Shrouded by chickoo trees, the Nirmal Farmhouse in Bharuch by Dipen Gada effortlessly mitigates the boundary between indoors and outdoors by submitting to what nature has to offer
FEB 13, 2023 | By Twinkle Tolani
The journey of this residence sitting gracefully on cosmic proportions of an 8 lakh sq ft farmland in Bharuch, Gujarat, first commenced in the imaginative mood board of Dipen Gada, the spearhead at Dipen Gada & Associates. Rewind a few years ago, his visit here for a karaoke party hosted by his client-turned-cohort took shape of a purpose to build a dwelling and an extended lifestyle, sewn astutely with the nature, precisely the chickoo trees! Fast forward a few years, the duo stood overlooking that very site, where a twinkle-eyed Dipen said to him, “If you want to design a weekend house, the chickoo plantation area is the best. The trees, here, could be cuddled. Rather, they could cuddle you!”
In hindsight, maybe it was the homeowner’s confidence in Dipen, their shared passion for nature or the architect’s compelling description of a semi-permeable home. But now that the Nirmal Farmhouse, nestled amongst 30 chickoo trees is a reality, the family seems to have forgotten it is just a weekend home. And who can blame them? Dipen’s adoration for nature and his skill to meld architecture with its surroundings resulted in thoughtfully designed spaces.
The linear form of the home, wrapped in exposed brick with metal columns and beams, alongside a modern rustic aesthetic, is a welcome disruption amongst the billowing trees. Dipen reveals, “The material selection reflects the understanding of the colours of nature—terracotta, moss green and grey, that I also refer to as mother colours. It is so that the house looks like a part of nature and not alien from it.” True to his intention, nature continued to be the muse, seeping through every crevice in the home. While the house’s core is an open-to-sky courtyard with a chickoo tree, decks connecting to the outdoor garden encircle the premise like a verandah.
The sizeable spaces, achieved due to a metal tube structural system, are brightened by the dulcet sunshine from the openings and decks on the northern facade. A case in point is the living room to the right of the courtyard, which is flush with natural light. Abutting the living room is a semi-open recreational area protected by the cantilever provided by the rooms above, facing the southwest direction. A jungle-themed, openable perforated metal screen guards this semi-open space.
The screen was not part of the original design, and only after the family insisted on a barrier to control animal intrusions was it introduced. Serendipitously, it is now one of the crowning features in the home and is symbolic of the mutual contribution of both the family and the design team to the project.Another stellar intervention is the dining area and outdoor kitchen located near the courtyard
On the first floor, the primary bedroom attached to a terrace and an infinity swimming pool depicts what luxury looks like when canoodled by lush greens. The guest bedroom and home theatre too have access to uninterrupted vistas via terraces. The overall design and intent of the home are typical of Dipen’s core values as an architect. Addressing the influence of modern architecture in his work, he states, “Tadao Ando’s work in concrete and Geoffery Bawa’s talent to blend nature in modernism and minimalism left a great impression on me.
However, in the context of our country, I think it is imperative to leave behind material and colour palettes that are not our native and embrace our innate Indianness. Lately, the concept of sahaj has also influenced my designs.” ‘Sahaj’ is a Gujarati term that means effortless, and judging by how Dipen has crafted this home amongst dense chickoo plantations, with minimum interference, look easy, it is safe to say he has sahaj-ly aced it.