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.


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