A whisper in wilderness

All of us would’ve had a childhood fantasy of tree-houses. Perched atop towering trees, surreally shaded by the collective canopies, tree-houses provide an ideal getaway to relish in our own personal space.

Over the years we’ve come across ingeniously innovative iterations of tree-houses; impeccable designs over a myriad material palette, often transcending the realms of imagination.

One such abode materialized by the creative heads at Architecture BRIO sits subtly set on the mesmerizing landscape of Tala in Maharashtra.

On a 160 acre hilltop ‘treesort’ property, on a thick green forested cliff besides a meandering river down below, the Tree Villa asserts its boldly inconspicuous expression of an isolated cabin by the woods.

The idyllic setting in Tala, was made home by Buddhist monks nearly 20 centuries ago owing to its tranquilizing and meditative landscape.

Imbibing the environment in its purest essence, the Tree Villa is carefully conceived as a celebration of this landscape by creating a series of blurred transitional spaces with varying degrees of transparency and openness.

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The visitors are greeted by a natural timber bridge, lifting them off the forest floor onto a large stilted deck that envelope the house offering panoramic views in every direction.

The thatched sloping roof being the focal element upon approach, one subconsciously surrenders to the fact that the Villa is devoid of walls. Vertical visual obstructions are seemingly absent throughout, imparting its characteristic horizontal openness and airiness within.

Wrapped around operable glass partitions fixed on minimal frames, the architecture of the space is enhanced by the clear curved corners, essaying a sensual kind of luxury to the overall setting.

Tie dyed bordered sheer curtains form the second layer effectively filtering the harsh sunlight that seep in during the day.

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Capable of catering to 4 adults and two children, the Tree Villa is set in two levels accommodating two double beds, a loft for children, two bathrooms, a lounge and an outdoor deck.

Rather than compartmentalizing those activities into distinct rooms, the main space is broken up by three smaller enclosures that are positioned within it, ensuring a visual connection to the forest in multiple directions from all rooms: a pantry-cum-loft unit, a semi-outdoor bathroom and a curtained bed enclosure act as anchors and define interstitial zones such as the breakfast room and the lounge.

A wooden slatted framework and filled with white plexiglass offer physical enclosure to the bathroom and pantry-cum-loft. The pantry unit houses the service core with a small kitchenette, the top of which has an additional bed forming the loft, accessed by a wooden ladder.

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Similar in enclosure treatment, the semi-outdoor bathroom is a spatial experience unparalleled. With an old Garuga fruit tree that sprouts out of the floor making way in multiple directions, some branches entering the room while the others exit through circular openings in the enclosure.

A free standing bathtub placed within renders an ideal relaxed setting.
The lower level, creatively discreet, is neatly tucked down below the primary level. Accessed from within by a spiral staircase, the lower level has a guest suite backed by a rock outcrop on one side a thick green forests on the other.

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The design language of the bathroom resonates with the natural privacy on offer, with a completely glazed curved outer wall, effectively bringing out a feeling of showering in the open. The room flows out to an outdoor deck with a staircase that invites you to take a hike in the forest.

Elements and textures as parts of the structure are focused on coexistence. The monochrome colour scheme of the space along with an eclectic mix of partly restored and partly custom designed furniture pieces give the interior a bohemian vibe.

The restraint in the colour palette highlights the surrounding greenery. Similarly, the crispness of geometry and the slender proportions the enclosures are a premeditated effort to amplify this untouched wilderness.

The volumetric compositions of partly white, partly reflective and transparent surfaces within a wooden framework animate and lighten up the space. It questions conventional definitions of exterior and interior and reinterprets notions of privacy and exposure within a hospitality environment.

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The spatial composition in an otherwise traditional tropical roof structure lends a sense of softness, sensuality, intimacy, and complexity, making it a perfect setting for a retreat into the wilderness of Tala.

Fact File

  • Project: Tree House Villa
  • Client: Forest Hills
  • Location: Tala, Maharashtra
  • Architects: Architecture BRIO
  • Design team: Robert Verrijt, Shefali Balwani, Khushboo Asrani
  • Site Area: 225 sq. m

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