Wise Design
Better Interiors|July 2019

The Owl House, designed by its owners architects Sidharth Khatri and Mitali Kedia, sits gently in a forested region near Jaipur, integrating light and nature in the soothing, peaceful spatial experience.

Rupali Sebastian
Creating a home by yourself is always an exciting journey… And when you set about making a second home, the promise of a slice of nature and absolute serenity to be added to the comforts of a home, makes the proposition even better.

Excitement is precisely the emotion architects Sidharth Khatri and Mitali Kedia, founders of young 2017-born practice Delhi Collective, experienced when they visited the site of their family’s vacation home — a plot situated in a wildlife corridor between Sariska Forest and Jhalana Forest, Jaipur. “The site has wonderful views of the Aravalli hills to the west and forest views on all other sides,” Sidharth tells us. “The plot was bought looking at its location and what all it had to offer in terms of its surroundings.”

The brief the young professionals gave themselves while ‘capturing their own emotions in space’, was to create a simple, rustic and budgeted house. “We wanted a home rooted in tradition but forward thinking in design. We are avid nature-lovers and wanted a quiet house within the forest,” they narrate. The concept was to create a simple floor plan that opened up to the landscape while capturing views of its surroundings. The form of the house, says Mitali, was derived from the site. “The site is a skewed rectangle with a narrow front and back. This allowed us to design a linear floor plan leaving offsets from all sides. The overall elevation was a simple extrusion of the plan-form with a play of plaster and paint finishes with stone accents,” says the Master in Urban Design, UCL, London, who is currently pursuing a PhD from Monash University, Melbourne.

The elevation of the house is divided into three parts — the heavy base which sits above the plinth, an offset parapet wall that breaks the vertical massing, and a floating pergola which accents the house. The flat facade is broken by verandah niches on the front and rear with Dholpur stone box windows inset into the east and west walls. The recessed main entrance with its short flight of steps flanked by ledges mimics vernacular haveli entrance design. The elevation, in fact, was instrumental in giving this vacation home its name — Owl House. “I have always seen faces in objects; I look for them, that’s how I relate to them. If I look closely at the front elevation, it resembles two eyes and a beak,” smiles Sidharth, a gold medalist in architecture from Aayojan School of Architecture (Jaipur) and GATE scholar in industrial design from School of Planning and Architecture (New Delhi).

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