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The Site

Backwaters of Gangapur Dam are reminiscent of an artist’s rendition as the sun paints the panorama in shades of brown, gold and purple. The Panorama House captures these ‘panoramas’ and maximises the experience by means of its built-form, interiors and the landscape.

Conceptualising the built-form: Inspired from Mies Van Der Rohe’s Collage

The process: Photograph the vistas. Sketch and design the space around the photographs in a one-point perspective, the photographs being the focal point. The built-form emerges subsequently.

Study model of the built-form

The built-form is a rectangular see-through ‘boxed’ structure - Open along its longer spans + solid walls enclosed the short side. The solid masses on either side enclose the toilets, kitchens and ducts. The bedrooms are nestled on the extreme ends of the ‘box’. The central space is the living and dining. The cantilever arrests heat loss.

Orienting the structure on site

The structure’s orientation was realigned on site to incorporate the vistas by using the study-model as a frame of reference and scrutinising the panoramas through it.

Exploded axonometric view and site plan

An exploded view of the built-form and its orientation on site to maximise the panorama of the Sahyadris and the Gangapur Dam backwaters.

Ground floor plan

The ground floor is navigated by the steel columns that support the concrete shell above it. It has a single bedroom, kitchen and the swimming-pool.

First floor plan

The first floor encompasses the bedrooms, the living and dining areas.

The building shell

The building shell or box is constructed in 250mm-thick concrete. A mix of black and brown was devised for the pigment concrete the mirror the colour of the natural soil and stones.

The material palette

(1)250mm-thick concrete, (2) Leather finished granite, (3) PU finished Concrete

The column detail

(1)250mm-thick concrete, (2) Leather finished granite, (3) Structural steel L-section, (4) PU finished Concrete

Continuing the natural landscape palette

The grey-brown concrete, leather-finished-granite and wood create a series of textures that metaphor the precinct’s grey-brown landscape. Indigenous vegetation is used to landscape the building.

The Mies and Kahn connect

Inspired by Mies Van Der Rohe’s minimalist principles, the house is a lean, light and open structure married to Kahn’s expression of concrete.

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Workspace 05 Mar 2018

The Panorama House mediates its photographic precinct into its built-form, its interiors and landscape

The backwaters of Gangapur Dam in Nashik evoke an imagery of a gifted artist’s masterstroke. From dusk to dawn, the sun renders the expansive Sahyadris and the backwaters in varying shades of brown, gold and purple. When Architect Ajay Sonar of A for Architecture visited the site he conjured a structure that framed the panorama when perceived from a distance, allowing the user to revel in this panorama from the interiors and even recreated the same panorama by means of landscape.

Capturing the Panorama

Ajay Sonar, principal architect at A for Architecture, deployed Mies Van Der Rohe’s, Collage module of photographing vistas in precinct; the vistas that the structure would overlook. The photograph was used as a focal point wherein the space was sketched around it in a one-point perspective. These sketches led to the layout and built-form. 

The Site

Backwaters of Gangapur Dam are reminiscent of an artist’s rendition as the sun paints the panorama in shades of brown, gold and purple. The Panorama House captures these ‘panoramas’ and maximises the experience by means of its built-form, interiors and the landscape.

Conceptualising the built-form: Inspired from Mies Van Der Rohe’s Collage

The process: Photograph the vistas. Sketch and design the space around the photographs in a one-point perspective, the photographs being the focal point. The built-form emerges subsequently.

Subsequently, a study-model ensued in a rectangular see-through ‘boxed’ structure that was open along its longer spans and solid walls enclosed the short side. Originally designed to accommodate the contours on site, the structure’s orientation was realigned to incorporate the vistas. The new orientation was determined by using the study-model as a frame of reference and scrutinising the panoramas through it. The site was dug further than what was initially intended to fit the altered design. 

Study model of the built-form

The built-form is a rectangular see-through ‘boxed’ structure - Open along its longer spans + solid walls enclosed the short side. The solid masses on either side enclose the toilets, kitchens and ducts. The bedrooms are nestled on the extreme ends of the ‘box’. The central space is the living and dining. The cantilever arrests heat loss.

