Cox's Bazar is arguably the biggest tourist attraction in Bangladesh. But the marine drive road in Teknaf, the longest of its kind, has not yet been invaded by the jungle of hotels. A personal vacation house in Himchori, along this road? Sounds like a bucket list material.
River and Rain, an architecture firm, was approached by a client to work on such a project for a private villa. The Bay of Bengal on your 12 o'clock, the hillocks on your six, a two and a half-storied house in the middle - very close to the sandy beach.
This is what Kazi Fida Islam, the principal architect of this project envisioned, and the architects of River and Rain delivered.
Kazi Fida Islam and Md Abdul Awyal, co-founders of River and Rain, talked to The Business Standard about this gem of an architectural statement.
Enjoying the view of the sea and hills from the same house - this was a key prerequisite for this project. Thematically, the house is surrounded by water bodies - which is almost like having a floating house on water.
The villa's true purpose is to allow the user to enjoy the sprawling view of the sea and the hills, each on opposite directions. Knotting the multiple forces of nature within a space to create and balance and a relaxing space for the user was the challenge.
The use of large clear glass surfaces and windows surrounding the whole building creates openness and an invitation towards nature. It also allows natural light and soothing air ventilation, which reduces the use of mechanical air conditioners and makes the house not only sleek but also eco-friendly.
"We built a roof of double-height for the living and dining area so that the user can easily have a vertical view of the hills from the living space," the architect said.
Better still, the house does not get much heat as it is South-facing. For the floor, black marble was used because black reflects greenery so vividly that no other colour can.
The grand entryway gives the guests a warm welcome to the house. The use of wood in decks, walls and stairs along with full height doors in every room makes the interior and exterior spaces feel cosy and homely.
Technically, this private property is a two and a half-storied structure, but there is something unique about how each floor is located between the "half landing"- an area of the floor where a flight of stairs turns to the opposite direction. Each level of this house accommodates a different functionality.
There is a beautiful kitchen in this house. This sunken gourmet kitchen is below ground level and has a bar stool corner. Sitting at a bar stool, you can see the pool behind a glass window.
"The bar stool table is on the same level as the water of the swimming pool. There is even a small flight of stairs that connects the kitchen with the pool side," the architect said.
The basement has a recreational area too. It accommodates recreational functionalities like indoor games zone, a small lounge and also a bedroom.
To do a roundup of the functionalities of this house: There are five bedrooms, a double-height living area, a gourmet kitchen, followed by a recreational space in the basement. Moreover, a lounge on the top floor is the cherry on top.
The driveway and walkways on the outside are not made of solid paved concrete, rather these are blended with the landscape with slender slabs cast in a gap placed on the grassy ground. The garage is made with a metal netted shade to protect the vehicles.
The front terrace is open to the sea view and it was designed keeping in mind that the user will enjoy the sunset on the sea sitting there.
The caretakers of the house were also not left behind from architects' thoughts. A concrete one-storied house, guarded by wood and lush greenery, is dedicated for them near the entrance of the property, which is a beauty in itself too.
The architects believe the house will be a meditative retreat for the user. Some moments can only be relished in a home. In this case, this villa shines bright beneath the coastal sun of Himchori.