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.
WELCOME HOTEL in Jodhpur, India by Malik Architecture
October 2nd, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: MALIK Architecture
Mansingh resort has been conceptualized as an Oasis that alleviates the visitor from the parched, harsh landscape. It rises from the sand dunes as a beacon to tourists much in the same way as Oases were to wandering travelers of the past. Like an Oasis the landscape is very integral to the design. The site spreads out like a series of pavilions around landscaped courts.The project has a number of local points of interest in the vicinity like Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace, and Jaswant Thada. The city is known as the Sun City for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all year. It is also referred to as the Blue City due to the blue tinge of the whitewashed houses around the Mehrangarh Fort.
The site is strategically situated on the outskirts of Jodhpur, away from the over crowded city center yet easily accessible. Jodhpur is the second largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, which post Independence emerged as one of the premier tourist destinations in India, featuring many palaces, forts and temples, set in the stark landscape of the Thar Desert. In recent years the handicrafts industry has also flourished in Jodhpur contributing a great deal to the economy of the state. It was formerly the seat of a princely state of the same name; it was the capital of the kingdom known as Marwar.
The project was conceptualized as a series of ‘Humane’ spaces, the courts reminiscent of the traditional ‘palace typology, the ‘Kund’ all woven together into a tapestry that echoes the timelessness of the thought and philosophy of India. The layout unfolds to visitors in a sequential ‘hierarchy of spaces’. The project is based on the principle of “Axial Planning”, with the main axis taking the visitor through a series of courts, landscaped gardens and water pools.
The design of the site incorporates a series of scattered courtyard spaces, each distinctly unique and rich in character providing appropriate pause points created out of local elements, represented in a contemporary way. The use of water bodies, sculptures and the vocabulary of the landscape create interesting spaces that merge with the overall design concept.
THE ENTRANCE COURT: The entrance court where visitors are received is the transitional space between the inside and the outside. This beautifully sculpted court which leads up to the entrance lobby is enclosed by intricately detailed stone walls. Traditional Rajasthani elements like the ‘Jantar Mantar’, the ‘Yantra’ symbol have been incorporated. To reduce the effect of paving landscape features like water bodies and well manicured lawns have been introduced.
THE LOBBY: The entrance lobby is reminiscent of the traditional floating pavilions as it is surrounded by water. Its façade has large fenestrations to visually bring in the landscape and give the visitor a sense of tranquility. The use of suspended marble ‘Jalis’ creates an interesting play of light and shadow. The Jali adds some amount of mystery to the space by adding a veiled effect to the lobby.
As you take in the interiors, the essence of Rajasthan is brought in through subtle elements like:
THE MAIN COURT: The main public court is surrounded by covered corridors that lead to the lobby, coffee shop, rooms, and other public spaces on one side and to the banquet area on the other side. The corridors are to be built in local traditional stone construction. Traditional Rajasthani symbols like the ‘Yantra’ have been incorporated.
RESTAURANT: The restaurant is replete with references to the traditional architecture and interior details of the region. Manually operated fans are used as decorative elements which help add color and character to the space. The walls are clad in rich warm-hued stone and the false ceiling; custom designed with traditional patterns diffuses the restaurant with a warm glow. All these elements aid in creating an ambience of quiet understated luxury and class.
The restaurant is accessed via a foyer, flanked on both sides by open- to-air courts. The restaurant opens onto a performance area on the North. This side of the restaurant is expressed almost entirely in glass. Both the courts and the performance area on the north side are visually connected to the restaurant through the wide expanses of glass thus enhancing the feeling of being part of the landscape while being seated in the restaurant.
The performance area is designed as a central water pool mounted on the extreme side by a single sheet of floating mass which acts as the stage. One side of this stage is flanked by outside seating covered by canvas canopies, where patrons can enjoy their meals while being soothed by the water nearby. The court subtly alludes to the performance areas so commonly seen in the old palaces of Rajasthan where kings and courtiers enjoyed cultural performances on cool summer nights.
BAR: In the bar extensive use of glass has removed the internal external visual barrier giving guests’ orchestrated views of the external courts. The bar counter is backed by a glass rack with bottles in it, that appear floating. The dance floor is flanked by clear glass on either side which makes the dance floor appear like its extending into the court beyond.
