COME ALIVE
Grazia|January 2021
A handful of creative individuals are showing that it is possible to preserve architecture by modernising properties with local aesthetics
CHANDREYI BANDYOPADHYAY

A chance meeting connected Nicholau Dsouza and architect Joydeep Mondal in Goa, in September 2020. The story unfolded as they came together to restore the first floor of a 156-year-old Goan home into a contemporary homestay, while retaining the ancestral Tipri home where Nicholau’s mother currently lives. Now known as Quarto da Lua, the heritage house in Grande Morod, Saligao has seen a new lease of life as its residents decided to look after the house through a new lens.

Restorative design and heritage hospitality have been growing synchronously in India, with more and more families or individuals who are passionate about preserving the history and charm of ancestral worn-down homes coming forward and getting involved in what seems like a long-drawn and tedious process.

In fact, Goa has become a hotbed for restorative design. Over the years, a number of native residents have taken an interest in redoing their homes while keeping the soul intact, yet fitting these properties with modern comforts and amenities. Cancio’s House, a 400-year-old heritage property in Aldona (a quiet village in North Goa), is now run as a homestay by its owners, Roberto and Raquel. Their family has owned the house from pre-Portuguese times. Roberto says it is one of the first seven houses in Aldona, adding that it used to be a “safe house” in its heyday.

Goan homes face several challenges from the elements and require regular maintenance. According to architect Joydeep, “It is a completely different environment, where every single item you touch in an old home forms part of a story. It is possible to raise interest in restoration, keeping it eco-conscious with local materials and not making too many changes unless the structure demands it. Regenerative design is all about making use of what is already there and finding a better use for it and in the process upcycling elements and staying conscious of the design impact. With collective understanding and dialogues around the subject, we can achieve thoughtful spaces and homes, with minimal impact on its surroundings.”

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