Architect Morris Schindler designed the home using the principles of Maharishi Sthapatya Veda, an Indian system of architectural planning based upon the world’s most ancient interpretations of natural law and how they relate to building design.
|Designed in harmony with the principles of the ancient Indian system of architectural design known as Sthapatya Veda, this vacation retreat in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains features an east-facing entry.
“We really wanted a home that was different,” says Terry Nevas of the 3,580-square-foot “Veda” home that she and husband Bernie use as their vacation retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The difference, however, is not one of style or amenities, but in the subtle yet profound distinction of “how well the house lives.”
Architect Morris Schindler designed the home using the principles of Maharishi Sthapatya Veda, an Indian system of architectural planning based upon the world’s most ancient interpretations of natural law and how they relate to building design. According to Schindler, when these “fundamental laws of the natural universe” are applied to modern residential design, the house provides an environment that promotes health, happiness and good fortune for its occupants.
|While the principles of Sthapatya Veda do not determine the architectural style of a house, they do promote the use of natural materials wherever possible for its construction.
Applied to modern commercial and residential structures, these principles have exacting rules on how a structure is to be oriented and scaled, and even on the materials to be used for its construction.
The Connecticut couple had visited another Veda house in Canada, and Nevas says that experience convinced them to pursue this design concept for their home. “It was a very modest but peaceful place. I decided right then and there that’s the kind of home that everyone should have,” she says.
Maharishi Sthapatya Veda architecture does not determine the specific style of the house. Vedic houses can range from traditional New England clapboard such as this residence to ultracontemporary. They all share numerous features, however, including an east- (most preferable) or north-facing main entry, a central Brahmasthan and a meditation room.
|Located at the mathematical center of the house, the Brahmasthan is considered to be the most calm and cosmically connected portion of the interior.
The couple chose a courtyard site in the spiritually oriented resort community of Heavenly Mountain in Boone, N.C. The community features primary and secondary residences ranging from 700-square-foot condominiums to 8,000-square-foot estates — all designed according to Maharishi Sthapatya Veda architecture.
Builder Tony Ray, who constructed this project, has been building Veda homes for more than six years. “There is no question that these homes are attuned to providing a good living environment for their owners,” he says, noting that the demand for Veda homes in his area has increased every year. Most, he says, are constructed within Heavenly Mountain, although he has also built Veda houses on scattered sites outside the resort.
Ray says his firm has gradually made the transition from building 10 to 15 midrange Sthapatya Veda homes per year to several million-dollar custom projects annually.
|The use of natural materials within the house eliminates the possibility of "sick building syndrome," a common occurrence in contemporary structures, according to Lipman. This home's master bath is designed to immerse the homeowner in "nature."
“These types of houses can be tricky to build because of all the factors that influence their design and construction,” he says. For example, the direction the house faces is of primary importance because of the Vedic specification that the home’s entrance be oriented to the sun. “Depending on the lot, this may be difficult to accomplish, especially when complicated by accessibility factors such as roads and driveways.” The steep slopes and rocky terrain of the local topography can further complicate things, he adds.
“They can also be more costly in terms of bringing in electricity and water supply,” Ray says, “because there are Vedic standards about this as well.”
This home features a traditional floor plan with the exception of a sunlit Brahmasthan at its core. Calculated as the mathematical center of the structure, this area is architecturally distinguished from the rest of the house. This central core should provide outdoor views in the four directions of the compass and is often open to the sky. In this home, the Brahmasthan culminates in a cupola that serves a dual purpose: illuminating the home’s spiritual “center” and enhancing natural ventilation, replacing traditional air conditioning.
|The home features a formal living room that is accessed directly from the Brahmasthan. French doors provide privacy for the connecting meditation room.
The home features a large living room, an office and a meditation room on the main floor. Three second-floor bedrooms revolve around the open light well created by the Brahmasthan.
A combination of natural and “healthy” materials including marble, maple hardwood floors and nontoxic carpeting was incorporated.
Thrilled with the results of their endeavor, the homeowners are building another Sthapatya Veda home in Connecticut that will serve as their primary residence.
Completed in August 1999, this home had hard construction costs of $175 per square foot.
Builder | Ray Ventures Inc., Boone, N.C.
Architect | Design Build Associates Inc., Boone, N.C., and Philadelphia
Architectural Consultant | Maharishi Global Construction LLC, Fairfield, Iowa
Major Products Used | Appliances: Jenn-Air; Whirlpool Gold | Cabinetry: Custom | Countertops: Marble | Exterior Finish: Cedar Clapboard | Flooring: Marble; Wood; Carpet | Plumbing Fixtures: Grohe; Kohler | Roofing: Cedar Shingles