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yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

India Architecture News - Sep 23, 2020 - 11:29   3202 views

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

yh2 and Edifice Consultants have completed a resort and spa complex on the Indian Himalayas in Rishikesh, India

Indian Himalayas is a steep mountain landscape through which the sacred Ganges River meanders, is a nature that supersedes all human construction.

Named Complex Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa, Uttarakhand, the resort is informed by "rugged mountain topography and the locally available materials" to form the idea of this project.

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

For the development of the hotel complex Taj Rishikesh, it was this modesty in face of the grandiosity of the place that guided the architects' approach. 

"The project was developed following a trip to the Indian Himalayas, where we studied the traditional vernacular architecture developed over millennia," said the architects. 

"This architecture evolved in response to the rugged mountain topography and the locally available materials, and this established the foundation of the project."

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

The resort, located 250 km north-east of New Delhi, incorporates the main hotel block and a series of villas on a vast and steep site overlooking the Ganges River. The site layout is inspired by traditional Himalayan villages, anchored around a Darbargadh, the traditional residence of local rajas or lords.

The Darbargadhs are used as a combination fortress-palace-temple, and offer at their heart a walled courtyard that ensures the protection of the villagers in times of war, and serves as a gathering place for community life in harmonious times.

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

Created in the image of a traditional Darbargadh, the main block of the hotel overlooks the valley and provides a central location for gathering all the main services of the resort: the reception, restaurant, bar, boutique, library, and more.

The villas, as in a traditional Himalayan village, are laid out as a series of pavilions built on a succession of stepped terraces kept in place by massive stone retaining walls. 

This stratification of the site in successive levels offers each villa a private view of the mountain panorama and the majority with framed views of the Ganges River.

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

The architecture of the project takes advantage of the materials found locally: river stones for the retaining walls, slate for the roofs and flooring, and large wooden frames for the joinery. Traditional Himalayan construction techniques intermix stone walls with vast cantilevered cedar beams. 

This traditional building style called Kath-Kuni has been reinterpreted here with modern materials, with steel replacing the cedar beams that are now banned from exploitation in the Himalayas.

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

A long sinuous central pathway unites the property, winding through the different plateaus and leading to the various buildings of the resort complex. 

From the national highway at the top of the site, this long ribbon gently unfolds, connecting the main hotel block on the top plateau to the villas on the intermediate terraces. 

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

The path then travels further down to the yoga and spa pavilions at a lower plateau, only to end its journey at the swimming pool and restaurants that directly overlook the beach on the banks of the Ganges. 

This serpentine line of light-colored gravel winds elegantly through the site, just as the Ganges meanders through the Indian Himalayas.

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

Site plan

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

Floor plan

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

Longitudinal section

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

Section-elevation

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

Elevation

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

Elevation

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

Elevation

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

Elevation

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

Elevation

yh2 and Edifice Consultants' resort and spa complex inspired by rugged mountain topography in India

Sections

Project facts

Location: Rishikesh, India

Area: 79 rooms and villas - 150 000 sq ft

Construction period: 2011-2020

yh2 design team: Marie-Claude Hamelin, Loukas Yiacouvakis, François Bélanger, Marianne Vézina

Architects in India: Edifice consultants

Interior designer: Eco-id architects

Landscape architect: Burega Farnell

Lighting consultant: GA Design

Developer and contractor: Darrameks Hotels & Developers Pvt. Ltd

Structural engineer: S.V. Damle

All images © Maxime Brouillet

All drawings © yh2 and Edifice Consultant 

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