Abridged version of the text featured in GA Houses 119, January 2011
The Rajasthani city of Ajmer is an important destination on the Muslim pilgrimage trail and its suburb Pushkar also bears huge religious significance for Hindus. With a complex, dense and at times chaotic urban grain, despite its mofussil flotsam Ajmer exudes a slow pace of life. Pensioners typically retire to Ajmer, eager to enjoy its adjacency to both the Aravali foothills and lake below and retreat into laid back twilight years.
The House is a residence for its architect's elderly parents and their visiting sons, daughter and grand children. Conceived as an exercise in the optimal use of space, detail and material, these are refined to their bare essentials. The $22,000 house fits snugly into a humble plot left over by the ramshackle development of Ajmer's fringes.
With a small budget and a meager 8m x 20m site, the arrangement of the house is derived from an aspiration to enhance the tight spaces afforded by the plot's footprint. It becomes an investment of economic invention throughout both its conception and form, an attempt to celebrate the banality of design restricted by a harsh budget and deliver the most economical concrete house in the world.