The heart, soul and architectural vernacular of Mumbai infuses a grand new modern residence in the form of reclaimed antique doors and windows, many bearing the remains of old paint in vivid greens and blues, mounted to the facade. Otherwise presenting itself to the street as a concrete box in a neighborhood of homes that have been cobbled together from found materials, as Mumbai residents have been doing for hundreds of years, the house creates a transition between the traditional and the contemporary.
Inspired by collage, SPS+ Architects gathered beautiful, decorative shutters and doors, arranging them in an asymmetric yet harmonic composition, emphasizing geometric lines and shapes. The glass within many of them is stained, streaming through to the living room in pastel hues. Industrial metal pipes add visual interest to a wall, and century-old columns support the ceiling.
This mix of old and new is carried through to the interior, where cozy, classic furniture contrasts with concrete and glossy white surfaces or melds with walls of traditional tiles and rattan appliqués. Old textile blocks, flooring made of Burma teak rafters rescued from a demolition project, and fabric waste known as ‘chindi’ are among the other reclaimed elements.
Brass inlays zig-zag across a polished white marble floor next to a wall of old windows facing a lush courtyard. Indoor and outdoor spaces fade into one another, with swimming pools, water features and intricately woven screens livening up virtually every corner. The spacious home was designed to accommodate four generations of the same family, and the many meandering living spaces inside lead to a stunning glass lookout on the roof, where a bed looks out onto the lights of the city.
“A language emerges that is both new but strangely familiar at the same time and that makes us rethink notions of beauty that we take for granted around us,” say the architects. “To make this mélange more ‘acceptable,’ it is encased in a ‘garb of modernity’ (Nehru). This concrete frame – in a rough aggregate finish outside and in a smooth form finish inside – wraps and connects all the spaces from back to front and across all three levels.”
About the architects
“SPS+ Architects was established in 1960 by Wendell Rossman, a forward-thinking architect who set our firm’s precedent of innovation through design. Rossman’s experimental concrete forms of the ’60s, such as St. Maria Goretti Church and Arizona State University’s Manzanita Hall, are now local landmarks. Since that time, our firm has designed what continue to be the largest wood-frame structures in the world (including the NAU Skydome) and developed the Turntable Divisible Auditorium (featured in the Chandler Center for the Arts), a design solution which has become widespread internationally. Our firm was an early proponent of 21st-Century Learning Environments, featured most recently in Compadre Academy and West-Mec. We recently finished designing Bluestone, a revolutionary, sustainable 200-unit community on the Navajo Nation centered on traditional Diné cultural values.”