NIVIM Goa: A Journey from the Drawing Board to Reality

Shivajirao Gaekwar shares an update about NIVIM Goa

New York: We are delighted to post this update about NIVIM, one of our newest properties for sale in Goa through Prime Properties. The house is currently in its final phase of construction and scheduled to complete in August, 2012.

NIVIM Goa is the labour of love of Anjali Mangalgiri, a New York returned architect who moved to Goa with the sole purpose to build this house. The house is a culmination of her vision to bring architectural excellence and sustainable design to mainstream construction in India.

NIVIM Goa is built in contemporary tropical style taking inspiration from notable architects in the subcontinent such as Geoffery Bawa, Laurie Baker, Kerry Hill, architects in Auroville and Goa’s own Gerard da Cunha and Dean D’Cruz. The house is projected to be the first green rated building in Goa and even has its own blog.

Images of selected Geoffery Bawa projects

Anjali describes the concept of the house as follows, “For a house to be built in Goa, it must allow the user to seamlessly reconnect with nature while making every effort to preserve the reasons that make Goa special….its untouched green environs, mostly unpolluted waters, clean air, abundant biodiversity… I can go on and on…” She goes on to explain that sustainability and green design actually offer the most exclusive luxury today. It is a concept that is well understood, accepted and desired most among worldly thinkers and innovators. In addition, green buildings are more expensive to build and require a force of smart people behind them making them very exclusive.  (Read more about the concept of the house,

Selected views from NIVIM Goa under construction showing the two main trees at the center of the site that now form an integral part of the house design

NIVIM Goa sits on a 1025 square meter site on a hill in a sleepy village in Goa. Before starting construction, the site had 14 fully mature trees. The design of the house incorporates all the existing trees that include two jackfruit trees, one mango tree, two tamarind trees and one telful tree. Two trees in particular were located bang in the center of the site and look like they had been there for 100’s of years. One of them rises up almost 15 meters, or 5 stories. Anjali says, “These trees have been here way longer than we have, we could not even conceive of removing them…they are instead now an integral part of the house design and lend it a special character that is hard to replicate. Plus, trees are our most basic lifeline, they provide shade, hold the soil together to prevent erosion, require almost no additional irrigation…provide fresh produce and a home for the lovely birds and squirrels.” She adds, “The new owners of the house can even consider building a treehouse or a machan to further enjoy these large trees based on their specific requirements…” The new landscape design of the house adds other native fruiting and flowering plants to the site including chikoo, fig, kokum, champa, etc.

Anjali was completely convinced that the house in Goa should not resemble any apartment or house in the city. She laughs while saying, “I do not understand why anyone would build a home in Goa to look like their tight homes in the city, when they are coming to Goa to get away from it all….” She firmly believes that there is a distinct vocabulary for building homes in the countryside. It starts by respecting nature, ensuring minimum impact on site and surroundings and then continues in design of spaces which she says should be open, spacious, well lit and airy and finally she stresses that the country design vocabulary is distinct when it comes to choosing the materials for construction and final finishes. She advocates the use of natural materials as much as possible. She also advises to learn from the traditional building practices and typologies as they have developed after years of trial and error to resolve the local issues resulting from weather patterns, readily available materials and local labour skills. Another advantage of building with these principles is that it provides a great starting point for green building design.

Sketches showing the front of the house and detail of a guest bedroom with photos of the final built product

As a result, the house is designed such that two walls in each room  can completely open to make the rooms a part of the surrounding landscape. Each bedroom is designed like a pavilion in the garden with its own private verandahs and green space as well as large bathrooms that can only be built in the countryside with their own dedicated open space and open baths. The remainder of the site is designed with overlapping courtyards and gardens.

A special feature of the house is a unique pavilion overlooking the pool that is designed to be a self contained unit with a bathroom, bedroom and a covered sit-out. “This space is specifically designed to morph based on the requirements of the user, time of day and year. The pavilion can act as a pool pavilion during the daytime, a movie screening hall/ game room in the evening, party central while entertaining, a quiet creative studio, as well as a separate cottage for guests maybe when the owners of the house are not themselves in Goa using the main house.” Anjali compares enjoying a second home in Goa like being in the Hamptons for the summer in New York. She compares her experience and says, “In the Hamptons, one typically uses their second home to entertain family and friends, hence we have designed each bedroom suite and the pavilion building to have its own privacy and comfort and the central pool and deck space for everyone to come together and enjoy lazy days and evenings by the pool…”

NIVIM Goa is built with tremendous love and that is evident in every small detail in the house. Anjali can talk at length about the big design concepts to smallest details like the choice of custom made wash basins and brass inlaid floors. We hope to share some of this journey with you. The following is a brief timeline of the house. It follows Anjali’s frequent updates on the project blog that outline the thought in design, specific construction details, green elements and challenges in implementation.

View of the entrance to the main living area

Interior view of the main living area

Interior view of the master bedroom

Read more about the concept of the house newyork goa diaries!

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