A 19th cen­tury villa on the banks of the Man­dovi River in Goa re­tains its old world charm while adding mod­ern aes­thet­ics, re­sult­ing in a spec­tac­u­lar mix of styles

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Close to Pan­jim, in the her­itage district of Riban­der on the banks of the Man­dovi River in Goa, stood an old di­lap­i­dated In­doPor­tuguese house orig­i­nally built in the early 19th cen­tury. The ap­prox­i­mately 8,300 sq ft plot was pur­chased by our client with a de­sire to con­vert the her­itage struc­ture into a lux­ury six bed­room river­side res­i­dence. Thus the de­sign brief en­tailed re­tain­ing and restor­ing as much of the orig­i­nal struc­ture as pos­si­ble and adding an ex­ten­sion con­sti­tut­ing of in­door and out­door spa­ces that took ad­van­tage of the prox­im­ity to the Man­dovi River.


Main­tain­ing a bal­ance in the aes­thet­ics be­tween the tra­di­tional and the con­tem­po­rary posed to be an in­ter­est­ing de­sign chal­lenge. Villa Riban­der is a home de­signed to meet the com­forts of day-to-day liv­ing while pro­vid­ing the lux­u­ries of a week­end home. The 6,900 sq ft villa has an unas­sum­ing en­trance off the main road through the orig­i­nal struc­ture and it un­folds grad­u­ally, in­creas­ing in trans­parency as one moves through the house, to the new

wing, closer to the river.


Di­vided be­tween two lev­els, the lay­out of the ex­ist­ing home was main­tained. The weak ex­ist­ing walls of the struc­ture were strength­ened to with­stand seis­mic, wind and ve­hic­u­lar im­pact. The south façade of the house fac­ing the road, had tra­di­tional smaller open­ings, thus re­ceiv­ing com­par­a­tively less nat­u­ral light, hous­ing spa­ces that are used less of­ten. The ex­te­rior of the old house has been metic­u­lously re­stored to its orig­i­nal ap­peal to main­tain the char­ac­ter of the streetscape, in­volv­ing ex­ten­sive re­search on the build­ing style of the pe­riod. Rather than em­u­lat­ing the de­sign style of the orig­i­nal villa for the new wing, it fol­lows a con­tem­po­rary de­sign lan­guage so that a de­gree of light­ness and moder­nity is in­tro­duced into the house. The in­tent was to cre­ate an in­ter­est­ing aes­thetic with the jux­ta­po­si­tion of new against the old. An in­ter­est­ing fea­ture of the ex­ten­sion is an over­head bridge struc­ture made of metal slats, to al­low a view of the wa­ter body be­low, pro­vid­ing di­rect ac­cess from the house to the ter­race. The pav­il­ion was de­signed to be a light semi-open struc­ture with fold­ing glass walls and a vast shad­ing canopy pro­vid­ing seam­less views of the river and ac­cess to the out­door spa­ces and in­fin­ity pool. The ve­ran­dah abut­ting the din­ing area serves as a long semi-open space over­look­ing the trop­i­cal gar­den and the river be­yond.


The in­te­rior de­sign of the house boasts a min­i­mal con­tem­po­rary style with mod­ern fur­ni­ture mixed with eclec­tic found pieces. The neu­tral colour pal­ette is bal­anced with the use of ter­razzo and wooden floor­ing. Care­ful plan­ning and craft have pro­duced a house that has both, the nos­tal­gia of the past, and the prac­ti­cal­ity of the present.

Muted tones with tra­di­tional wooden fin­ish ceil­ing in the liv­ing room

Ar­chi­tect Raya Shankhwalker Ar­chi­tects, Goa RAYA SHANKHWALKER

Tra­di­tional Ba­li­nese din­ing ta­ble (above); lou­vered shut­ters (be­low)

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