An enchanting weekend home among the rocks in Idukki

by Sunday , September 18 2016 14:56

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“100 percent green building!” That is what Neena Korah, a popular architect who is also a vehement advocate of green buildings, has to say about her new venture in Pallivaasal, Idukki district. The project is unique - an eco-friendly building which stands in complete harmony with the nature.

The first time when Neena and her family visited the 40 cents of land, where the azure sky merges with the verdant landscapes, they were welcomed by a large number of rocks strewn around. At that time, it was beyond her strength to clamber on to the enormous rocks to get a bird’s eye view of the location. Eventually, Neena had to resort to a video captured by her son-in-law to get a blueprint of the surroundings in her mind. ‘Visualization’ is the most challenging part in constructing a home, Neena opines beyond doubt. The initial sketches were converted to 3D images, which were then juxtaposed against the original plot to arrive in the final design.

Behold the magical transformation of the onetime rocky land! An enticing weekend home has emerged on the rocks, girdled by a landscape bedecked with layers of flowers and vegetables. Solar panels ensure incessant light and water for the house. It also offers a bird’s eye view of Ramakkal Medu with its numerous windmills and the Idukki dam, yonder.

This house, constructed on rocks, is situated 5300 feet above the sea level. The most striking element about the house is its perfect blend with the nature to the degree that when seen from a distance, the house will never give an impression of standing out from its surroundings. Even the lights and lamps are designed in a way not to disturb the birds or animals in the slightest manner; the lamps never stare at, but with a courteously lowered look, diffuse the light downwards. Just stand in the courtyard and you will feel like you are in a flight with the white clouds literally hovering around you and the tall, massive rocks merging at the horizons. A lot of imagination has gone to christening of this splendid home: ‘The Aerie’, which means the nest of eagles.

Apart from cement and steel, all other ingredients used for the construction of the house are from the locality. The column structure in the front of the house was inevitable to in the construction of the 35 degree inclination.

Inspired by love for the environment

The land is divided into various layers to resist soil erosion and preserve rain water. The rocks were manually cut by the local laborers to ensure minimum harm to nature, even though it was more expensive compared to other alternative methods. The walls are coated with unleaded paint, which is again an expression of Neena’s eco-friendliness.

Packaging wood was used for the wood work, as they can be reused. The doors, railing on the staircase, false ceiling and cupboards are made of this wood. ‘The Aerie’ is thus a ‘complete package’ that blends rain harvesting, 10 KV solar panels, drip irrigation and more. It is a perfect weekend home abounding in the riches of rural life.

The house has no precise compound wall except for the retaining wall and the random metal fencing. This was done purposefully, with the intention of ensuring an unperturbed view of the captivating surroundings. The same objective has inspired the designing of the walls with transparent glass.

Not until it had reached the concreting session did Neena realize that kitchen offered little view outside.

She decided to add a slanted glass on the ceiling of the kitchen. This proved to be an amazing amendment every time we visit the kitchen.

The road is 12 meters below the house level. The exterior of the house is painted with colors that are in harmony with the green surroundings. The porch is roofed with a polycarbonate sheet. Deep Indigo colored main door extends you a warm welcome at the entrance. A library is set at the lowest end of the house, while a spa is set up at the uppermost.

The 2350 sq.ft house has three bedrooms and two balconies. The glass windows at the bedrooms open to a mesmerizing view of the nature. Flower beds, set on the balconies, add a refreshing charm.

You can’t resist coming back to this enchanting home once you have experienced the rejuvenating weather that soothes mind and body. The residents of the house are so thorough with the language of the birds by now. A new plan for ornithological purposes is being realized.

“Any building is meaningful only if it enhances the standard of living” says Neena.

We can hear the fresh breeze and the refreshing ambiance reverberating her words… Yes, life is beautiful here - immensely beautiful! That is why they eagerly wait for the weekends …

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