Padvi The Verandah House / PMA madhushala

Padvi The Verandah House / PMA madhushala

Text description provided by the architects. The search for ‘meaning’ crosses paths when everyone with a similar vein fuses to mold creation. Paresh and Samiksha, the clients who are close friends with us, strongly believe in social equality. To encourage the same, they support migrant families of workers involved in ‘ustodi’ (sugarcane cutting) sector of Baramati district, India. Paresh partakes in educating the children, as they lack education opportunities due to the nature of their parents’ occupations. At the same time, Samiksha does counseling for female members and conducts social theatre art. During one of his visits to South Africa, Paresh draws an eye upon a different outlook for providing social service. Absorbing that, the thought of ‘gathering platforms’ for people to express themselves by being one of them prompted him to connect with us. His liberated conduct revealed a design ‘one for all’ alongside the residential hives.

Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Exterior Photography, Windows
Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Image 25 of 29
Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Interior Photography, Brick, Beam
Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Interior Photography, Windows, Arch

‘Samiksha! Let us shift to a village where we shall be closest to our work,’ said Paresh. In no time, they sold their house in the city, heading towards a conventional rural setup near the Baramati sugar factory. Unfortunately, they selected a piece of land that was part of a linearly organized plotting system on flat land with row houses and RCC (Reinforced cement and concrete) construction. A principle that percolated so fast that once an organic settlement with vernacularly built houses and intermediate open spaces facilitating interaction had faded out.

Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Exterior Photography
Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Image 27 of 29
Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Interior Photography, Brick, Arch

‘Paresh…as far as we understand, this land would not be suitable…’ was our suggestion, comprehending the ingenuity of the family to relocate to a setting untouched by the standard stigma of ‘urban edifices.’ This suggests to them a sloping land at the end of the locale with a forest in the backdrop, adorned with trails of water during rains. A transforming lifestyle in a place so serene gave rise to ‘Padvi’- an inviting residential forum.

Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Interior Photography, Arch, Arcade

The primary response to site condition was harnessing surface runoff from a 15’ slope into a catchment area built at the toe of the hill. Resembling a small dam, it instigated the son to ask us, ‘Will I be able to swim with my friends in that?’. Then, a house with water meandering in between the blocks placed elementarily alongside the central axis was envisioned. It resonated with the sight of a precinct at Jogeshwari caves in Ellora. Experientially,a site that can be asserted as an epitome of human creation- harmonious and balanced. These qualities are innately associated with Paresh’s notion of cohesive living.

Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Exterior Photography, Stairs, Brick, Arch, Arcade, Column
Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Image 29 of 29
Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Exterior Photography, Windows, Facade, Arch, Arcade

While shaping the built environment, very colloquial discussions translated into designed spaces. Private bedroom spaces are defined by deriving modules measuring 12’x18’x6’ placed at a height in multiples of 6 inches. These orthogonal niches are inward-looking yet connected, both visually and physically, to adaptable areas of the living room, kitchen, and dining space. The binding spine, characterized by steps flowing in between the enclosed spaces, is used multilingually for social and welfare work by clients, organizing workshops or artist performances, and conducting group discussions. It avails a plinth that becomes seating for the dining and living areas and an elevator to the adjoining rooms. Besides, its mass is carved out to furnish a library and storage facility. The simplicity of arched fenestrations retaining the basic system of skin and structure as one or the stepped floor laid out acting as a stage cum sit-out gives it a bold yet rooted touch. A willingness to keep most of it as a public realm, maintaining the cerebral independence of each one in the family, brought in indistinguishable boundaries that culminated in what Paresh dreamt of – ‘an equitable abode’.

Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Interior Photography, Beam
Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Image 26 of 29
Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Interior Photography, Bedroom, Bed, Windows

Padvi, signifying the passive austere living in parts of rural India, is constructed using local basalt stone masonry. As we mentioned, ‘Well…Paresh thought we shall get local stone at a cheaper rate, but the expense to train local masons in this losing skill of working with Basalt would be quite high…!’ Paresh replied– ‘I am ready to spend more money if it benefits the local people’. This collaborative effort not only built a group of craftsmen who learned stonework but also equipped them to carry on with it in the future. A portion of the load-bearing structure is built using discarded stone quarried from a nearby site, hand-dressed by artisans familiar with basic brickwork and rubble masonry. Integrating upcycled teak wood and IPS (Indian Patent stone) flooring envisages a minimalist approach. It kindled an architectural vocabulary, reviving regional craftsmanship and defying mechanical industrial yield.

Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Exterior Photography
Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Image 28 of 29

 These onsite dynamics led to an intuitive spatial and humanistic correlation. Be it the timely investments (physical or economic), overgrowing the accepted societal norms by Paresh and Samiksha, or an impactful yet humble approach of sculpting a built form as architects, each action was an attempt to make an inclusive residence. It soaked in a distinct sense of what ‘community living’ refers to. Fairly, what comes from within never fails to align, and what aligns undoubtedly ignites. 

Padvi  The Verandah House / PMA madhushala - Exterior Photography

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *