Private Getaway: Shirish Beri's Seaside Retreat at Devgad

Great minds, especially creative ones, need time to get away from the daily grind to relax, rejuvenate and refresh! That's exactly what award winning Indian architect Shirish Beri had in mind, when he set off to create a beach house in Devgad, Maharashtra. Incidentally, Mr. Beri was awarded J. K. “The Architect of the year" Commendation award 1995 for the design of this house.

The beach house retreat has been built with the utmost respect to nature.Care has been taken to "blend" the home into its magnificent backdrop. The home is overly simplistic, and so is the decor. The one-room habitat has been designed brilliantly with strategically placed windows to catch every bit of nature one can, even while indoors. What impressed me was the ubiquitous eating/ dining/ sleeping center space - when you see the pictures, you will know what I am talking about.

Below is a personal description by Mr. Beri himself, of a project that's very close to his heart, and no doubt is the source for the brilliant work he executes.

The idea of having a beach house germinated in my fascination with the sea and in my faith in Nature's healing, refreshing and rejuvenating potential. Along with physical stimulation that the sea offers in the form of swimming, jogging on the beach, playing in the sand, etc., the beach house offered a peaceful natural environment with the soothing sound and sight of the waves breaking on the shore.

The view of the sea from most spaces was also an important consideration. Even the kitchen has the view of the sea on the west and of the property gate on the North.

Shirish Beri at work

I felt the need to get away from the busy routine of our architectural office to a place like this for the concentrated, undisturbed creative design process to happen. Thus my own basic architectural work happens here.

The design of this beach house stems from a basic simplicity of life style and from its symbiotic relationship with Nature. It does not appear to be force dumped there, but appears to grow on the site - to belong to the site.

Taking advantage of the undulating site conditions, the following was achieved:

The main entrance to the house meanders through the portal or gateway created by the two existing casuarina trees. The Undal tree with a seating platform & Tulasi forms the vista through the car porch.

The house is basically one single unified space under one roof. Different functions are differentiated by low partition walls, curtains, different levels, etc., but the essential flow of space continues uninterrupted merging with the surrounding nature.

The living room space flows into a covered verandah sit out on the west, which further extends down into two levels of the lawns - then into the coconut grove.
At the end of the property, right next to the beach is a built in shady sit out for eating, reading etc.

The flooring is cow dung and mud. The studio has a timber floor.

The house is constructed from the local laterite stone with a hipped timber roof structure and Mangalore tiles.

The house is designed for the coastal climate allowing for maximum air circulation inside, but at the same time being able to contain the fierce wet stormy monsoon winds from the west and southwest.

Living in this house does rejuvenate one's tired nerves. The energy field created here acts as a much needed antidote to today's rushed, competitive & materialistic life style.

Thank you Mr. Beri, for sharing the warmth and beauty of your personal retreat with us. We loved it!

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