Feature

A matter of principle

The principles of Vastu Shastra, the Hindu tradition of architecture, are being used to inform the design of new homes in India. Chris Godfrey of global architecture practice Hirsch Bedner explains the project to Well Home


Read on turning pages | Download PDF | sign up to CLAD

What are the principles of Vastu?
Houses are organised around the cardinal compass points. As far as is practicable, spaces are then positioned according to their preferred location, for example, ‘water’ is located in the south-west corner; ‘fire’ in the northeast and ‘light/air’ at the centre of it all.

As well as defining order and the flow of function, articulation of space and sunlight, Vastu is also deployed as a generator for materials and colour through the design; with colour being used to reflect and promote the spiritual 'elements’.

The relationship of the different functions of each facet – variously framing or enclosing stairs, for example, or galleries, voids and private rooms – are brought together into a holistic installation.

What are the fundamentals?
In Vastu the centre of the spiritual body is the centre of the house – the Brahmastan.

We use the Brahmasthan to link and divide all the various elements of the house – the shared and private zones and the territories of the various generations of family members – and to bring light and air into the heart of the home.

What varies?
Central to one of our clients is their art collection; the Brahmasthan in their multi-level home acts as a gallery, where large-scale, playful artworks inhabit the various spaces.
Our interpretations of Vastu are carried through from the first principles of organisation to the small details. We’ve also developed bespoke patterns based on the client’s desire to incorporate natural elements which are central to Hindu culture, such as the Tree of Life, banyan tree, peepal tree, mango tree, marigold, lotus, and frangipani

Who decided to build the Mumbai house on Vastu principles?
The family is of Hindu tradition, so the application of Vastu was a fundamental request of theirs; although, as is largely the case, the application is to be considered as a ‘guidance’ and should be moderated with other practical briefing requirements and constraints.

Which elements bring the home in line with Vastu principles?
Vastu principles are models for the organisation of form and space, sacred geometry, symmetry and directional alignments. They also integrate architecture, nature and the five elements: earth, wind, fire, water and air/light with the body.

Architecturally, we always consider the form, how space and light can instil personal security and wellbeing, regardless of function and changes in aesthetic.

Do you include any other wellness elements?
When it comes to the provision of facilities, ours is a spiritual and holistic approach and this takes priority over the developments of things like pools, spas and gyms.

We believe that correctly proportioned and naturally lit spaces can, in themselves, promote wellbeing and that the spiritual dimensions are also very powerful.

Is your choice of materials dictated by Vastu?
Colour and material languages in the home have been subtly developed in line with the Vastu directional chakara.

Brown is a must-have colour in the master bedroom, as it represents comfort and stability, for example, while green is an auspicious colour for the study room.

Do you see a trend in India towards adopting Vastu principles?
In addition to the house in Mumbai, we’re also designing a further two residences in India that subscribe to the tenets of Vastu, and have designed several others over the past decade.
However, Vastu is far from a trend – the opposite in fact. It can be dated back to at least the 6th century and is deeply rooted in the physical and spiritual fabric of Hindu society, where temples, gardens, houses, villages and towns have been laid out in accordance with the principles.

How did you work with the client on these projects?
The homeowner is highly interested and involved, which means the style of the home is being designed to respond not only to the site’s conditions and heritage but also to his and three generations’ personalities and preferences.

In this home, all aspects of the lives of the family, including religion, culture and art, have been carefully considered and distilled into something which is distinct yet also harmonised.

This home will be an important family heirloom, a place that needs to accommodate large functions and also be a private, secure residence to be enjoyed by all the generations.

It’s a truly personal response that fits with the physicality and cityscape of Mumbai while being attuned to the mosaic of religion and family.

When will the building be completed?
It’s currently on site and is scheduled for completion in summer 2019.

About HBA Residential

HBA Residential is an independent division of Hirsch Bedner Associates, which specialises in architecture, interior design and FF&E (furniture, fixtures, and equipment) for luxury private villas, penthouses and homes.

