Moving Landscapes is inspired by the fossilized landscape in stone that appears on the polished surface of a marble called Bidaser Forest, a tableau itself juxtaposed with the roughness of the arid tropical dustbowl of Ahmedabad. Ideas of laying, self-referentiality and illusion translate in to a shell with differing degrees of enclosures: Enclosures that can be employed at will whenever desired and dissolved when not.
Situated just beyond the western-most section of the city of Ahmedabads ring-road, Moving Landscapes accommodates one of the citys most prolific real-estate developers, his wife and his two sons families and the extended visiting members. The client also shares the grounds with his two other brothers houses and their joint families.
Found on a large, already developed and secure plot, the plan can be interpreted as a linear pavilion, ensuring that every space in the house is lined with glass, the first layer of enclosure, on facing sides. As such, three equal linear wings are oriented around the margins of the site so as to preserve the trees that already exist there. Those at the flanks hold the houses private spaces as a central one falls between them to host the living space and complete a footprint that, as a bonus, defines a naturally sheltered cloister at the heart of the site.
The two flank blocks are deliberately shifted away from the central one to form two natural courtyard spaces open to the sky. With each snugly protected from the sites external aspect by a tall wall that arcs around to interrupt any views in, one cradles all the houses utility spaces while the other acts as a private court distant from the joint familys gaze.
The entire house is then wrapped by a monolithic 4.5m tall 450mm thick stone wall. Akin to an amethysts hard exterior cracking open to reveal its crystalline heart, at the push of a button this imposingly heavy stone wall cracks as it becomes an array of panels spinning gently about their centers or sliding away to reveal a transparent cocooned interior.
With their wild marbling resonating with the harshest aspects of nature, in motion these walls intermingle with the wild landscape outside and the glass inside to sometimes allow a glimpse of the outdoors, sometimes reflect it and sometimes reflecting themselves. It is in this layering of space and screen that the houses entire envelope becomes an interface to mediate between the artifice of the inside and the verdant site outside.
The houses environs look deep inside this interior, as the house merges into an illusion of landscapes constantly moving that we sometimes catch ourselves reflecting amongst, reflecting on the nature both within us and outside of us. Finally the epitome of this experience is to be found at the entrance to the house, whereupon all these reflections find the surface of water to make the landscape a moving one.
Text: Robert Taylor