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.
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.