Courtyard House by the Water / Studio DesignSeed

Architects: Studio DesignSeed
Area: 2,720 ft²
Year: 2023
Photography: The Space Tracing Company
Manufacturers: Jaquar, Mianzi
Lead Architect: Apeksha Ray
Contractors: Ray Construction Company
Project Managers: Ray Construction Company
Landscape Architects: Studio DesignSeed
Electrical Consultants: Oriental Electricals
Design Team: Abhishek Vanparia, Simran Jandial, Sandhya Maurya
Plumbing Consultants: Krupalu Consultants
City: Vadodara
Country: India

The Riverbank House, a residential project designed by Studio DesignSeed in Vadodara, India, embodies a melodic blend of functionality and aesthetics. This 200,000-square-foot property on the Mahi River serves as a retreat that harmoniously integrates with its lush farmland surroundings, featuring extensive plantations and strategic views of the river. The design progressed from a basic farming structure to a comprehensive two-bedroom home with a pool, all the while maintaining a focus on open, natural spaces.

Courtyard house by the water / studio designseed

Is architecture a part of the landscape or vice versa? This question is central to contextual architecture, which aims to design buildings that extend their environments. This design philosophy considers the environment, culture, and historical context of a building’s location. The goal is to create structures that harmonize with their surroundings and complement the existing landscape and the built environment.

The Riverbank House, located on a 2 lakh square foot or 200,000-square-foot farmland at the edge of the Mahi River in Vadodara, Gujarat, reflects a harmonious blend of functionality and aesthetics. Owned by a couple with a passion for farming, the property boasts a variety of plantations, including guava, teak, castor oil, and dragon fruit. Positioned on a hill, the farmhouse overlooks the riverbank, with neem trees lining the view and providing natural shade and scenic vistas. Each view emphasizes the greenery and the secluded feel of being immersed in nature.

Courtyard house by the water / studio designseed

Originally planned as a traditional space for farming activities and residence, the project evolved into a well-appointed two-bedroom house with a pool. This evolution demonstrates a commitment to not overwhelming the landscape, highlighting the importance of preserving a natural, open environment. Apeksha Ray, the principal architect of Studio DesignSeed, emphasizes, “It is a courtyard with a house and not the other way around.” This approach prioritizes outdoor spaces, making them central to the property for natural light, ventilation, and relaxation. The brick-lined circular form on the wall becomes a focal point, with elements of brick tying the material palette together.

The architectural form aligns with the river, creating a sense of directionality. The raw and organic aesthetic emphasizes natural elements, with materials from the site, such as river pebbles, repurposed creatively in the shower wall adjacent to the pool and the courtyard flooring. Studio DesignSeed emphasizes hand sketching as an essential part of the design process, with digital tools aiding in realizing the final design. This process allows for a unique spatial experience throughout the property.

The house is designed with an open layout at the entrance, with seating facing the courtyard, which divides the house into public areas on the right—living room, dining space, and kitchen pantry—and private areas on the left, including bedrooms and bathrooms. Large bay windows in the living room extend into a semi-outdoor passage overlooking the neem trees and river, merging indoor and outdoor environments. The living room’s Kota stone flooring enhances this integration, while the volume and scale of the built form emphasize the “grounded” feel of the farmhouse. The arched ceiling with brickwork adds character, and the fabricated roofing in outdoor spaces blends with the landscape.

The courtyard’s walls feature a plaster and rice husk finish, reflecting innovative uses of natural materials that complement the earthy color palette throughout the property. The infinity-edge pool in the courtyard provides an uninterrupted view of the lush neem trees, enhancing the visual experience. The master bathroom, positioned to face the river, incorporates green mosaics and terracotta colors, contributing to the cohesive aesthetic. Custom-designed furniture and commissioned artworks showcase the architect’s commitment to craftsmanship.

Overall, the design of the Riverbank House celebrates its natural surroundings and sustainability, emphasizing outdoor spaces and the integration of the building with its environment. This approach not only resonates with the users of the space but also enhances the identity and legacy of the location. The project showcases a commitment to harmony with the natural and historical context, preserving the ecological integrity and beauty of the landscape while celebrating local materials and aesthetics.

Courtyard house by the water / studio designseed
Project Gallery
Project Location

Address: Vadodara, India

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