The bar within itself features a smaller library bar, which makes for a quiet drink and read. There is a central dance floor for those interested in partying & general merriment. The court just beyond the dance floor is for smokers without inconveniencing the other guests.
COFFEE SHOP: The coffee shop is designed as a main shop and placed in the main court in front of it, is a traditional pavilion with all its richness. This pavilion is the only element in the entire property where all the traditional features have been kept intact, almost as if the pavilion has existed on the spot for centuries and the property has been developed around it. There is a visual transparency between the main shop and the pavilion which allows the guest to experience the water featured between the two elements and the landscape in the court beyond.
The main shop is designed on the ‘MANDALA’ concept, with the space divided into nine squares. The central square is capped by a pyramidal roof cut slits fitted with slivers of glass which draw diffused light into the coffee shop. This pyramid is replicated in plan, in the flooring and false ceiling of the area. In the flooring the slits are represented by strips of white marble on a bed a green colored marble. The false ceiling panels present dynamic petal like forms when viewed from different points in the shop.
BANQUET COURT: This court presents us with a first glimpse of the property. Corridors constructed in traditional stone masonry flank the court on either side. The façade features circular fenestrations which act like vistas that look out onto the landscaped court.
A colonnade of monolithic stone frames leads one to the banquet hall which is accessed through an aptly proportioned pre-function area. The structural honesty expressed in the colonnade leads to an interesting study of light and shadow on the path, which is broken by the trellis above. The spirit of Rajasthan comes through in the fragmented details of the colonnade.
THE CEREMONIAL COURT: The ceremonial court is designed to host functions like weddings, community celebrations etc. This court enclosed by dense hedging (green buffer) on three sides and a high blank wall inlayed with ‘jali’ work on the fourth. The green buffer prevents transfer of noise to & from the court thus maintaining tranquility in and around the area.
THE ROOM BLOCKS: The façade treatment for the room blocks has been inspired from Mehrangarh Fort with the lower floors finished in paint and ‘Jali’ work on the upper floors.
ATRIUM: The atrium is a narrow triple height space where light is drawn in through glass slits in the ceiling. The ceiling is made of exposed stone slabs. The outside landscape is extended into this space with pathways to walk across. The ‘Jali’ work on the upper floors cast a patterned shadow on the ground which constantly changes as the day progresses.
ROOM: A conscious effort was made to create foyer like vestibules from which each room could be accessed which serve as an alternate to the dingy corridors so prevalent in hotels and resorts the world over. Designed while keeping in mind the need for space and light, these transitional spaces act as buffers between the public and the more private areas thus providing privacy and comfort in areas which can otherwise be impersonal and sterile. A floor length mirror creates the illusion of space and light while a small niche seating creates a cozy corner where patrons can relax and chat.
The essence of Rajasthan is brought in through fragmented detail like painting, artifacts, Indian seating system, etc. The headboard is inspired from the traditional weaving loom and woven fabric. The vaulted ceiling with squinch accentuates the height.
The climate of Jodhpur is generally hot and arid but with a rainy season from late June to September. Although the average rainfall is around 360 millimeters (14 in), it is extraordinarily variable. Temperatures are extreme throughout the period from March to October, except when monsoonal rain produces thick clouds to lower it slightly. During these periods of heavy rain, however, the generally low humidity rises and this adds to the normal discomfort from the heat.
The harsh extremes of the climate necessitated the study of sun directions, consequent placement of fenestration (most of which are deeply shaded, thick stone walls for insulation and the creation of semi-open landscaped courts that would permit the guests to enjoy the outdoors. The architecture of the property brings to life the ‘spirit’ of the city of Jodhpur. The exterior with its interplay of huge stone walls and intersecting planes, the complex geometry, the traditional ‘beige’ desert sandstones that are textured and juxtaposed into the overall composition and above all the play of light and shade, each echo in timeless association.
Physical comfort of the day depends mainly on a reduction of the intense radiation from the sun, ground and surrounding buildings. Breezes cannot be used to advantage indoors, unless the air is cooled and the dust filtered out.Both the buildings and the external living spaces need to be protected as much as possible from the intense solar radiation and the hot dusty winds.Trees, plants and water in the enclosed space will cool the air by evaporation, help to keep dust down and provide shade, visual and psychological relief.
