Cottage Estate II
The growth in the demand for holiday homes in the hills has led to increasing pressure on the land in the region around Shimla. The site is a thin sliver of land extending down to the valley from the Shimla-Mandi highway and would normally be considered unbuildable due to the large rocky outcrop that dominates the first portion of the site, dramatically dropping over 10 stories.
It was decided to take advantage of this natural feature by combining the first 4 units into a single building that could be built in stages over a series of stepped foundations. A large elevator would also be installed to allow access to the lower part of the site. The subsequent units could then be approached by a golf cart on a gently sloping path. These have been planned as duplex cottages with individual gardens retained by the path, ensuring privacy while retaining environmental sustainability.
The upper building was designed as a modular unit, allowing considerable flexibility in terms of layout. The staircase and lift core were placed in one corner and a bedroom block was created on the east face to take advantage of the morning sun. The position of the living areas could then be adjusted as per the choices of the individual owners. Consequently, the lower floors are occupied mostly by a 4-bedroom apartment, spread over three levels, while half of the first floor is given over to a 2-bedroom apartment. The upper two floors are divided into two duplex units with large terraces on the lower floors, creating a three-dimensional jigsaw of apartments.
In a unique approach to the overall site plan, future owners will be given a choice of cottage designs adhering to a set vocabulary, creating a micro-community of self-similar units rather than a bland repetition of a single block.