This Brutalist Penthouse In Surat Is An Overlay Of Exposed Beams And Curved Concrete Walls Across 6,700 Sq. Ft.

Off The Grid,’ a modern Surat penthouse by architectural studio DOT harmoniously blends minimalism with vernacular craftsmanship, creating a luxurious and sustainable urban retreat for a contemporary family.

  • 30 May '24
  • 5:02 pm by Virender Singh

Overlooking the Tapi River, their latest tour de maître is a fearless blend of brutalism and an indigenous palette that lays the groundwork for this Surat penthouse. For the pioneering architectural firm DOT, whose canon is deeply rooted in stone masonry and concrete, this time’s creative impetus came from the essence of family living. This 6,700 sq. ft. abode stands as a testament to architectural ingenuity and aesthetic finesse.

The solidity of concrete and wooden planes further accentuates the linear expanse of the apartment. A sleek Piero Lissoni sofa from Living Divani languishes in collusion with the Guglielmo Poletti centre table and bench from Desalto. (Image Credits: Ishita Sitwala)

“The clients wanted enough space to spend some quality time with their kids, play with them and be kids themselves,” reveals the duo of principal architects Krishna Mistry and Anand Jariwala. Transitioning from a joint family to a nuclear one, the homeowners’ brief envisioned a sanctuary where the spirit of togetherness would not be compromised for the sake of individuality. Like a parabolic vision rising from the ashes of a volcanic eruption, the aptly christened ‘Off The Grid’ house is an overlay of multiple grids, exposed beams and sinuously honed interiors.

This post-modern tableau is enriched by a vibrant Piccola Papilio armchair by Naoto Fukasawa from B&B Italia and Peter Zumthor lights from Viabizzuno. (Image Credits: Ishita Sitwala)

Anchoring The Design In Sustainability 

Every element, from the modulating floor plan to the handmade IPS walls, is meticulously crafted to evoke sensorial fullness. Natural materials such as wood, terrazzo and stone are thoughtfully integrated, while eco-friendly paint and an open spatial plan align the home with the designers’ sustainability goals. “The coldness of concrete in the ceiling and walls is balanced by warm teak, the black hand-cast terrazzo with chips of black and grey limestone,” Mistry points out.

As the elevator ascends to the 11th floor, guests are greeted by a diffused radiance from within the entrance foyer and a magnificent eight-foot-wide wooden door withholding the secrets of this residence with impeccable grandeur.

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The passage features a sleek Void console by Guglielmo Poletti from Desalto, complemented by a state-of-the-art Valcucine modular kitchen and illuminated by elegant ALW linear lights. (Image Credits: Ishita Sitwala and Nikhil Patel)

Composing Intimacy With Curves And Contrast

Nestled within the embrace of three gracefully rounded concrete walls, this statement-making living space seamlessly melds the old with the new. Against a backdrop of primordial grey, the thoughtfully curated artwork contrasted by the black terrazzo flooring serves as a visual break, adding an edgy urbanism within the narrative. The boundaries between indoors and outdoors blur ingeniously, with a landscaped balcony beckoning just beyond the threshold, inviting residents to unwind amidst the beauty of their surroundings. The floor rolls into a more private antechamber as one steps up from the living room to the dining.

The poetic geometry of Piero Lissoni’s Memo dining table and Ombra chairs from Lema is eloquently underscored by Frisbi suspended lights from Flos. The captivating artwork here is by Haku Shah. (Image Credits: Ishita Sitwala)

Mistry explains that the southern window lets in harsh light for half of the year, making the dining area dark when the curtains are drawn. To address this, a skylight was added to keep the space lit. Alleviating the monochromatic hues, a subtle burst of vermillion from the kitchen dado and the metal legs of the dining table, create a dynamic visual tapestry. Moving through the passage, one encounters a fluid transition from the dining area to the kitchen, where form and function merge effortlessly.

From left to right: A curved staircase leads to a rooftop oasis for the homeowners. As the steps fold on the external side of the curve, the internal side holds a place of worship; The underside of the stairs becomes a cosy reading corner for the guest bedroom, illuminated by the Parentesi lamp from Flos and LC4 by Le Corbusier from Cassina. (Image Credits: Ishita Sitwala)

Exuding an air of understated elegance, this state-of-the-art Valcucine kitchen boasts smouldering lava stone countertops, gracefully offset by pristine white walls and teak wood cabinetry. While concrete walls cajole and guide us, the teak wood partition walls support everything from the crockery to picnic-style benches in the bedrooms.

In the master bedroom, the You and Me Isola bed by Ivano Redaelli takes centre stage, oozing sophistication. The Tolomeo bedside lamp by Michele De Lucchi from Artemide disperses a gentle luminosity. The rug is by DOT, adding a playful touch. (Image Credits: Ishita Sitwala)

Orchestrating Continuity And Flow

Flanked by panoramic views of the cityscape to the west, one wanders into bedrooms connected by a sunken multipurpose space. By allowing the bi-synchronized doors to pivot smoothly and synchronously, the kids’ bedroom exemplifies how homeowners can enjoy an open-plan layout without compromising on personal space. In the master and guest bedrooms, the primary palette of concrete, wood, and terrazzo remains omnipresent. Beginning at the ground level, a central staircase with its sculptural beauty weaves the lower levels with the terrace.

In the kid’s bedroom study, utilitarianism meets aesthetic with the Helsinki 30 study table by Caronni + Bonanomi and the Tolomeo study light by Michele De Lucchi from Artemide. The bi-synchronized pivot doors by DOT create an unflagging transition between spaces. (Image Credits: Ishita Sitwala)

Joining The Dots With Nature

As the fair-finished concrete of the curved staircase ascends, one transitions from the serene, polished interiors to the rustic charm of the terrace. The smooth black terrazzo of the lower floor gives way to pieces of black limestone laid haphazardly, creating an earthy and tactile ambience. The terrace’s focal point is a spacious glass gazebo, opening on three sides to reveal distinct zones. To the east, the staircase’s curve extends into a low-height curved partition wall, framing a green pocket adorned with a large planter box and a Spathodea tree. The southern side features a screening wall, stepped-down seating, and a dense plantation edge, punctuated by two planter boxes with trees on either side, creating an intimate enclosure. The western side offers a step-up zone with a dining area that gazes at the cityscape.

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Large pieces of black limestone juxtaposed with a glass gazebo create a twilight zone of calmness. (Image Credits: Nikhil Patel)

Designed as a weekend retreat for the clients, the terrace offers diverse experiences: brunch in the shaded west, a nap in the treehouse-like upper deck, reading in the gravelled dense court in the afternoon and dining at sunset. This versatile space comfortably accommodates intimate gatherings and larger social celebrations and provides the perfect setting to entertain people. 

From the welcoming entrance foyer to the sweeping vistas of the terrace, this architectural masterpiece leapfrogs trends and embraces the evergreen values of community and ecological guardianship. With its seamless integration of brutalist aesthetics and Indian craftsmanship, ‘Off The Grid’ is a place where the beauty of simplicity is celebrated in all its glory.