THEY don't exactly live in a cave,but Mehdi and Manni Latif's house in Hyderabad's posh Banjara Hills is built around a rock. "The plot was replete with huge and beautiful monolithic rocks exuding character. So we decided to merge the building with the site," says architect Shahrukh Mistry. The free-standing rocks stepped perfectly from floor to ceiling height at perfect right angles and are used as walls, the main accent of the entire house. The rocks had just to be benched to make them secure. Other than that, there was no cutting or any kind of alteration in the natural shapes. With soaring temperatures in Hyderabad, cross ventilation is a necessity and the problem of the rocks blocking circulation was solved with openings in the ceiling with funnels and fans to catch air and circulate it. The formal living room, shown in the picture, opens out into the garden situated at a descent. The roof of the living room forms the terrace for the bedroom that is placed squarely on the rock. Says Shahrukh: "Honestly, we didn't really need to do any interiors because of the rocks. We just had to let the rocks make the statement."