cabo da rama, goa

Location: cabo da rama, goa, India
Year: 1999
Program: family house

House shelkar-gerling
cabo da rama, Goa

on the site
the project site at cabo da rama is beautifully situated near the old fort, on one of the few cliffs in this area.
the shape of the property is almost straight and the cliff stands like a rigid stage to the much loved goan sunset. a very carefully looked after coconut plantage, built in small terrasses is giving shelter to the elements.
we felt very light and free when we first got to the site and right away climbed down between the deep red and pitch black rocks to the see. this feeling inspired us to keep a very light touch for the new project, the living area should be an extension of the site and a light breeze should go through it. as the ‘living room’ should proceed alongside the coast, the sleeping rooms should be more cosy, protected and face directly towards the see. to enhance the feeling of continuation it would be necessary to use very light materials, transparent, transluscid, textile on the ground, still giving us enough protection of the sun. the more solid structure should lie above it, protecting and sheltering the living room.

family and communication
the house shelkar-gerling had to be considered for a family with grandparents as well as visiting friends. the goal was to have a very open house, where communication on all levels is possible. at the same time there had to be a more intimate part of the house for the grandparents, who would live there together with the family. the communication would be possible by ‘cutting’ a courtyard in the solid sleeping volume above the living room, enabling each single room to take part of social life in the courtyard and providing the morning and evening sun. ‘inner slots’ containing the stairs provide smaller communication - slots on the inside part of the house. These slots can be opened or closed, depending on the amount of communication wanted at the moment. the living room of the grandparents should be felt as a part of the family but in the same time have a great deal of privacy. this is established by bringing the solid mass of the sleeping chambers to the ground and define a new ‘private’ courtyard on the ground level. to visualize the separation and closeness at the same time we materialized the sleeping box of the parents in the same light material as the ‘light feelers’ of the family’s living room. the family’s solid mass is supporting and feeding the grandparents and the grandparents soft structure ‘feeds’ the family with life. it gives the impression as if the solid mass flies over the living room, just supported by the soft (at night light up) ’ feelers of the grandparents. these ‘feelers’ penetrate the solid mass and generate the space structure above as well as they provide them with all necessary infrastructure.

summer - monsoon - expansion
the fact of the two seasons was of great importance to the whole concept of the building. as in the summer the most important issue would be the protection and shelter of the sun, it would be the rain in monsoon, that had to be worried about. so we decided to create maximum possible protection of the living area, by covering the ‘cut out’ communication court yard with a textile surface. as well as protecting it establishes a connection of the spaces of the living room and creates one big floating living space. it will be a bright light up space. a big curtain as part of the light membranes of the living room can be used to finally totally close and protect the living space from the sunshine. in the evening all the membranes can be released and the veranda becomes part of the living room as well. the grandparents have the option to cover their courtyard as well, which has as well the effect that their living room expands to double size. the wooden walls of the courtyard can be totally opened either to the veranda or to the family living space, always depending on the accurate situation of privacy or time of the day or season. in the monsoon the house is only half the size of the summer and specific parts of it will be sealed to keep the rain out of it.

temporary construction
as the site is in the 200 meter coast range it is by law that the whole building has to be constructed temporarily. we come after these obligations by using only wood, glass, polycarbonate (plastic) and textile materials. the main construction is: pilotis on the ground floor as part of a free plan and then balloon frames on the second floor and as well on the ground floor for the outer solid walls. the only impact on the site will be wholes we have to dig into the rock to place our pilotis, like silent footprints in the sand.