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Mumbai Artist Retreat is a rural retreat for artists wanting to work in nature while keeping the city skyline in sight, with a view of Mumbai’s metropolitan centre from across the sea.

In light of the fact of increasing sea levels, a question arises as to how do you cope with densification and population growth in these areas? Coastal locations are frequently appealing from the standpoint of livelihood or favourable environmental circumstances.

Photo by Randhir Singh

It is therefore critical for architects to assess when building work is required since it provides resilience in the face of an uncertain future.

It should also use construction methods and materials that have a low impact on the vulnerable ecosystems.

In this regard, the Mumbai Artist Retreat, located on the other side of the Mumbai Bay, is typical. Because it is difficult to reach, it retains its rural, agricultural flavour. In contrast to the rest of Mumbai, it still has some sort of beach to speak about.

It acts like a refuge from the global metropole’s severe physical and psychological demands. It does, however, seem connected to the city because of the Mumbai skyline over the water.

The project, which was designed and built by architects adjacent to the sea in Mumbai Bay, is an attempt by Architecture Brio to combine the allure of living by the water with the threat of climate change.

A low-lying coconut palm farm near a beach was chosen as the site.

It suffers from salty ground water in the summer months due to a declining ground water table. A water collecting pond in the centre of the property recharges the ground water table with sweet water in order to refill the ground water table.

Furthermore, the pond attracts a large number of fish and birds. The site’s programming was defined by the architects into three zones that run the length of the property: a temporary residential zone, a workplace zone, and a long-term residential zone. To accommodate these operations, the proposal offers a series of temporary buildings.

The buildings comprise of long- and short-term artist housing, a canteen, and a flexible, central area for workshops and other resident activities. The workshop is the focal point of the design.

Photo by Randhir Singh

It is separated into two adjacent volumes with interiors that may be left open and flowing or converted to different functions with the use of timber screen dividers. There is a mezzanine in one of them.

To minimise disruption to local animals, the lightweight steel structure of stilts, beams, and columns was constructed off-site and fitted together with a nut and bolt method.

The two pyramid-shaped roofs, which have blunt tops and house two skylights, are supported by V-shaped bamboo beams.

The architect, Verrijt, adds that the workshop’s figure is inspired by a Sri Lankan ambalama. “A lovely, delicate pavilion at the edge of a rice field [traditionally used as a traveller’s rest stop] that speaks to the landscape and allows the space to flow.

Photo by Randhir Singh

So we wanted to design something that is extremely light, with a basic structure of columns; a roof that is quite dominating, almost like an industrial space; and light in the workshop’s core, where we installed skylights that collect north light”, he says.


Photography by Edmund Sumner

Creative Gaga - Issue 54


Matharoo Associates believe in clear emphasis on functionality, use of materials in their natural form and exercising restraint while designing. Their buildings are designed to unfold and reveal their secrets and meaning.

The Ahemdabad based Matharoo Associates follow an interdisciplinary practice engulfing architecture, product design, structural design and interior design, and credit their success to a team of dedicated professionals consolidated under one roof.

The House With Balls

The 600 Sq-Yard weekend home for an aquarium shop owner comprises of four separate fish breeding tanks, an observatory which could double up as living space and a private sleeping area, all with provisions for biogas, rainwater collection for fishes and ETHE.

On opening the house’s distinctive shutters, this linear space transforms completely into an infinite one, continuously mingling with and perpendicular to its original direction.


The house assumes a squat position and the curving wall to one side allows one to walk up the gentle slope on to the terrace running over the length of the house. Rainwater is harvested throughout the year to be used for the fish tanks and space made by this curving wall is used as a tank.

House with Wall of Light

The dwelling emulates the various facets of a diamond in several ways through the use of contrasting materials. The rough diamonds are represented by the concrete walls poured in stone casts and the polished ones are represented by the light emanating onyx wall. One is opaque, the other transparent. One envelops the house and the other ties the house together.

One absorbs, the other radiates. One is neutral, theother colourful. One is rough and the other is smooth. The core family and private areas are placed in a “black box” characterized by the use of kadapa stone representing carbon, another avatar of the diamond.


The base flooring is economical and common but robust kota stone as represents continuity, and is set against the chic neutrality of travertine representing contemporary living.

The three identical staircases are aligned to the three site angles converging near the entrance; one is placed on the floor, second on the wall and the third on the ceiling; signifying the illusionary world of diamonds.

House with the Warped Court

The intention here was to use traditional design solutions, one of which is to centre the spaces around a courtyard that provides a reclusive family area. The other was to use ‘haveli’ inspired closed outer shell and hollow insides.

Irregular site lines act to generate a skewed wood form finished concrete box that encloses the house and provides a vision, climate and noise buffer. These lines also help in making the best of the required margin space, engendering individuated clear and green spaces on all sides of the house enjoyed through the selective openings into these landscape gems

Matharoo Associate’s More projects

Published in Issue 01

Digital Inspiration – With cover illustrations by Archan Nair, this issue brings inspiring digital illustrations, extreme graffiti, expert’s insights on space design and many more! Go ahead


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Creative Gaga - Issue 54