial experiences.

Beautiful vistas and views offered from the first floor room.

As an architect, I learned many things from this project. As an architect, I am now searching for the clients which will support my decision and will build buildings as designed by architects. At the end of the project, I realized that all those design elements like a roof which would come close to the ground at parking, and tall central portion with a mezzanine, which were criticized and rejected as some elements which add on to the cost, would have actually made not a great difference in cost. The design elements would have looked elegant and would have made the house more beautiful and visually elegant. I am a flexible architect, and I do consider the client’s point of view, I am open to the ideas of the clients, as long as these ideas do not make drastic changes in my designs. Finally, as clients have invested in lands, and as they have brought pieces of land offering these beautiful vistas, It’s my duty as an architect, to give good designs to them, clients sometimes misunderstand a discussion, to an argument, and that is really sad. Where the wavelength of an architect and the client matches, where clients are open and ready to understand the point of view of an architect, the things are very different, and one really gets a beautiful, nicely crafted building. So please do call, if you are planning to build a farmhouse for yourself on a beautiful site, with a sizable budget.


Dreamarch Studios

Office Address: First floor, Laxmi Keshev Society,

                        N.C.Kelkar Road, Narayan Peth   Pune 30.

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Farm House or a Second home:

In today’s busy lifestyle, in today’s hectic schedules, one really craves and dies for a second home. A house, a hut, or maybe a place where the micro family, husband, wife, and two children, can get a chance to explore each other. In a typical middle-class family, where father has decided his budget for child’s education, then the EMI’s for his house or his flat in the metro city like Mumbai, Pune, Banglore, Delhi, then comes the EMI’s of the car, and then later if the budget allows he will be investing in a second home. People are mostly tired of long traffic jams, pollution, pressures of the job, and never really get a chance to express themselves or even have a dialogue with family members. In short, people are tired of the hectic life that the city offers, and then they want to have a second home for themselves, which is a farmhouse. Just like a house in quiet Indian villages.

Typically what people want, is a house, which will be very different from their house in the city. They need a house where they can relax and enjoy themselves. So the mothers don’t want to cook and have a kitty party with her friends, the father wants to relax and have a place where he can have beers with his friends. The kids want open space, lush green lawns to play football, or simply want to chill themselves in the swimming pools if the budget of the father allows that. The sites are normally very beautiful sites which offer enormous vistas, of nature, and the surroundings. The job of an architect in such cases becomes very difficult! As he tries to capture these beautiful vistas, provide large windows, and the client tries to reduce the cost, and reduce the size of windows. Generally, no one is interested in building a house which will be modern as a box, as now people want to build a house, which will be like a house in the village, but having all the modern amenities. Some clients demand large terraces, as they are tired of cramped terraces which are mostly wider balconies in apartments of the cities.

 Still, I try my level best to capture beautiful vistas. At times argue with my clients, and convince them about my designs. Then comes the interesting part of the roofs, and as we are building in the remote areas, where one experiences heavy rainfall, roofs should be very carefully designed. The house should sustain the wild, and ruthless nature, and it should stand tall, and should not wash away with heavy rains! Adding to the discomforts of the architects are the so-called contractors which have a very poor experience when it comes to handling materials like R.C.C. or steel or even brickwork for that matter. As an architect, I am forced to make changes to my design, as the people who are going to build the design, must know how to and what to, also one needs to keep costs under control. Still, I am been able to build good buildings, which stand tall, in ruthless natural settings and which do sustain heavy, rains, mud, and heavy erosion of soil. I always tell my clients to plant trees, as trees stop the soil erosion to a great extent.

House offering vistas of Torna, Rajgad, and the Dam, designed for Yathartha Developers.

The large terrace designed in front of the house, as clients demanded a large terrace, tired of cramped terraces offered by builders.

Photograph of the house during construction

As an architect, I made many compromises while making the above house, but, at the end of it, I was happy that I could design and build a house, on a very challenging site. Covering a large terrace meant increasing the area of roofing, and increasing the waterproofing cost of the slab. The slab was constructed by local laborers, and hence it was designed as a very heavy and bold slab. I was extremely worried about the leakages, and I was equally worried about soil erosion. Last year Maharashtra experienced the worst rainfall of last thirty years, and I had my nightmares, but the house sustained these high rains, and stood tall, in ruthless nature. Using exposed laterite stone also meant an increase in cost. But the laterite stone actually creates an illusion of a typical, vernacular, house in a village, and during the summers, the house remains cooler inside. I had suggested a layer of six-inch brickwork internally and a layer of laterite stone externally, but that ideas were rejected by the client, as it would have increased the construction cost. The house offers many interesting vistas, and I had to change my design, and be satisfied with an eight-foot wide door to the terrace and not a wall to wall door for a terrace. To cut the long story short, if the client would have accepted my designs, the house would have become more beautiful and more comfortable during summers. Interestingly looking at this house, other clients came to me and asked me to design their houses.