Opolis Architects, headed by Sonal Sancheti and Rahul Gore, have been the pioneers in Indian Modernist Architecture for more than twenty years. Based in the fast-paced city of Mumbai, Opolis looks to create homes, offices and recreational spaces that allow ease of work, flawless movement, and spaces where relaxation comes at ease.

Let us take a look at a few of Opolis Architects’ most interesting projects spread across their two decades in the field.

1. House at Ahmedabad 

A combination of courtyards and lush, existing trees, this residential project has been designed keeping in mind three generations of the same family. The stone cladding and wooden screens form a constant language that envelopes three different kinds of living spaces. These spaces and generations meet each other at the intersections of the courtyards, where the landscape becomes a part of the home.

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House at Ahmedabad_©Umang Shah
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Use of Courtyards_©Umang Shah
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Similar Material Use_©Umang Shah

2. The Roof House

Heroes in architectural projects come and go, but the grand Roof of The Roof House, aptly named, stands tall, unchallenged. This majestic structure combines with it a plinth to create a residence with no walls – a beautiful response to the scenic location of Khandala, which sees heavy rainfall every year. The roof cuts off the rains, and the absence of walls brings in the surroundings.

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Roof House_©Ariel Huber
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Dramatic Elements_©Ariel Huber
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Variety of Roofs_©Ariel Huber

3. House at Panshet

A low-lying structure built in the architectural style that is reminiscent of traditional timber architecture, the House at Panshet stands with a large pitched roof and a beautiful outdoor garden. The large, combined spaces inside the house periodically open up into the landscaped area that houses multiple sit-outs, a swing, and a deck that leads to a water body.

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House at Panshet_©Hemant Patil
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Large Pitched Roof_©Hemant Patil
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Periodic Openings_©Hemant Patil

4. The Bihar Museum

Acclaimed on an international platform, the Bihar Museum by Opolis is an extraordinary example of a form that follows function. With a variety of innovative structural inserts and ingenious material usage that complements the area’s climatic conditions, the Bihar Museum can definitely be seen as an example of Indian Modern Architecture that will be called upon for years in the future.

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The Bihar Museum_©Rutwik Paranjpye
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Structural Innovations_©Ariel Huber
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Interior Palette_©Ariel Huber

5. Nine Square House, Jaipur

Combining the values of Vastushastra with the local climatic conditions gave birth to this five-bedroom house in a combination of modern architecture and traditional Rajasthani elements. The use of deep-seated verandas for diffused sunlight and double height spaces for cooler ventilation uplifted the liveability of the four-acre site, while the use of local wood, khas mats, and sandstone jalis brought in the historical context of the city of Jaipur.

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Nine Square House_©Ariel Huber
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Deep Set Verandas_©Ariel Huber
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Combination Designs_©Ariel Huber

6. House at Khandala

A simply laid two-wing residential plan topped by a dramatic roof structure creates the pleasing structure of the House at Khandala. With an emphasis on equalizing the indoor and outdoor spaces on this slightly sloped site, the architects decided on a humble and sustainable material palette to create the home with and allowed the heavy rainfall to dedicate the design of the roof, supported by branched columns that blend into the trees in the neighbourhood.

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House at Khandala_©Ariel Huber
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Humble Material Palette_©Ariel Huber
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Dramatic Roofs_©Ariel Huber

7. The Screen House 

With the intention of creating a micro-climate within the heat of the city, the Screen House was designed with an extensive landscaped space in its backcourt. The simple structure of the House is off-setted by the use of a steel frame and large wooden louvres on the second level – which would allow easy cooling in the bedrooms, ventilation and an unobstructed view of the mesmerizing backyard. The lotus pond in front of the house and the swimming pool behind it aid in the creation of this micro-climate.

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The Screen House_©Ariel Huber
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Creating a micro-climate_©Ariel Huber
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Screens and screening_©Ariel Huber

8. D12, Mumbai

Remodelled from an existing home in the heart of Mumbai, D12 retained one slab of its original structure. The material palette highlighted exposed concrete in this small residential building, and the use of double-height glazing provided it with the look of lightness while also connecting to the existing greenery in the neighbourhood.

