Zama Villas, Goa

The center of the site is low lying, usually filling up during the monsoons. The site strategy involved re-grading, so the levels are inverted and the monsoon water collects along the edge of the site, and the houses are in the elevated center of the site.

The linear site organization meant that the houses are organized in a linear fashion staggered along a central street, creating pockets of community spaces and varying vistas. Each house is planned such that the common programs like the living and dining areas opened into the shared space of the street. The entire ground floor is a transition between the public street, the semi-private living/dining room and the private back yard. The private programs like the bedrooms are on the upper floors and open into their own private courtyard for light and ventilation. 

Formally, the houses are stepped back from the face that opens into the communal street to create a broader cone of vision, making the villas less imposing and the street more open to the sky. 


Photo credits: Suryan and Dang


Vana Villa

1:10 sloping site is typical of historic land parcels that stretch from access road to the fields or water bodies at the other end. We limited the number of units being planned and further prompted splitting up each unit as mass to allow for existing trees on our site to survive. Each unit differs slightly from the other in its response to adjust to the presence of the trees. The individual units are planned lengthwise to allow for all to have views into the magnificent forest on the adjacent site. The arrival sequence takes you from the access road along an opaque building mass through an entry stairway onto a high plinth at which point the views into the forest are revealed. The living, dining programs are clustered around a courtyard on the first level and bedrooms on the upper.

Completion Year: 2016

Photo credits: Suryan and Dang


Fort House, Hyderabad

The primary program brief from the couple who owned the house was a desire to build a house that was to be their fortress from the cacophony of the world outside, while creating a sizable space to be used frequently for entertaining friends and guests. Referencing forts as a primer the formal development of the project attempts to balance a need for privacy/protection from the outside while developing layered and tiered open spaces for social engagement. The Golconda fort (built in the 15th century) about 15 kms from our site. Privacy Scale: Our first effort was to distance the notion of privacy from that of scale. Formally the boundary wall becomes part of the three parallel limestone clad wall set that configure program between them and ascend in height as they gain distance from the street scaling the house down to human proportions. Wearing the Courtyard Inside Out: This need for privacy and climatic sheltering on the south side street (to mitigate the harsh southern sun) creates a largely impervious facade. The solidity of this construct is completely obliterated once inside the house by sectional overlapping and linked multilevel a hybrid courtyard that is both internalised and external and hence becomes a container for the massive entertainment space required by the client. This void/court cuts the through the sectional width of the house becoming a programmatic connect for the independently accessible strands of private (family) and public (work entertainment) spaces that intersect in the physical centre of the house. The structure of the house is designed as three parallel loops of sheer concrete walls, which are coupled with pre-tensioned flat slabs to realize the seamless section that structures the void/court and its massive spans.

MEP Consultant: R.N. Joshi

Structural Consultant: Facet

Completion Year: 2014

Other participants(collaborators, consultants, etc): Mythili Shetty, Viresh Mhatre, Harsha Nalwaya, Aanoshka Choksi

Photo credits: Edmund Sumner


House of Multiple Courts

The House of Multiple Courts is located in a settlement within the midst of a serene littoral landscape adjacent to lush paddy fields. The house is built with solid load bearing laterite stone blocks that form three sides of the house with a laterite and wooden colonnade on the fourth wall facing the north with views to the river.  The sold laterite stone block walls manifesting as simple opaque walls, porous screens and structural corbels depending upon the program they enclose.

The interior programs of the house pivot around a series of courts the first of which is an entrance designed through the water court designed around a restored existing well found on site. The sequence of courtyard experience are scaled to respond to varying degrees of common & private programs. An open to sky central courtyard ties the whole house leading to programs of the living room, dining space eventually to the pool overlooking the riverine landscape.

The bedrooms open into smaller, more intimate courtyards with their roofs modulated to cascade rainwater into these landscaped courts. The architecture of the house at Nachinola is hence a device for framing the horizontal scale of the riverine landscape beyond and conversely captures a scaled version of the landscape within the house.