 
Orienting the structure on site

The structure’s orientation was realigned on site to incorporate the vistas by using the study-model as a frame of reference and scrutinising the panoramas through it.

“The Panorama House appears ‘placed’ and not constructed. At one end, it is tipped weightlessly over landscaped mounds. At its other end, a series of slender columns anchor a robust concrete shell.”

Bringing in the panorama

The building shell or box is constructed in 250mm-thick concrete that rests on steel columns. A mix of black and brown was devised for the pigment concrete the mirror the colour of the natural soil and stones. The ‘browns’ in the ‘grey’ basalt were a result of oxidation. The pigmented concrete shell is expected to undergo similar weathering and complement the precinct. 

Exploded axonometric view and site plan

An exploded view of the built-form and its orientation on site to maximise the panorama of the Sahyadris and the Gangapur Dam backwaters.

 
Ground floor plan

The ground floor is navigated by the steel columns that support the concrete shell above it. It has a single bedroom, kitchen and the swimming-pool.

First floor plan

The first floor encompasses the bedrooms, the living and dining areas.

Ajay supervised the casting process to prevent any irregularities from developing on the concrete. As a result, the walls and roof slab were constructed sans plastering, in order  to achieve a seamless finish. The concrete floor was given a Polyurethane (PU) treatment that imparted a glossy finish, akin to grey marble, but sans the joints.

The building shell

The building shell or box is constructed in 250mm-thick concrete. A mix of black and brown was devised for the pigment concrete the mirror the colour of the natural soil and stones.

 

To maintain the openness at the longer span, the roof slab is supported on columns contrived from structural steel ‘L’ sections. 4 L-sections are fitted with metal washers at 450mm centre-to-centre distance to make a single column. A 12mm gap is maintained in the centre that reduces bulk. It imparts a see-through quality to the columns and supplements the structure’s inherent character. 

The material palette

(1)250mm-thick concrete, (2) Leather finished granite, (3) PU finished Concrete

The column detail

(1)250mm-thick concrete, (2) Leather finished granite, (3) Structural steel L-section, (4) PU finished Concrete

“The grey-brown concrete, leather-finished-granite and wood create a series of natural textures in descending order of ruggedness.”

Retaining the panorama indoors

A palette of wood and leather-finished-granite continue this narrative. The granite is clad on internal partition walls; the swimming pool and its deck; and the external steps. Leather-finished-granite is low-maintenance owing to its grainy-matte surface that does not register blemishes or stains. It offsets the teakwood furniture that is polished in melamine. All furniture was crafted at site.

The grey-brown concrete, leather-finished-granite and wood create a series of natural textures in descending order of ruggedness.

Continuing the natural landscape palette

The grey-brown concrete, leather-finished-granite and wood create a series of textures that metaphor the precinct’s grey-brown landscape. Indigenous vegetation is used to landscape the building.

The same is metaphoric to the mountain, stone and vegetation in the precinct. The landscape vegetation uses indigenous plant species. Sloping mounds are incorporated in the landscape to recreate the Sahyadri ranges’ profile. The mounds were built from soil found on site based on their ‘repose angle’. Angle of repose is the steepest angle at which a sloping surface formed of loose material is stable.

Keeping it unobtrusive but keeping it cool

The Sahyadris receive harsh sunlight. This, coupled with sliding-glass openings can increase the heat-gain of the building. The 2.6meter overhang on either side cools the air as it enters the building. The overhang also endows a breathing space, an unboxed demeanour. It aids the intent of creating a non-obstructive frame to assimilate the experience of the panorama. 

The Mies and Kahn connect

Inspired by Mies Van Der Rohe’s minimalist principles, the house is a lean, light and open structure married to Kahn’s expression of concrete.

When Mies Van Der Rohe met Louis Kahn

The Panorama House appears ‘placed’ and not constructed. At one end, it is tipped weightlessly over landscaped mounds. At its other end, a series of slender columns anchor a robust concrete shell. Inspired by Mies Van Der Rohe’s minimalist principles, Ajay Sonar seems to have conjured a lean, light and open structure to do justice to the precinct, and married it to Kahn’s expression of concrete. And let them revel in the sun-kissed Sahyadris! 

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