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D12 House_©Ariel Huber
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Look of lightness_©Ariel Huber
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Exposed Concrete_©Ariel Huber

9. House at Vasco, Goa

Using an open courtyard instead of an enclosed courtyard, the architects at Opolis modulated the volumes of the House at Vasco to connect the inside to the outside and used several locally available materials to beat the climate of the city. The layout lies clearly as a separation of a public and a private bay. The thin, long roof seems to float over the house, giving it a lightweight appearance as well as additional light and ventilation opportunities.

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House at Vasco_©Ariel Huber
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Use of Courtyards_©Ariel Huber
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Lightweight Roofs_©Ariel Huber

10. House on the Ridge, Khadakwasla

True to its name, the House in the Ridge is a single, linear pavilion that has no front or back. One edge of the house is the entrance, and as the user climbs downwards towards the living spaces, they encounter a stunning 12-meter wise seamless view of the valley side, fronted by the long, covered veranda of the house.

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House on Ridge_©Ariel Huber
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Seamless Views_©Ariel Huber
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Playing with levels_©Ariel Huber

11. House at Bhavnagar 

The existence of an orchid of trees on the site allowed the House at Bhavnagar to be built not as a single block but as a combination of indoor and outdoor spaces. The house was moulded by the architects to create numerous courtyards, open water bodies and light wells, each anchoring into or visually connecting to an indoor bay or wing. This communication of the inside with the outside is enhanced by the trees, which are an integral part of each space.

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House at Bhavnagar_©Ariel Huber
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Use of existing trees_©Ariel Huber
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Inside and Outside_©Ariel Huber

12. House at Kamshet

Designer linearly overlooking a lake, the House at Kamshet is divide into smaller spaces through the modulation of scale and natural light allowed into each room. This also created rooms for walkways and pause points. The house opens up on the lake end into a long veranda.

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House at Kamshet_©Ariel Huber
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Long Veranda_©Ariel Huber
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Sitting on the site_©Ariel Huber

13. Villa at Aamby Valley 

Inspired by the Japanese architectural concept of borrowed landscape, the Villa at Amby Valley, Lonavala, imbibed the visual connectivity of the site to its nearby lake and mountains into the landscape of the house – the common spaces of the house, centered around the living room, open up into the landscaped outdoor, with a majestic backdrop of the Western Ghats. The use of local Black Basalt Stone and a thin steel structure to support the roof provides the house with the visual of short, heavy walls and a lightweight cover to the entire structure.

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Villa at Amby Valley_©Ariel Huber
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Heavy Structure and Light Roofs_©Ariel Huber
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Borrowed Landscape_©Ariel Huber

14. Weekend Home in Maharashtra

A house designed in Browns and Blacks, this Weekend Home at Maharashtra sides on a steep hill, looking out towards the valley. A dynamic roof structure built in the same colours lifts up from the structure towards the valley, imitating the language of the mountains.

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Weekend House in Maharashtra_©Aravindan Arunagiri
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Browns and Blacks_©Aravindan Arunagiri
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Intimate Spaces_©Aravindan Arunagiri

15. Introvert House, Coimbatore

A tight plot in a dense neighbourhood led the architects to design the inverse, or the Introvert House. With a courtyard in the centre and all rooms turned to face towards it, the outer facades of the house each look blank, with minimal fenestration and large screens.

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The Introvert House_©Rahul Gore
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Small outside openings_©Rahul Gore
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Interior Openings_©Rahul Gore

Conclusion

What started out as a firm focused on residential architecture has today grown into an internationally recognized architectural standard in India. With the faultless combination of modern architectural methods with the Indian roots of materiality, climate and layout, Opolis Architects stands today as an epitome of clarity and focus in the ever-expanding field of Architecture.

References:

  1. ArchDaily Website (https://www.archdaily.com/office/opolis-architects
  2. _Opolis Instagram Page (https://www.instagram.com/_opolis/
  3. _Opolis Architects’ Website (https://opolis.in/
Author

A young architect turned to the world of writing through poetry, Nupur looks to bring together science and creativity at its core – through architecture. She believes that the built environment is the primary influencer of every person’s life, and the un-built, in-between spaces are where humankind grows as a species.

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