On an area of 22 acres, Edifice Consultants have translated the vision of Canadian architects YH2’s master plan and concept along with Eco-ID interiors and Joel Burega landscape architects into the Taj Rishikesh Resort and Spa at the foothills of the Himalayas in India.
The main block of the hotel that overlooks the valley creates the image of a traditional Darbargadh, providing a central location for gathering all primary services of the resort, such as reception, restaurant, bar, boutique, and library, among others.
The central courtyard plays a vital role in binding all functional spaces together.
Local materials such as stone for cladding the structure as well as hardwood battens for the ceiling and carved wood as bands were used.
The naturally lit open corridors allow functional spaces a properly ventilated outdoor environment and views to lush, green nature.
The main entrance opens on either side and flows into different functional spaces.
The basement has services and parking, while the lowest part of the site, which has a steep drop, houses the swimming pool with an infinity edge overlooking the river Ganges like a natural extension of the sacred body of water.
The restaurant is placed at the highest point on the site and carves out unmatched panoramic views of the turning river, achieving a place of relaxation and repose suspended in mid-air.
Sustainability was considered throughout, as well as respect for local architecture and emphasis on creating a conducive space for relaxing.
The interior spaces are designed to be extensions of the exteriors.
Each of the brightly daylight-lit rooms has a view of the river flowing in the valley below.
Even the sound of the flowing river can be heard, and one can smell the aromatic local flora.
Such elements were integrated into the architecture as much as building materials and spatial concepts.
From the start of the project, material studies played a role in the design process and the team researched techniques for classing the concrete structure with large 220-millimeter thick stones.
The solution was found in devising an ingenious technique to hold the traditional stone wall in place using modern drywall cladding techniques.
This process entailed using a single continuous metal strand weaving through the whole surface of stones.
The wall technique ensures that there is a temperature difference between the exterior and interior.
The whole of the roof is covered with a 6-millimeter thick black slate that has been fixed to the metal framing below.
Solar panels generate hot water, which is also recirculated back into the system, and STP system placed on the lower level provides the water required for the landscape.
No water is discharged away from the site, maintaining the water table and overall ecosystem for the site.
Sustainability thus has multi-folded aspects in this project.
First, there is an aspect of social sustainability, in understanding and taking a responsible attitude toward the built environment of the region, complementing its typology and spatial structures.
Secondly, sustainability is addressed in the use of materials, which were mostly sourced regionally and were treated to reflect their true character, texture, and color.
One of the biggest design challenges was in translating the material idiosyncrasies from the typically small-scale traditional village home into a large resort scale.
A strategy was devised to ensure that the vernacular was faithfully translating into a structurally safe as well as visually striking result.
Instead of standing out in its surroundings, the Taj Rishikesh connects with them.
Project: Taj Rishikesh, Resort & Spa
Architects: Edifice Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
Design Team: Radhika Dey, Pallavi Jitkar, Binu Kuriakose, Akshata Bane, Kolathu Baskaran
Project Manager: Mihir Bhatt
Concept Architect: YH2 Canada
Interior Designer: Eco-ID, Singapore
Structure: S V Damle
MEP Services: AECOM
Facility Planner: HPG Consulting
Lighting: Kiran Ganti
Landscape Architects: Joel Burega
Client: Darramecks hotels Pvt. Ltd – Arjun Mehra
Photograph Credits: Bharath Ramamrutham