A journey through the history of House of MG

Following the midterm and the time problem we had regarding the development of the residential house into a full-fledged institution, this week we were asked to do a case study on the House of MG which is located in the old city of Ahmadabad. The case study was intended to study the architecture and material of the building and take whatever we can take from it for the design process of our institution. This building is an important example for our institution because this too was a residential building at first which was later converted into a public space, which is a hotel in this case.

house of MG from one of the terrace gardens. the slopping roof structure is shown in the sketch.

Starting from the beginning, me and my friends reached the hotel on a busy afternoon. The sheer contrast of it from the rest of the surroundings can be seen from here only. Unlike any general building which is built quite literally just beside a road, this on the other hand was a little bit more “inside”, hidden behind some trees and vegetation, which acts as a transition from a very busy and noisy road to a quiet space. Though one can argue that the entirety of the palace cannot be experienced from the street in front of it, but in my opinion, the whole hidden sense the building has enhances the sense of intimacy and privacy and home.  

the vegetation at the front of the house concealing it from the outside noise

Moving further into the house, due to time constraints and some permission issues we couldn’t see every part of the building but still experienced quite a lot of it to digest. The building has beautiful courtyards which could be experienced from different levels. Further, the terrace gardens it has acted as a nice change from the closed spaces, the whole idea of courtyards and terrace gardens not only adds a lot more greenery into the house making it very lively but also this change of spaces from built to unbuilt spaces is a great experience to have, which gives the sense of floating rooms and spaces, joined by passages and staircases.

The opening of the rooms were also not something I would see in my everyday life, though the entrances and arches to different spaces and rooms were very well done and beautiful, what moved me was the windows and the design of the balconies looking down in the courtyards. The use of louvers was very interesting and it looked aesthetically very pleasant. I never really paid much attention to the use of louvers for aesthetic purposes but the house showed me the beauty of it. The sense of privacy it gives without blocking ventilation is a great alternative to contemporary glass windows.

A sketch of the staircase and the opening with louvers on them.
Sketch showing some of the doors and opening

 For me, this experience was priceless since I am too trying to achieve the sense of floating in my design. furthermore, this whole experience helped me to understand the importance of courtyards and terraces and terrace gardens which we quite frankly don’t see in contemporary architecture. Moreover, I have always struggled to imagine the size of space just from plans and sections or numbers alone, but here the sheer diversity of spaces and their sizes has surely helped me with this. I can now finally understand that one doesn’t need an entire hall for a living room or a courtyard doesn’t have to be gigantic to fulfill its purpose. Rooms and spaces could be of many different sizes for different purposes and there’s no fixed or universal dimension that I have to follow.

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