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Location: Koolakumbai, Nilgiri District, Tamil Nadu, India
Type: Residential – Houses
Architects: Biome Environmental Solutions
Design team: Chitra Vishwanath, Anurag Tamhankar, Sharath Nayak
Photographs: Vivek Muthuramalingam
Hornbill house, is located at O’land estate, a tea and coffee plantation. The estate is an “end of the road property”, bordering forest lands and commanding spectacular views. The estate had an existing bungalow which needed renovation and the brief called for an additional 8 bungalows to be built on this 135 acre estate which would then be rented out as farm stays. Out of these nine buildings, three have been realized.
In subsequent discussions with the client, we suggested that these bungalows be located over the expanse of the property rather than a close knit development. The idea was to provide privacy to the guests and a new and varied experience to a returning guest. The estate already had motor-able roads and usable footpaths within and therefore these were used to reach the different locations with ease. Thus the building sites were chosen based on the views, easy access to a road or footpath, and terrain.
The Hornbill house is located on an old drying yard sitting on the edge of a waterfall. The house opens onto the views of this water fall, a valley with a backdrop of layers of mountains in different hues of blue of the sky, and green of the tea gardens, thereby integrating each of these views strategically from a different direction from within the house. All the rooms have predominant view of one of these features, while having a glimpse of the rest.
The walls are composite, of stone on the outside and mud bricks on the inside. The exterior stone walls blends with the rock face near to which the building is located and hence rooted to it’s surroundings whereas the inner mud walls provide a feel of warmth and shelter. The striking roof of the villa invokes a sense of flight that one feels while gazing at the views of the valley and hills from within the building.