Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 16, Tuesday, September 23, 2003





weekend retreats in tune with nature

As more and more city dwellers seek a break from the insistent pace of urban life, weekend retreats and holiday homes are something that many yearn for. A break from city life for a short period is important to rejuvenate ourselves, make time for social interaction with friends and relatives. It also gives a chance for family bonding and to get in touch with nature.

Creating a holiday home involves a different set of issues from our urban counterparts. Depending on the budget it could be a modest cottage or a complex family home. Creating the feeling of a sanctuary is important with a holiday home as well as taking advantage of the local terrain and landscape.

It is important for this sanctuary to feel connected with the countryside outside. Verandahs are the transition areas between inside and outside. Deep-set verandahs and terraces can allow people to enjoy the outside view and be in touch with nature. Folding doors can open up the inside and outside space to each other as one continuous space. Windows not only provide light and ventilation but can be also designed for framing views. Lookout and vantage points can be positioned to look at the landscape from a different perspective or to view the sunset. Skylights on domes and roofs can bring light into the home and also witness the seasonal changes from the winter months to the deluge of the monsoon rains. All these elements enable the sounds of the country life and the various fragrances to enter the building.

Courtyards or uthans can be created for families to get together and socialize in larger groups. Manipulating the floor levels by creating steps for seating lets the building structure become the seats and tables rather than individual tables and chairs. Levels can be sunk into the ground to create a sunken cozy seating area in tune with the earth. Finally meandering routes and paths can trickle out and radiate from the sanctuary into the surrounding landscape. Holiday homes can be constructed with materials such as timber, stone, clay tiles, brick & mud. They not only help to control the interior temperature naturally but are also more sympathetic to natural surroundings.

For further details / information on this article or previous articles, contact Architect Rumana Malik at email: afmalik@bangla.net













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