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Hive: Sustainable family home at Surat, Gujarat by OpenIdeas

Project name:
Architecture firm:
Surat, Gujarat, India
Fabien Charuau & Panchkon
Principal architect:
Monarch Champaneri, Nilesh Gajera, Niralee Champaneri
Design team:
Monarch Champaneri, Nilesh Gajera, Niralee Champaneri, Vishal Patel, Sahil Soni, Nishant Chauhan, Jainika Patel, Manasi Hathiwala, Kashyap Parshala, Zeb Saiyed
Interior design:
Built area:
600 m²
Site area:
1250 m²
Design year:
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Structural engineer:
Environmental & MEP:
Ensemble (Mechanical Engineers), WNeuron (Electronics Engineers)
Tools used:
metal, wood, concrete, glass
Residential › House

The Ahmedabad-based multidisciplinary design studio OpenIdeas led by Monarch Champaneri, Nilesh Gajera & Niralee Champaneri has recently completed ''Hive'' a sustainable family home that is located at Surat, Gujarat, India

Architect's statement: Hive is conceived and designed as an intelligent, adaptable and sustainable family home at Surat, Gujarat. The form of the house is seeded in the profession of the client Kamalbhai Mistry — who is part of an extremely successful company engaged in making machines for the diamond industry.

The site is located in Vesu, an upcoming part of Surat. The plotted development has apartment complexes on the east and west plots. This particular project was part of four plots taken for the extended Mistry family. Being well-informed about architecture and given his core competency in mechanical engineering, the client was very clear about what he wanted as a ‘home’ — a smart structure rendered in metal and a ‘mono-space’ living area. Along with those primary thoughts, the client communicated an almost 90-point brief with inputs connected to diverse points — from structure, landscape, planning, materials, sustainability, insulation, HVAC and plumbing, along with entire year’s sun path study.

Hive: Sustainable family home at Surat, Gujarat by OpenIdeasimage © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

With the dominant presence of metal, the concepts of long span, light weight, a complex form and fast construction came on board, with the form itself being moulded by an in-depth analysis of external temperature, humidity, solar radiation, cloud cover and wind pattern. The architecture is expressed as an angular V-shaped structure oriented towards the green pockets spread around the house. The entrance creates a bridge and valley experience, with a sunken court and stepped garden, a linear arrival corridor and the walkable green roof with varying slopes. This roof technically acts as a thermal insulation, lowering the overall temperature of the interiors, while functionally doubles up as a congregational area for social gatherings.

The architectural presence, undoubtedly, is established by the solar sensor-based facade, which lies at an exciting intersection of art and engineering. Its geometry is inspired by the hexagonal structural patterns found in nature such as those of honeycombs and carbon crystals — giving the project its name. Analyzed as per the structure, function and mechanism, its design is based on structural strength, transformability and bio mimicry. The unique opening mechanism of the facade positions are derivatives of quality of light exposure and thermal comfort levels inside the house. Experientially, the modules create striking sciagraphy by casting patterns that change with the diurnal rhythm of the sun.


The internal programme has been conceived as open and fluid, both in plan and volume. Devoid of dividing partition walls, the fluid spaces on the ground floor have a sensorial segregation of public, private and semi-private zones through modulations in the outer envelope along with a bespoke sculptural entrance vestibule. The upper level, accessed via a sculptural staircase, accommodated two bedrooms. The connection to greens remains steadfast owing to the presence of a small garden attached to each bedroom. Materiality includes metal with SS powder coating for the facade, and wood and stone in the interiors to bring in the warmth of a home.

The inspiration for the envelope and several other elements in the house, say the architects, were found small, everyday things. While the façade mechanism was inspired by doors of airport buses, the structure of the stair (which spans seven metres and has a thickness of 38 mm) was taken from the structural formation of hexagonal dia-grid popular seen in Ikea furniture pieces. Similarly, the movement of radio antennae inform the window opening mechanisms and the ‘kadki door’ of forts (a door within a door) was replicated in the entrance.

For the architects, the speciality of this project lay in a client who was open-minded and intrepid, ready to experiment with ideas that didn’t have many precedents. The client viewed this building like a product/machines he deals in, which is why the insistence on ‘manufacturing’ it flawlessly. He wanted something unique in every detail which put lot of pressure on the design team to deliver and not fail their expectations. Therefore, all the ideas that went into its making were backed with intensive research and and prototyping.

This project has given the architects the confidence to think differently, think big — as well as engage in extensive research and detailing to give form to the dreams harbored during the designing phase.

modern house with metal facade image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

contemporary house with green landscape in India image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

garden design with green vegetation image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

Ground Floor Plan Ground Floor Plan 

First Floor Plan First Floor Plan 

metallic facade for a modern house image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

windows at the corner pf the wall image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

corridor with steel structure image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

tree near the house image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

garden with flowers image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

house with metallic facade surrounded with the green landscape image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

Hive: Sustainable family home at Surat, Gujarat by OpenIdeasimage © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

house with big garden image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

flower pots and grass at the backyard of the house image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

a black Mercedes car parked in the front of the house image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

modern house with illumination at night image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

sunlight enters the room through small hexagonal holes in the wall image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

shade and shadow of the house image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

metallic wall in the shape of hexagonal holes image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

honeycomb wall image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

metallic wall details image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

Hive: Sustainable family home at Surat, Gujarat by OpenIdeasimage © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

parametric furniture image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

parametric bench image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

cozy living room image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

living room with sofa image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

living room with comfortable sofa image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

L shape sofa image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

wooden wall image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

round side table image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

living room with luxury furniture image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

modern sofa design image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

dining table image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

barstools at kitchen image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

kitchen design image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

wooden dining table with windows view image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

corner windows with pattered curtain image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

sunlight hitting the chair trough windows image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

pendant lamps image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

modern staircase design image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

modern chair image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

bedroom designimage © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

leather chair image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

master bedroom design image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

luxury bedroom design image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

bedroom luxury furniture image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

wooden chair with fabric cushion image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

modern bathroom design image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

bathroom with black marble stone walls image © Fabien Charuau & Panchkon

Site PlanSite Plan

Exploded axonometric Exploded axonometric 

Elevation Elevation 

Section A-ASection A-A

Section B-BSection B-B

Section C-CSection C-C

Structure detail Structure detail 

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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