location: Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India | architect: Vision Associates | principle architects: Prashant Kapadi & Pallavi P. Shinde | design team: Prashant Kapdi; Pallavi P. Shinde; Ketaki Bhosale | artist: Rahul Repe | photography: Evolution Works

India is a vast country, a continent that projects incomparable diversity across-the-board, including resources for built form, and hence, architecture. Local architects practising the contemporary vernacular are fortunate to have witnessed the works of modern greats, such as Le Corbusier and Louis I. Kahn, seen in exceptional buildings. India poses very particular challenges, this due to differing contexts throughout the length and breadth of the country.

How to best exploit a wide expanse of prime land, offering spectacular vistas of Rankala Lake and Shalini Palace? This was the question – and subsequent solution – that enthused and guided the architects of this two-bedroom / entrance hall / living / dining and kitchen penthouse sited in the historically rich city of Kolhapur. The site is virtually on the forefront of the royal Shalini Palace and the penthouse rises from the tenth to the eleventh floor; offering views not only of the Rankala Lake but also a scenic backdrop of the cityscape beyond.

Say the architects: ‘Simplicity, minimalism and functionality were the key aspects of the design. We tried not to overpower the view, emphasis being rather towards a strong minimal aesthetic; as a result keeping the interior grey, with a clutter-free overall signature. The monotony of the neutral grey walls and flooring is interrupted by brick texture with wall washers. Simple metal furniture with clean lines, illuminated with industrial lighting is dramatic, but still manages to project a welcoming environment.’

The entrance lobby houses portraits of various destinations, which illustrate famous tourist spots worldwide; this imparting a homely ambiance of familiarity to travel-aware visitors.

The living area opens up to the terrace and its expansive overview. Here, the colourful partition made up of boxes protruding out into the space provides focus against the grey background. A small bar with a white-washed brick background is a useful adjunct within the living space.

Rustic, metallic lampshades enrich this interior adding to the loft style ambiance. Elegant, modern furniture with upholstery in pastel tones obviates any sense of being overly industrial and balances the interior signature.

The dining space continues from the living area with a wide viewing angle of Rankala Lake. Bedrooms are highlighted with a white brick wall finish lit with wall washers. The unique lighting installation of track lights wash the wall behind the bed. Here, metal furniture finished in black is used. All bedrooms enjoy views to the outside.

The architects add: ‘Overall the interiors of the house are kept neutral, so maintaining the importance of the view. Each one opens to this view through terraces or expansive windows. This successfully integrates the interior and exterior areas, emphasising the visual permeability throughout the space. It has succeeded for the client because it allows the visitor to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings, no matter where they are within the penthouse.’

They add in summary: ‘Enriched with great cultural heritage, Indian architecture has been transformed in many ways, along with socio-economic development and changes in the construction industry globally. Today’s architectural practice in India is influenced with a fusion of contemporary and traditional architecture – following sustainability – and using technology with advanced building materials. Architecture in India has become global, ably showcasing the phase of development it is passing through.’


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