LOCATION: Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India
YEAR: 2023
CLIENT: Mr. Chaman
BUILT AREA: 1750 sq.m
PHOTOGRAPHS: Niveditaa Gupta

Villa Vue is perched atop a sea facing cliff, with distant views of the sea and its surroundings. It hovers above a 640 sqm plot, floating off a base that accommodates a bare functional minimum, allowing the ground and garden to expand and plunge into the villa. ...

The building is embedded into the hill at the lower-ground level, and occupied by an entrance lobby, large parking garage, utilities and staff accommodation. Early form-making exercises involved several iterations to locate the core precisely (comprising a stairway and elevator), both as a structural anchor and sectional pivot; to have the outsides in constant view while users navigate the vertical stack of spaces. In plan, this placement, also allows for maximum flexibility, and opens up all floors to panoramic views of the Bay of Bengal, a perfect daily backdrop for public and private spaces alike.

The compact-upper-ground floor (of 200 sqm at approx. 30% of the plot area) sits above the garage and comprises a private study, gym, guest room, and overlooks a garden. A large part of the garden is in shade under a 7-meter cantilever, that stays dry enough for the family to enjoy right through heavy monsoons, that Visakhapatnam is so prone to. The more elaborate first and second floors (336 sqm and now 52% of the plot area) hold two private lounges, formal living and dining area, kitchen and four bedrooms for the family. The spaces are organised around the core in four structural bays, that forms the tether and counterweight to the cantilever.

The building’s exoskeleton comprises a steel frame suspended from the main concrete shell, and is designed to free up the edges. Large windows span the east, north and a portion of the south to foster an unhindered connection with the outside. These sight cones radiate from within the house, and these imaginary vectors form an ensemble of tapered apertures, balconies and sun-breakers. The building is draped in a neutral palette of glass and grey ceramics (dry-clad), in contrast with a more lustrous choice for the interiors that includes marble, smooth wall textures and stainless steel. This was an intentional distinction that responds to the need for robustness in adverse weather conditions, versus lighter and ‘cooler’ elements for visual and cognitive comfort.
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