Project Facts

Location: Nachinola, Goa
Area: 500 m²
Status: Completed
Photographs:Ahilia Homes
Manufacturers:  Accoya, AutoDesk, AGC, Robert McNeel & Associates, Tata Steel, Ultratech
Structural Consultant: Rajeev Shah
MEP Consultant: MEPtek consultants
Interior Design & Styling: Tarun Tahiliani Homes



Manuallaya Resort, Himachal Pradesh

The Manuallaya Resort was conceptualized on an urge to link site conditions to ecological and cultural contexts by use of materials and formal compositions. 

The design process was catalyzed through negotiation between traditional craft, and local material modernity. To mitigate threats from Earthquakes, local materials and techniques of horizontal timber members within load-bearing masonry walls were incorporated while low-cost solutions of waste slate chips from quarries re-enforced with rebar were used to articulate structural and nonstructural elements.

The refurbished guest rooms were supplemented with new balconies tucked under skewed pitched roofs orienting guests towards the Himalayan panorama. The forms of fixtures like bathtubs and washbasins echo local detailing of sunken bathing ponds in the nearby Vashisht temple and its specific gargoyle features as a conduit for water.

Project Facts 

Project: Manuallaya Resort

Location:Himachal Pradesh

Area:24280 Sq.Mt.

Status: Completed


Aatam Hostel at Kota


Aatam Hostel has a residential program mix, containing hostels rooms for students along with a residence for the family that owns the plot. Six years in the making, the project is located in the dry and hot climate of Kota, Rajasthan. The town of Kota in Northern India is a coaching hub for training students to take entrance exams to study at the coveted IIT engineering colleges in India. Every year around 200,000 students move to Kota spending a minimum of a year at coaching classes living in private hostels specifically made for student housing in the town.




The economy of the Kota is driven by this temporal population. For the IIT aspirant Kota occupies center stage, so much so, that it spawned a popular OTT show which highlights the travails and tribulations of student aspirants living there. While the coaching centers are as state of the art as any other such educational institute in the country, student housing is neglected and devoid of much thinking. Natural Light, ventilation social spaces are mostly absent. There is a high risk of failure in getting through the IIT exams which when coupled with the severity or lack of sympathetic living spaces can be psychologically oppressive. The Kota hostel is a small beginning in reimagining student living in the town. 

Working with elements of the traditional haveli ( Rajasthan house form) like vertically proportioned courtyards, Jharokhas ( look out balconies) and stone Jali’s ( perforated screens) the project is a remaking of the haveli form suited to the programmatic needs of the students. In stark contrast to the surrounding row house types which together form an impervious wall to the street, the Kota hostel opens up, animating the street with views of the courtyard and then to the playground beyond the plot. The combination of social space of terraces and courtyards creates a wind tunnel enabling breeze to flow through the building. The open to sky courtyard is spanned above by a bridge that connects the two arms of the residential unit for the owners. The building structures through the section multiple stepped erraces of shaded social spaces for the students to creates a visual connect across the other levels as well as with the street and the courtyard. 




Photography: Suryan//Dang & Kunal Sharma


Sienna Apartments at Hyderabad

The site for a small apartment building located in the Jubilee Hills checkpost area of Hyderabad city offered vantage views of the city and of the adjoining park. Hyderabad is one of the early movers amongst cities in India that used form based coding to structure the construction of new buildings. The client approached us to work on the building post obtaining municipal approvals for the extent of the building envelope.

While working with approved building envelope extents we re-planned the floor layout so that the two apartment units on each floor were cross-ventilated through terraces and balconies on adjoining faces of each unit.

The second point of intervention was the building skin comprising of walls and horizontal sun protection. Working with master brick masons from Pondicherry, in southern India we designed a wall system made from 9-inch-thick brick walls that corbelled to carry the load of stone faced lintels/chajjas. Glass bay windows are recessed, set in to the openings formed by the corbelled brick work and the cantilevered stone faced lintels.

