The objective was to design a retreat house for a retired couple in their ancestral village somewhere along the eastern coast of Andhra Pradesh—some 20 km from the coast.

The main challenge of the project was to create a house that blends in the middle of a village with some of its homes dating back to the late 19th century. Though the village stopped growing since Independence, it exhibits remarkable consistency in terms of how the houses were carved out of larger walled compounds. None of the houses open to the narrow streets directly; instead, they connect to the open spaces they demarcate within the compound. The volumes exhibit a definite geometry with scope for additive growth without losing their relationship with open space.

With the objective to retain this spatial quality, the house is conceived as a series of enclosed rooms, some open to the sky and some roofed, and the building exhibits a clear hierarchy through scale depending on their intended use.

The houses in the village seem to be well preserved in spite of the hot and humid climate. The houses have mud walls with lighter roofing. Keeping this in mind, we propose to use exposed brick as a principal material with wood as the secondary material.

These two materials define the expression of the project.

18: The Retreat House, 2016-19
18: The Retreat House, 2016-19 © Studio MADe