Aalloa Hills Residence / INI Design Studio
Text description provided by the architects. Located near Gandhinagar city in Gujarat, Aalloa Hills embraces rest and repose in close consonance with nature. This net-zero residence, a bright white bridge spanning the Sabarmati Riverside terrains, stands out uniquely in the ambient wilderness. Positioned on a natural plateau with commanding views of the river and forest, it hovers above the ground, respecting the undisturbed flow of natural systems. Blurring the lines between inside and outside, it integrates with the native landscape, infusing volumes with light and shadow, transforming the space like dynamic art.
A simple yet elegantly composed form meanders linearly across the valley, strung together by a thread-like access ramp. Starting from the staff quarters below and leading from the entrance parking bay, the ramp connects the guest house to the main house atop the plateau. This curated spatial journey unveils a controlled panorama of the valley, with the house hoisted off the ground on pilots like a modern Machan, offering resplendent views through deep, shady verandahs.
Geometric precision and axis planning create an interesting dialogue between the built and open while allowing a seamless flow of spaces, light, water, breeze, vegetation, and sounds of birds and trees. The deliberate placement of solid walls and voids achieves a delicate equilibrium between the built forms and the lush surroundings. The orientation optimizes the use of natural terrains and the hot semi-arid climate, with energy-efficient sun breakers on the west side contributing to the residence’s sustainable ethos. The east-facing veranda, a dual-function space, acts as a sunscreen during the day and transforms into an outdoor haven during mornings and evenings. A china-mosaic lined roof-top thwarts the harsh sunlight, and design interventions like wide, painted, cavity masonry form sun- -breakers along the verandas, sunk slab with cinder filling, and double-glazed windows team up to reduce heat absorption and allow comfortable indoor spaces without air conditioning for 9 months of the year. Additionally, breezes blowing over the pool and a waterfall flanking the main block on either side cool the house significantly.
All existing vegetation on the site was retained, and 400+ new trees and shrubs, which play host to the many birds and other creatures who visit and inhabit the environs, were planted. This conscious effort resonates with the spirit of giving back, a thankfulness for Nature’s bounty bestowed.
The bold monochrome palette, with the bright white exterior of the horizontally disposed structure, punctuated by the black stone flooring along the balconies, sets off the natural hues of the plateau and valley in stark contrast. The minimalist yet plush black and white interiors fashion a comfortable, unobtrusive space where landscape and artwork colors are celebrated year-round. Public and private spaces are seamlessly integrated, with a double-height living area as the focal point. As occupants of all rooms spill onto shaded outdoor living spaces to view the lush, undulating neighborhood, like a canvas to fete the green, squarely framed by the ample fenestration, team INI doffs its hat to the modernist masters.