To ensure the structural integrity of the wall corbelling, wooden templates were designed for the masons to work with. So, while the project is visually defined by these corbelled walls, the systemic potential of the project is from the design of these simple low-tech wooden templates that allow for the corbelling to happen with accuracy. The project through its development of tools and construction processes looks to further the expertise of the craftsman and help in evolving the extent of their craft.

Project Facts
Name: Sienna Apartments

Client: Jagdish & Srinivas Idupuganti
Location: Hyderabad, Telangana, India.
Area: 20,000 sq feet
Year of Completion : 2018
Architects: Sameep Padora & Associates

Design Team: Mythili Shetty, Vami Sheth, Aparna Dhareshwar, Diane Athiade Material:
Brick: Uma Brick Mangalore
Lintel: Sadar Ali Granite
Windows: Technal Windows
Photographs: Vivek Eadara


JSW Odisha, Township Project

Project Facts –

Client: JSW Cement

Area: for a small township for 600 people in the industrial belt of Jharsuguda Orissa,

Architects: Sameep Padora & Associates

Design Team: Sakshi Gulati, Sadhvi Vanjare, Raj Kachalia, Vami Sheth, Aparna Dhareshwar

Project Description: 

Industrial township housing often referred to as housing colonies, carries with that etymology a typical hierarchical spatial segregation. Choosing to build only in open pockets of a verdant site the built form, articulated at the edge allows us to create a continuous green central community space erasing hierarchies of user groups and class. The site is planned with common programs of the sports facility, market, etc., at the center of the community space. Roads are kept peripheral to enable the entire township as pedestrian and car-free. The landscape strategy retains the verdant forest landscape as a contiguous buffer enveloping the built form while retaining all embedded ecological networks. Check dams on this partially contoured site are planned as a landscape strategy to retain surface runoff recharging groundwater.

The scale of the housing is maintained as G+3 at maximum retaining a connection with the landscape. Load-bearing cyclopean masonry using locally sourced rubble is the primary building block for the project.


UDAAN-Housing Project at Karjat, Mumbai


Escalating land prices in Mumbai is forcing out the families that serve the privileged classes. The domestic help, drivers, sweepers, peons etc are the invisible cogs that daily ensure smooth running of the city. Currently they are being dis-housed from their decades old housing, since this has caught the eye of developers; and they are forced to relocate further from their primary sources of income. Currently, this segment forms 50-60 % of the urban population of Mumbai. The commute between home and work thus becomes a critical factor in site selection. If this isn’t handled adequately (eg, the commute is a 2hr+ journey each way), the new homes get rented out and the people return to squat closer to their places of work.

The issue at hand is to provide:

I. well connected

II. low-cost 

III. mass housing

IV. matching growing aspirations 

for the large service sector population. This should also have the capacity to grow incrementally as these new settlements grow in popularity. 

Thus, for site selection, connectivity to public transport networks becomes a critical factor. If such land parcels, which have clear

records, can be identified, procured and ear marked, the entire project can develop in tandem with the MRTS network.

The Solution: 

The solution is multi-pronged-

A. Site- Well connected, adequately sized to upscale

B. Execution/Technology- Precast concrete modules/wet pods serving as structural elements 

But most critically,

C. Design- a modular, but non-repetitive scheme, with a mix of 1 Room Kitchen (RK) and 1 Bedroom Kitchen (BHK), which can be combined to form permutations suiting the fluid requirements of users, with a minimum area of 300sq.ft as mandated.

Community spaces like a ration shop, crèche, a gym, a gathering space that have been built into the design to foster a sense of community.

The Site: 

A 19770 plot is within 10 minutes walking distance from Bhivpuri station, Karjat. This is on the Central railway route between Neral and Karjat. It is also connected to NH4 and has road links to both Panvel/Navi Mumbai and Badlapur/Thane.