This ‘feeling’ of familiarity with its surroundings is carried through into the interiors with the creation of multiple ‘courtyard’ spaces that gently filter suffused light into the circulation and waiting areas. Light is drawn through a fascinating array of skylights into the courts, from the ribbon of light that pours through the pyramid, to the sculptured skylights of the lobby. Light becomes ethereal as it gleams through tiny shafts (reminiscent of the temples) and generates a sublime and tranquil environment.
The direction of wind was exploited to encourage movement of breeze through the open spaces on site. Water sheets are used to bring the ambient temperature down by a few degrees. Shading devices are used to provide relief from the afternoon sun in the courtyards. Covered walkways carved from the structures made pedestrian movement climatically comfortable. The corridors are designed to create an intimate human scale which in turn provides shade.
LANDSCAPE: The oasis is a well knit ecosystem comprising of water and native flora. This provides an ideal habitat for animals like the black buck native to the region and humans in the scorching desert landscape. Creating an oasis attracts migratory birds that pollinate seeds in the surrounding areas thus adding to the macro level landscape of the neighboring area.Climatic conditions within a desert call for measures to protect and prevent destruction caused by dust/sand storms and heavy winds. For this, a layered approach of planting is done to make the best use of water and soil.
A screen of bougainvillea is used to guard the boundary against stray cattle and also filter the winds through the site. These hardy creepers bloom almost through year and are well suited for desert life. The next layer of trees that helps filter the sand/dust is planted a little off the site boundary. These are tall trees like date palms that shelter smaller fruiting trees underneath them from harsh sunlight and strong winds.
Moving further into the site the next layer of trees located in open spaces and courtyards mimic the orchard style with fruit trees that flower and are fragrant. Very limited lawns located only where they are used for social gatherings etc are provided. Drip irrigation of trees till they are established over a period of three years and local mulching methods will ensure that minimal water is used to maximum advantage.The oasis landscape is one of different possibilities and worlds. Just as the unique architecture weaves in the rich Indian traditions into contemporary design, the landscape entwines itself, enhancing, protecting and nurturing the built form.
SUSTAINABILITY AND GREEN MEASURE
Storm water Reuse: We have implemented rainwater harvesting and storm water management plan. These systems enable the reuse of all grey water within the site.Local and regional materials: 10% manufactured use of building materials and products manufactured within 500 mile radius of the site, thereby supporting regional economy and reducing the environmental impact of transportation of materials from areas further away.
Maintenance: The locally mined stone is ideal for the city situated close to the desert, with little or no rain to wash the structures once a year. Sandstorms are common and the light colour matches the color of the desert. Sandstone facades require very little maintenance.
Storage and collection of recyclable materials: We have made a provision to facilitate the collection, separation disposal of waste materials generated in the building. Separate areas have been earmarked on each floor with a common storage area within the site for collection and storage for materials like paper, glass, plastic etc., so as to facilitate recycling, thereby trying to reduce waste generated by building occupants which is hauled to and disposed off in landfills.
Solar panels: Solar panels have been provided on roofs. They will be used for outdoor lighting and heating purposes, thus reducing the energy consumption of the building.
Water efficiency: Conservation of water obtained from natural resources such as rain as well as from municipality supply has been considered in this project. The design takes into consideration the concept of rain water harvesting and hence, suitable provisions have been incorporated. The collected rainwater would be used for all non potable functions on the site such as landscaping and flushing.
Rain Water Harvesting: Harvesting rainwater can reduce the use of portable water for landscape irrigation. This coupled with the use of native plants can serve as an effective conservation tool.
Harvesting this water has not only reduced dependence on ground water and municipality water, but also reduced off-site flooding and erosion by holding the rain water.Ground water recharge can take place when large amounts of water percolate through pervious materials such as softscape and grass pavers.
Landscape: Efficient water management systems in the landscape such as drip irrigation for trees, is used to avoid wastage arising from sprinkler irrigation. Once the trees are established irrigation cycles are reduced greatly, thus conserving water.
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