Designers of architectural spaces and landscapers often leave common sense and practicality completely out of their work, desiring only aesthetics to become of paramount significance instead. Well at this beautiful location of Montalvo where the 10 studio homes are built on the slope of a hill, it is unfortunate to see that the same folly and lack of wisdom has come into play where common sense and practicality has been given a slip, whilst designing this beautiful art center!
I am currently laid up after a nasty fall on the concrete road that winds up the hill, with a busted knee and a sprained ankle; because the design of the road has a curved drain like indent that runs in the middle of this narrow road (!) making it a nightmare for all who walk on it at night. With no proper lighting your foot is being lured to slip and twist at any moment on the ascent or decent , as you walk.
The living spaces of the studio homes too in some instances have bathrooms and toilets that are on the ground floor and the bed room is on the second floor. In one studio home a spiral staircase on the outside connects the two levels (!) so you are obliged to get wet in the rain each time you scurry from the ground floor to the first floor; or if you need to use the loo! The kitchen sinks in all the 10 units are too small to wash even a standard sized plate and believe me there is no dearth of space available for this to be the reason of such utter stupidity.
As I sit with an ice pack on my swollen ankle and a bloodied knee I wonder what prompts us to create living spaces without functionality being the key factor. In Gujarat we have many well known architects, but when we built our home I chose to design every millimeter of the space myself. For me I believe that beauty and functionality should be attributes that are mutually compatible within architecture. I would give the Montalvo Art Centre full marks on beauty and fail them on functionality.