Gallery
Click on an image to open the image gallery
company profile
Company profile: Alliance Leisure Services Ltd
The company’s core business is the provision of facility development and support for local authorities, educational establishments and leisure trusts that want to improve or expand the leisure products and services they offer.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
MVVA are leading the design of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr Centennial Park
Van Valkenburgh studied landscape architecture and fine arts at Cornell University and the University of Illinois
"Building a park is the ultimate act of democracy"

The US landscape architect on why the Obamas are his kind of clients

The centre features an 12,800sq ft gym. The curves of the building are echoed in the interior
David Polzin is executive director of design at CannonDesign. He studied at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture
"We were able to create an ‘acoustic shadow’ cutting decibel levels nearly in half"

How to design the perfect community leisure centre 100 13th century pilgrimage The Vietnamese village being created using historic methods

A range of accommodation is offered, from the superior suite (pictured) to the affordable Village Lodge dorms
"Our palette was pared down to basics"

The Vietnamese village being created using historic methods

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Underwater architecture: Going deep
"The Norwegian coast inhabits such beauty"

The world’s most ambitious underwater buildings

CLAD people: Asif Din
Din has worked on a range of sustainability-focused projects
"It’s imperative the architecture profession takes a proactive approach to tackling the realities of climate change"

Perkins+Will’s new sustainability director

The film is set in the fictional African country of Wakanda
"I fell in love with Zaha Hadid"

Black Panther set designer Hannah Beachler

features
Peter Cook
"Somehow we’d caught the imagination of people"

As a book about radical architecture collective Archigram is released, we speak to one of the founders about the need for fun

A giant bear watches over Aarhus’s harbour. The playground is part of Schmidt Hammer Lassen’s Dokk1 library project
Ole Barslund Nielsen founded Monstrum in 2003 with Christian Jensen. The two met when working in theatre scenography
"Failing and falling can be a good thing"

How his background in theatre set design inspired Ole Barslund Nielsen to create playgrounds with a difference

cladkit product news
Aotta launches sound panels made from hemp husks
The panels are designed to maintain 'healthy spaces' and consist of Hemp husks fashioned into a natural porous membrane that absorbs sound
Lauren Heath-Jones
Russian design studio Aotta has developed a range of eco-friendly, sound-absorbing panels made from the waste products of hemp seeds. ...
David Rockwell partners with Jim Thompson for dream-inspired fabric collection
Rockwell has designed 12 multi-use fabrics inspired by dreams with long-time collaborator Jim Thompson
Lauren Heath-Jones
Renowned architect David Rockwell has created a collection of fabrics with long-time collaborator Jim Thompson. Called Dreams, the collection was ...
Water inspires Zaha Hadid Design x Rosenthal collaboration
The collection consists of three smaller collections: Weave, Strip and Lapp. Weave was inspired by 'the fluid lines of Zaha Hadid's sketching hand'
Lauren Heath-Jones
Zaha Hadid Design has partnered with porcelain manufacturer Rosenthal to create a new collection of vases. Called the Lapp collection, ...
cladkit product news
John Pawson reimagines oil lantern for Wästberg
The Holocene No. 4 reflects Pawson's pared-back style and neutral palette
Lauren Heath-Jones
Swedish lighting company Wästberg has expanded its Holocene collection, with a new addition, Holocene No. 4, designed by acclaimed architect ...
Mater partners with Ditzel family to create eco-friendly furniture using reclaimed plastic
The furniture uses plastic from recycled fishing nets
Lauren Heath-Jones
Mater, an ethical design brand based in Denmark, has launched a furniture collection made from plastic reclaimed from the ocean. ...
Zaha Hadid Design partners with Royal Thai to create carpet collection celebrating Zaha Hadid's legacy
The carpets capture Hadid's notable use of layering and interweaving as well as her use of light and shadow
Lauren Heath-Jones
Zaha Hadid Design has partnered with carpet manufacturer Royal Thai to create a new carpet collection inspired by the work ...
cladkit product news
Tredje Natur launches Climate Tile to bring green spaces to urban settings
Tredje Natur has installed the pilot system of its Climate Tile system in the Nørrebro area of Copenhagen
Lauren Heath-Jones
Danish company Tredje Natur (Third Nature) has recently installed the pilot system of its innovative street paving system in the ...
Volvo partners with Reef Lab Designs to encourage ocean biodiversity
The tiles are made from marine-grade concrete and recycled plastic fibres
Lauren Heath-Jones
Car manufacturer Volvo has partnered with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and Reef Design Lab to create an environmentally-friendly ...
Baux creates plant-based acoustic panels
Baux has worked with scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology to create Baux Acoustic Pulp, a plant-derived acoustic solution
Lauren Heath-Jones
Baux, an acoustic products brand based in Sweden, has developed a line of biodegradable acoustic panels, using a plant-based material ...
x
Email this to a friend or colleague
I am happy for Leisure Media to contact me occasionally by email and understand that I can opt out at any time.
A matter of principle
Architect Chris Godfrey tells us how Vastu, the traditional Indian system of architecture that focuses on harmony between home and body, is seeing a resurgence in popularity @HBADesign