The FSI for this area is 1.2

The Design: 

The approach explores the flexibility available in clever repetition of a module. The project, being precast pods, can be executed with speed and allows for a number of units that can be configured to suit individual requirements of space for individual families over time.

At the same time, rather than consolidating the 10% amenity into the de-facto club house disconnected from daily use, the design integrated it as a series of dispersed common social programs throughout the building. Since residents would pass by these on a regular day to day basis, the chance of these being maintained well were also much higher.

Being a low-rise building the users experience a closer connection to the ground.

Total BUA proposed: 19080

Total Units proposed (assuming 300 sq.ft): 522

Phase wise allocation:

Phase 1: 255

Phase 2: 267

Unit Design- Many iterations to the 300 sq.ft unit finally led to a module that served the requirements of a low income, yet upwardly mobile family. 

Learning from the research into indigenous housing typologies, for migrant workers in Mumbai, led to four variant designs based on the same grid. Each satisfied the requirements of a particular type of family. 

A. 1 RK

B. 1 BHK

C. Mezzanine Unit

D. Mixed Unit

All the unit types are clubbed together in the same building, allowing a mix of user groups and creating a richer social fabric. All units have an identical width of 3.6mt (approx 12ft) which is generated by the Wet Pod requirements 3.6×1.5m. 

Climatic considerations: 

Based on extensive studies of housing typologies in Mumbai, with its humid climate, the most effective way to ensure comfort conditions is by providing cross ventilation as far as possible. The design addresses this by using the staggered corridors to have cross ventilation through each unit and vertically ventilate the community/corridor areas by staggering the corridors and generating a stack effect cooling through the sloping roof over the circulation zone.  


The idea of scalability works at many levels here. There is already preset 4 typologies that can be selected depending on the current needs of each family, using the same module width of 3.6m

The individual unit is scalable by joining adjacent units when the family scales up in size and economics. The precast building technology ensures that the building phases can be scaled up with minimum disruption to the existing structure.



Feasibility and Speed of Construction: 

The design is modular. The Wet Pods also act as structural, precast, loadbearing modules between which the slabs are spanned and eliminate the need for extra columns and beams. Since part of the building module is fabricated off-site and simply put into place on site, the actual time taken for construction is much less than a conventional RCC framed one both in terms of time and labour involved. Different techniques of precast technology were explored before settling for the load bearing, precast pod system. Through this method, we are able to build upto G+4 in 21 days as opposed to casting one slab in 21 days using conventional RCC frame construction.

The precast method of construction also has the potential for production at an industrial scale with integrated basic services.


Mohameddi Park Housing Competition

In this competition, the plots under consideration were separated by a thoroughfare, and the Mosques were to be the anchor points of this community development. After various iterations of grid planning, street development, row house development, etc., we settled upon a mixed cluster development plan.

Climatically, shaded pathways provided maximum benefit to the community as they went through their daily activities, to the mosque and back many times a day and thus became the cornerstone of the mixed cluster development plan.

The peripheral main road or highways led off onto vehicular accesses which were situated at the rear of each plot, and were mostly shaded by an apartment typology that straddled the road. Other accesses were the pedestrian-only streets and green pathways, punctuated by the square and the plaza which were scaled up open areas for community interaction and gathering.

The community facilities and amenities were organised strategically on the junction of inner roads so they would serve clusters well. The Bohri community is known for their community-centric approach, and this was emulated in all aspects of this design – from the street level to the amenities.

The housing typology was a kit of parts with its internal courtyard irrespective of the house size; the main programs were aligned around this core, depending on how the rooms needed to be oriented based on their religious beliefs.

The typical narrow pointed arch was made performative, with the face peeling up to form the base of a balcony in some places, and as a privacy screen in others. The language of the architecture was made identifiable by this module, which found its way in at many different scales.

The sustainability strategy ensured enough grey water recycling to maintain the proposed green cover, which is not usually seen in this weather, but is beneficial nonetheless.

In all, the scheme proposed was responsive to the climate and the community equally.

Drawings – 

Model View –