A Modern Yet Tropical Home | RGP Architects

A modern, yet tropical home set in a lush coconut plantation is the 5600 sq.ft new home for Mr. Vachan Shetty and Mrs Rashmi Shetty. The house is reminiscent of “Guthu mane”, a traditional Mangalorean House, though with a modern twist.

The architect has revived the essence of a traditional tropical home with a desire for contemporary design, which was key in developing a floor plan for the home.

Spacious rooms, landscape outdoors, glass walls, French doors, wooden decks, terraces, water bodies and high-pitched, suspended Mangalore tiled roofs make for a charming retreat to which one can come home. The materials used for the construction of the house, like Karkala stone, Mangalore tiles, brass, wood, structural steel and glass, in conjunction with natural materials like clay tiles and wood, are sourced locally. The materials complement the design immensely and resonate with the rural landscape the house is set in. 

The open plan of the house has a minimalist design and allows one space to flow seamlessly into another, while also creating public and private spaces for the family. This spatial flow has been achieved by minimising wall separation that facilitates light and cross-ventilation into the house.

The four-bedroom house is approached by a beautiful Karkala stone walkway that runs along the front of the house uncovering a stone feature wall, sculpture garden and a picture-perfect fish pond that leads to the main sit-out area of the house. The spacious sit-out is made to look like a light stone bridge that appears to be floating on water, and is covered by Mangalore tiled roof, which reflects the rich heritage of the tropical homes.

One cannot miss the brass-inlaid sun pattern on the light coloured floor of the sit-out that adds character to the space. The main entrance of the house has a remarkable intricately carved wooden door, and a Vakhil bench (yet another commonly found feature in the traditional “Guthu” house). 

The ground floor plan is designed as an open working and living space, which extends to the outdoors at the foyer and dining spaces. The central foyer connects the living room, dining room and the staircase. The foyer and dining spaces form a pavilion-like area of double height, which is spanned by a large, pitched roof, and which open out to the landscape.

The design exhibits a gentle transition of spaces from indoor to outdoors through wooden decks and terraces that create cosy, semi-outdoor areas that gives one a feeling of being outside when they are actually inside. The dining space features a common wash area, which is an attractive feature. The contemporary design of the sink, which sits beside the courtyard, complements the bright space, and instantly adds character and charm. The living room is a private area, tucked away in the north-eastern corner of the house. 

The ground floor also accommodates the master and guest bedrooms, with attached bathrooms and walk-in closet spaces. The pristine white walls and the white vitrified tiled floors not only provide a serene backdrop with a bright and spacious ambience, but also accentuate the wooden and brass members. Some splendid elements such as large windows, glass walls, increased floor heights and skylights blend and augment the internal spaces. These make allowance for soft daylight to permeate and well-ventilated spaces that provide respite in the hot and humid weather of Mangalore. 

These elements provide a visual connect to the beautiful landscape outside, of which one can savour the views whilst being indoors. The first floor plan is simple yet elegant.

It has two bedrooms with attached bathrooms and walk-in closets. The first floor retains a connection to the rest of the house through the double-height spaces. The first floor is also punctuated by spacious balconies and terraces that provide a quiet sanctuary in which to spend some time. The various spaces are peppered with patterned rugs, sculptures, potted plants and some tasteful furniture with colourful upholstery which add warmth to the place. 

The house is endowed with bright, voluminous and airy spaces with well-designed outdoor landscaping that bring out a tropical and contemporary charm to the house. The design of spaces is mellifluous. While the materials used not only have an aesthetic appeal, they also regulating indoor temperatures, especially in the hot and humid Mangalore weather.


Name of the project: Vaaridhi

Location: Mangalore

Status: completed 2019

Built up area: 5600sq.ft

Design Firm: RGP Architects

Principal Architect: Rachana Maroli

Photography: Shamanth Patil

Rachana Maroli
Formed in 2016, RGP Architects is a collaborative vision of two young professionals with similar frame of mind and a great level of curiosity. Rachana Maroli is the principal Architect of RGP design studio, is an alumnus of Dayananda Sagar School of Architecture Bangalore. She is known for her one-of-a-kind designs that reflects her zeal and passion. Managing director Guru Prasad is a civil engineer from Manipal Institute of Technology, holding a degree in interior designing is the definition of customary finesse.

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