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Residences and Workshops “Mumbai Artist Retreat”

Sustainability and Resilience

Architecture BRIO

Residences and Workshops “Mumbai Artist Retreat”
By Caterina Testa -

Headquartered in Mumbai, Architecture Brio is the professional union of Shefali Balwani, born in India, and Robert Verrijt, born and educated in The Netherlands.

This meeting of Indian and European culture is reflected in their numerous projects, built for the most part in India.
The country’s extraordinary variety of landscapes, climates, materials, cultures, economic and social conditions makes design an always-unique experience difficult to synthesize in a formula or design method. For those able to grasp its rich complexity, Indian territory offers countless solutions and potential.

Architecture Brio’s design for the Mumbai Artist Retreat is the firm’s response not just to contingent demand and place, but to cross-cutting issues about building and practicing architecture in India and elsewhere. Issues concerning the future of an extremely fragile ecosystem, low ecological footprint construction, and flexible, adaptable solutions consistently guided every aspect of the design.

The site chosen for the Mumbai Artist Retreat is located on the far side of Mumbai Bay. Despite the attractiveness of the nearby coast and sea, poor connections to the metropolis have preserved the agricultural and rural character of the area chosen for the project. Contact with nature and distance from the city’s frenetic rhythms were crucial conditions for the promoter of the venture, who conceived the complex as a place that brings different artistic expressions together, where people can immerse themselves in nature and come together as a community dedicated to art and ecology. The project is sited in a coconut palm plantation near the beach. Like many coastal areas around the world, the flipside of the beauty of this landscape is its extreme fragility: like many other stretches of coastline, rising sea levels jeopardize the ongoing existence of this ecosystem.

The practice’s design began with the...

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