Ambani house is a $1.8 billion tower overlooking Mumbai slums

ambani house view of mumbai slums

The Ambani house, the most expensive residential property in the world, towers over the Mumbai slums. Image: CC madpai/Flickr

Murkesh Ambani, an Indian billionaire, is moving into the largest, most expensive house in the world, built to his specifications. The $1.8 billion, 398,000 square foot tower, dubbed “Antilla” by its ostentatious owner, rises 567 feet above the Mumbai slums. The Ambani house is being derided for claiming it’s an environmentally friendly building and as a symbol of the growing divide between the minority of haves and the majority of have-nots in India.

Inside the Ambani house

Ambani is India’s richest person and number four on the Forbes list of world’s richest. Antilla has been billed the most expensive residential property in the world. It took more than seven years to build. Ambani’s wife, mother and three kids will be served by a staff of 600 in what Inhabitat calls an example of “excessive consumption, extreme wastefulness, and unsustainable living.” Antilla houses a health club with a gym and dance studio, a swimming pool, a ballroom, guestrooms, numerous lounges and a 50-seat movie theater. Three helicopter pads fit on the roof. A 160-car parking garage takes up several ground floors. Each floor has ceilings more than twice as high as considered normal, making the 27-story structure as high as a 60-story building.

Sustainable architecture questioned

Ambani’s attempts at sustainable architecture consisted of using Indian companies, contractors, craftsmen and materials firms, according to a Forbes Antilla profile. The building’s “green” attributes include trees growing inside and hanging gardens on the exterior called “living walls.” Sarah Rich at Inhabitat said that in Mumbai, a city of 13 million people, claims that Antilla is a green building are a deceptive facade. Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising future generations. Rich writes that sustainability is about humanity as much as greenery. Living walls don’t translate to environmental integrity.

Ambani’s Antilla backlash

Ambani will throw a housewarming party on Oct. 28. The Australian reports that guests arriving from around the world will pass through miles of Mumbai slums to reach Ambani’s Antilla. Critics are saying that even maharajas of centuries past showed more restraint than Ambani. Antilla is a glaring reminder that India’s economic renaissance is heaping more on a small number of filthy rich “Bollygarchs,” while 800 million Indians live on about $1.60 a day.

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