Anagram Architects is an international award-winning design firm established by architect Vaibhav Dimri and architect Madhav Raman in New Delhi. Their work attempts to enrich elemental modernity with intensive research into traditional as well as non-conventional practices. One such project is the new resort project at Amghari, Uttarakhand.
The resort near Jim Corbett, wildlife reserve is intended to be a high-end green development for tourists and will include cottages, guest rooms, restaurant and amenities such as a spa and swimming pool. The entire site area is about 5.88 acres with approximately 8% of the site area to be built-up area. The surrounding area is dominated by Sal and teak trees along with mango, bamboo and rosewood. Also there is a layer of shorter trees and evergreen shrubs. Being a moist deciduous forest, the trees have the tendency to shed their leaves in dry seasons. Hence, landscaping becomes a key factor of the project.
The delicate warm temperate ecology of the region is threatened by two types of natural calamities, landslides and forest fires. Both these ravages are further exacerbated due to uncontrolled erosion during the wet seasons, seasonal denudation of foliage during the hot and dry seasons and anthropogenic deforestation and environmental degradation. Also, being on the foothills raises the issues of top soil erosion and water runoff.
As a model development for green resorts, the project seeks to preserve the sense of place, local culture and be environmentally sensitive. Therefore, the project is designed to not only preserve but also actively rejuvenate the ecology of the site while being sensitive to local culture and context. The design aims to address these issues at site planning level in turn creating a micro climate for the users.
Various strategies for soil stabilization, waste and water management and bio-diversification have been deployed.
• Catchment Distribution: First, suitable water catchment points were located on site. These were developed with peripheral reed-bed plantations and sedimentation tanks for grey water, runoff and harvested rainwater treatment.
• Contour Remediation: The terraces of this erstwhile agricultural land are remediated through curving topographical manipulations so as to feed the catchment ponds and to drastically reduce the runoff velocity and erosion of topsoil. The design also ensures controllable intake and overflow into the two seasonal streams on site through check-dams and flues at various points on site.
• Biological Reclamation: Large scale plantation of native species is planned in order restore the natural flora and fauna of the site. Deciduous plantations are strategically located to enhance shade on paths and living units during the summer while ensuring penetration of the winter sun. A detailed plan has been developed for promoting undergrowth and aromatic plants and herbs to attract pollinator birds and insects.
• The units are designed on the basic idea of creating personal envelops which not only provide a private space but also a sense of security.
• Construction of the living units extensively uses stone excavated during site re-contouring as well as from nearby landslides. Traditional masonry techniques in these local materials have been deployed.
• The units are further clustered to derive common open spaces for the users.
• The continuous green roof over the single rooms is designed to provide a larger multi-utility space and a constant green skyline merging with the surrounding.
• Rain catcher umbrellas are key elements of landscape.