Indian based studio PMA madhushala built a new dwelling for the honour and lineage of a family of Maratha sardars, the present heirs, in Maharashtra, India. the family wished for an architectural manifestation on their 1.2 acres of land, standing strong in their ancestral grounds away from the crowds of the city. they wanted a space secure as a fortress for their collective family to create an inward environment that will be independent and self-sustain its existence.
PMA madhushala drew inspiration from the regional house form called ‘gadi’ while attempting to find a link between the traditional understanding and modern-day life. ‘gadi’ is like a small fortress with thick walls secured from outside, with internal courts, balconies, and common areas that create an interesting hierarchy of open, semi-open and enclosed spaces. the building emerges as a timeless entity where architecture is serving the present needs while absorbing traditional understandings.
a thick wall made from stone and brick encompasses the house to provide security. the material and aesthetic characteristics of stone and brick are considered with the traditional understandings while designing the fortress. the walls are built with horizontal bands layered vertically for ease in construction with varied spacing. openings at a lower level in stone are according to the width of the horizontal bands. the amalgamation of both materials is further enhanced with openings made like honeycomb loop structures with brick curves, giving the entire structure a crown-like appearance.
there has been a strong focus on the integration of traditional construction knowledge of the local artisans. respectively, a composite construction methodology has been adopted, with a palette comprising of both natural, local materials as well as modern concrete block technologies. the external thick load-bearing wall has been designed to resist seismic forces and extreme climatic conditions. the internal structure has been built with reinforced concrete blocks for ease of construction and minimization of material usage, to avoid offsets from slabs and walls imparting a modern language of the homogenous and clean interior.
intermediate steps and staircases have been designed with the ‘ferrogami’ method reducing overall weight on the main structure. the internal partitions have been done in lightweight wood or stone. the inner walls have been rendered with traditional lime stucco to bring seamlessness in the flow of activities inside the spaces enhancing the overall interior volume. on the other hand, the external walls celebrate the rawness of the original materials like brick and stone. the structure intends to intensively experiment with the versatility of the materials and was crafted on the site promoting the labour and enhancing their knowledge.
the house is adapted to sustain over generations with passive systems that maintain suitable living conditions inside the house and minimizing energy usage. it is sensitive to its natural environment, is designed and oriented accordingly, and implies maximum use of natural techniques for light, ventilation as well as water and energy conservation. the structure contains wind towers for natural cooling and multiple internal courts with plantation and openings producing negative and positive air pressure zones.
the building consumes energy from photovoltaic solar panels placed upon sloping roofs and parking shed. along with a rainwater harvesting system, proper sewage treatment has been planned which provides water for the kitchen garden. the kitchen garden has the potential to suffice the daily needs of the family for independent living. the house can be regarded as a flow of everyday household activities with a symphony of the traditional and modern built environments with a sustainable and independent living approach.