Jain Bungalow
Lonavla, India
Located on a sloping site, this house is designed to blend with the terraced gardens that begin above the entry level and slope downwards, following the stepped sectional profile of the house itself. These terraces are planted with numerous varieties of local plants and trees. A single large roof plane, dotted with dormer windows and covered with Mangalore tiles, has deep overhangs and creates a stepped profile that is accentuated by the mountainous backdrop. Radiating struts shoot up from the ground level to support these deep roof overhangs; other metal trusses emerge from the masonry walls to support the massive roof.

The Jain bungalow has a total of 9 rooms: a prayer room, a living room, a card room, a kitchen, a dining area, and four bedrooms. Situated at a lower elevation than the site boundary, the entry level houses a double-height living room, a kitchen and an arcuated prayer hall. One can enter the other areas of the house using the 600 mm wide straight-flight staircase that originates in the living room and runs centrally through the house, dividing it in two parts with rooms flanking each side on different levels. The staggered spatial arrangement of the bungalow was partially dictated by the existing trees on site. Internal courts on different levels are covered in transparent corrugated roofing sheets; these courts bind the stepped and disconnected arrangement of independent rooms together. Dormer windows overlooking the landscape around the bungalow also serve to visually unify these rooms.

The structure consists of stone masonry walls of varying sizes and colours, composed of igneous rocks from the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. The masonry walls are integrated with steel struts and trusses which then support the sloping roof. Walls of the internal courtyards are embellished with small chips of stones, similar to those of another Nari Gandhi work, the Moon Dust house in Versova. These courts also have planter beds built into the masonry walls that are covered with foliage during monsoon season. Openings throughout the house follow a semi-circular profile (for windows) and inclined parallelograms (for doors). The house not only attempts to blend with nature through its apertures, but also imitates natural forms in its structure through deep overhangs, radiating steel struts and the massive boulder walls.

Work progressed on the Jain bungalow very slowly due to its labor-intensive method of construction. Built without any working drawings or civil engineers to supervise the site's progress, Nari Gandhi maintained an ad hoc construction method even in the more experienced years of his practice.

As of Febuary, 2008, the Jain bungalow stands with some minor modifications made after its completion in 1992.


Hawker, Michael. 2007. "Celebrating the Works of Nari Gandhi." Friends of Kebyar: November 2007.
Bushy Village, Lonavla, India
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P.K. Jain's Bungalow
Usha Jain's Bungalow
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