When nature calls…
Livingetc India|October 2020
When nature calls…
Incredibly soigné interior spaces, large porous courtyards, beautiful landscaping and natural vistas form the four main ingredients of this stunning home, designed by Ar. Tony Joseph of Stapati in Calicut, Kerala
Rupali Sebastian


An open sit-out that functions as a waiting lounge overlooks the sfumato of the green-sheathed landscape to the west, creating a relaxed space to receive guests. The presence of water adds a soothing patina to the environment.


As vertical gardens and landscaped courts, verdure is all-pervasive in this house. Seen here is the family dining space with an open-to-sky courtyard beyond. The flooring here is Volga Blue granite.


The villa is home to a leading entrepreneur who helms one of India’s largest jewellery groups. The sprawling 22,000 sq ft (built-up) space accommodates three generations under one roof.


The two-acre property is located on one of the highest points in Calicut. Enjoying wonderful views all around, the multi-level structure respects the natural topography and comprises a basement (with the entertainment and relaxation zone) and two storeys of living spaces, including six bedrooms, two family living areas and rooms for formal congregations, among others. These are interspersed with courtyards and waterbodies.

Nature. The most ancient form of divinity. Wild. Beautiful. Potent. With a thousand glorious hues and forms. It’s fitting that in Kerala — God’s Own Country — such divinity abounds. And it’s not surprising that Stapati, a design practice rooted in the region, reveres this bounty in the Calicut house belonging to a leading entrepreneur who has enjoyed a long association with the design practice and is deeply appreciative of its contextual approach.

The site — located on one of the city’s highest points and thus blessed with stunning vistas of the lush tropical landscape — certainly offered enough scope for Stapati to exercise their signature style: architecture that is respectful of context and environments that are forward-looking yet entrenched in traditional narratives. This thought was formalised as a string of discrete functionalities housed within linear built spaces and linked by courts and greened areas, crowned with sloping roofs that are an age-old response to the torrential rains the region experiences. “Taking advantage of the slope of the site,” elaborates Stapati’s founder Ar. Tony Joseph, “the main living areas are on a raised level, which allows unhindered views all around, with the parking and service areas placed on the lower levels. This ensures that natural airflow and light are accentuated through the spaces,” he says, adding that the challenge lay in working on such a steep site and ensuring that the design merged with the contours. “But we’ve been careful about the cutting and filling by keeping it to the minimum. The laterite excavated from the site has been used in the building, along with many other local materials,” he points out while speaking on the earth-friendliness of the project.


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October 2020