Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
RAAS Jodhpur in India – The Lotus Praxis Initiative
September 15th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Studio Lotus
RAAS – Hand crafting a story for today
Set in the heart of the walled city of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, RAAS is a 1.5-acre property uniquely located at the base of the Mehrangarh Fort.
The brief was to create a luxury boutique hotel with 39 rooms in the context of the Old city quarter of Jodhpur. This has been translated into a project where there is a dialogue between the old and the new. Luxury was about being authentic both in terms materials and workmanship, and in providing visitors a tactile and sensual experience within the historical context of the old city of Jodhpur without aping the old.
The property was inherited with three, beautiful period structures, (17th-18th centuries) which have been painstakingly restored with traditional craftsman in the original materials such as lime mortar and Jodhpur sandstone.
36 rooms have been created, spread over 3 contemporary buildings, (using the same materials and skills as the traditional buildings) inserted into the site in a manner that they frame the visual and spatial relationship among the old buildings and the Fort, creating a dialogue between the old and the new.
Inspired by the age-old double skinned structures of the region, (the traditional stone latticed jharokha forms of Rajasthani architecture – which perform multiple functions of passive cooling and offering privacy to the user) these buildings act as lanterns framing the site. The drama of the stone jaali (lattice) is heightened by the fact that these panels can be folded away by each user to reveal uninterrupted views of the fort, or can be closed for privacy and to keep the harsh Jodhpur sun out.
Crafted by over a hundred regional artisans and master-craftsmen, the development – building and interiors – is conceived and executed using the fundamentals of sustainable architecture. 70% of the materials and people used on site have been sourced locally, most within a 30 km radius. Every element is handcrafted with a focus on simplicity, and function – beauty being the skill and care of the craftsperson that has gone in to creating the piece. Materials include hand cut stone, poured in situ pigmented cement terrazzo on floors, walls and as furniture. Locally crafted furniture and cabinets were made in sheesham (a local Indian hardwood).
The large central courtyard houses the three restored heritage buildings. These become nodes, shared spaces such as dining areas, a spa and break away spaces, to be enjoyed by all the guests. These also house 3 heritage suites.
All the services have been planned with Green methods and technologies.
All the rainwater runoff from the buildings and rest of the site is being harvested through pits that are an integral part of the landscape.
100% of the wastewater generated is reused at site using a Sewage treatment plant.
The fact that Jodhpur is one of the sunniest cities in India has been harnessed and all hot water in guest rooms is solar heated.
The air-conditioning system is Variable Refrigerant Volume based which is amongst the greenest technologies available currently for air conditioning and enjoys a Platinum LEEDS rating.
Ambrish Arora of Lotus, who was invited by the Client to take on the project, further invited Rajiv Majumdar of Praxis Inc. Bangalore, to join the team as a collaborator to enrich the design process. He felt that they together would bring on board a diverse skill set and experience, which ended up making the project what it finally became.
This was the first step in making the project very special in the manner in which enriching collaborations kept getting formed between all stakeholders.
Lotus is a multidisciplinary design practice whose work seamlessly weaves Interior and Exterior spaces, from large Architectural ideas to the smallest of Furniture details.
Lotus works on the principles of Conscious design – an approach that celebrates local resources, cultural influences and a keen sensitivity to the impact on all stakeholders. The firm prides itself on its collaborative work environment, which brings the best out from within the team of 47 talented and highly committed individuals from multiple disciplines, working together in the domain of Interior Design & Spatial Narratives.
Praxis is a design practice based in Bangalore that works in the diverse fields of architecture, interior design and urbanism. All projects at Praxis are a result of extensive research and design ideation which challenges orthodox architectural design and established methodologies. For the 30 member team of architects, interior designers, visualizers and graphic designers at Praxis, every project is an opportunity to address related issues (site, climate, client, program and budget) from a fresh perspective. Praxis’ oeuvre currently spans across design for institutions, hospitality and commercial projects, residential projects and high value private residences.
Contact The Lotus Praxis Initiative