Madh Island House
Madh Island, India
The site of this bungalow was selected by the architect, whose design called for the creation of three vaults on the site. The extrados of the vaults were then filled with earth, converting the roof into a continuous, traversable garden of roughly the same size as the house. Punctures throughout the garden/roof were sometimes capped by glass-chip domes that brought light in the living areas below. Although the structure would have been camouflaged by the site's dense palms, the architect increased this density by planting new species.

This house has rustic surface treatments and almost primitive, cave-like interiors. The sandstone slabs used for cladding the intrados of the vault are 3 meters in length and 50mm thick. Work on the 10-foot tall central vault was started at both sprin points and culminated as it progressed towards the center. Two smaller vaults flank it on either side, containing the service functions of the servant's quarters and the kitchen area. The extrados of these vaults were later filled with earth for the roof garden; in spite of the heavy structural frame of the building, these three vaults stand (2008) with no sign of failure. The flooring of the main living area is clad in the same sandstone as the intrados, and has earth-filled strips planted with vegetation.

Unusual materials and design touches appear throughout the building: the garden's glass skylight domes were made from broken glass chips, marbles, stained glass, and broken beer bottles. Throughout the house, stone is found in the form of broken chips, glued to cement-coated surfaces. On the same surfaces, small ceramic facial portraits appear along the stone. The terrace has a vaulted canopy made from thin nylon strings and mother-of-pearl shells; the current canopy was a later addition. (The original design also called for a mother-of-pearl canopy, but one suspended in tension over the roof garden). Another unusual feature is a swing in the main living area, suspended through an elliptical opening in the roof. The house also contains several terracotta sculptures and pots, as well as art works in media ranging from earthenware to metalwork.

The history of the bungalow's design is also unusual: its construction was delayed when the architect disappeared without notice, reappearing four years later. Ultimately, it remains unfinished, as work on the house ceased at the time of the architect's death in 1993.


Gore, Rahul. 1996. The Works of Nari Gandhi. Graduate Thesis, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad.

Hawker, Michael. 2007. "Celebrating the Works of Nari Gandhi." Friends of Kebyar: November 2007.
Merchant, P. 1992. "Art and Architecture By the Sea." Inside/Outside: No. 87, April 1992.
Madh Island, Mumbai, Madh Island, India
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Associated Names
Variant Names
Dawood's Bungalow
Daya's Bungalow
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