Gujarat, India _ Gir-Vihar Eco Resort: An Amalgamation Of Economic And Cultural Sustainability _ d6thD Design Studio
On the edge of Gir lion sanctuary, lies the Gir-Vihar, home to 20 cottages; designed by village-based architect Himanshu Patel from “d6thD” design studio with the overt principle of vernacular architecture in mind.
The concern for climate as well as economic and cultural sustainability has been looked to incorporate into the design without which sustainability may not work in the Indian context. Rather than spending millions on the best technology to create the greenest of the green buildings when very few Indians can associate with them and even fewer can afford them, the architect has come up with simple, established, and honest practices offered by vernacular architecture.
The old construction techniques like rubble stone-packed foundation, load-bearing walls, arches, dome, and pitched roofs have been used. Locally available materials like sandstone, bricks and terracotta tiles do not only serve to be economical but also attempt to someday instill a feeling of pride and belongingness among the visitors.
The site was actually a mango farm having trees at 30 feet intervals in a grid.
Considering the huge foliage of mango trees, it was very challenging to build cottages without chopping out the trees and this constraint of the site became the source of creativity and ingenuity.
The architect came up with triangular-shaped cottages which took the place around mango trees effortlessly and beautifies the scheme.
Also looking at an earthquake-prone zone of the site location, using a stable triangular form is a wiser choice especially when the entire structure is built with load-bearing walls out of locally found sandstone in order to minimize the use of cement concrete.
As one enters the site, one is welcomed with a distant eye-pleasing view of various plays of geometries and volumes but ambiguity and uncertainty hold one’s hand until one walks to a more distinguished reception area which is covered with a dome and vibrantly glows with the rays of light from the skylight above.
All cottages are north-south oriented in order to take in the diffused north light in balconies from where the guests spend most of their time enjoying the panoramic view of the adjoined forest.
What acts as a foyer space for the ground floor turns to be the balcony for the upper floor when the triangles are stacked systematically.
A certain flavor of awe and possibility takes birth when one views the vastness of life from the converging triangular balconies.
Moreover, L-shaped staircases leading to the upper floors add play and offer various perspectives to enjoy the beauty of solid stone mass-created due to bathroom walls in the south.
Centrally placed restaurant block on the site is designed to be the most flexible and comfortable to all.
The central spiral stone pillar supporting the hexagonal roof acts as a pivot for the entire site wherein all activities smoothly flow around the block.
The large brick arches of the dining hall interestingly frame the scenes of the exteriors and the extended outdoor seating sensitively blurs the boundaries of open and built.
The free-flowing spaces and the uninterrupted movements all minutely add up to create a drama wherein visitors’ inquisitiveness urges them to experience something unique and unexplored step by step.
The undisturbed, uncut mango trees proudly stand between the buildings which become an inseparable and important part of the architectural vocabulary. Inbuilt sit-outs from sandstone below mango tree allow for an intimate interface with the outdoors where you actually wouldn’t need a book.
Stone walls using locally available sandstone in their naked form give the entire resort a very natural feel. Clay roofing tile and exposed stone surfaces will gradually get covered with radiant moss; nature will fight its way back.
Living in a forest is all about witnessing this war. When such simplicity and human craftsmanship are given the highest value, it is then that the architect’s idea of design comes to life and a resort, like Gir Vihar, starts to blossom to its ultimate potential.
Architects: d6thD Design Studio
Project: Gir-Vihar Eco Resort
Site Area: 2.5 acre
Built-up Area: 1600 sq. mt.
No. of cottages: 20
Location: Bhojde Village, Gir Lion Sanctuary, Gujarat, India
Lead Architect: Ar. Himanshu Patel
Drawings: Dashmeet, Nitin, Yohan
Construction team: Jagdish, Manu, Jitu
Client: Mr.Vijay Talaviya
Text: Shubhangi Singla
Photographs: Inclined Studio
About d6thD design studio:
d6thD means The 6th dimension to “feel good”
They design to let you feel good. The 6th dimension is not restricted to measuring the physical world but to exploring the Feel Good Spaces. Any object or space can be measured in 3 Dimension but to feel good about it is the 6th dimension.
d6thD promotes the use of locally available materials, traditional building techniques, culturally and climatically relevant building design. They are passionate about design but driven by ideas rather than personalities. They are interested in exploring the ways in which spaces can create experiential happiness.
d6thD visualizes the practice as a sheltered and collaborative place for reflection, where a community (including clients and other collaborators) can reflect on how to make life happy and feel good through architecture.
Ar. Himanshu Patel is an ardent architect (2006) from M.S.University. After graduation, he has worked in one of the foremost international architectural firms (Arif & Bintoak) in the Emirates. His research work as a cm fellow (2009) on high-profile Gujarat tourism projects has been well recognized on social development under the Chief Minister’s Fellowship Program. His practice in vernacular architecture is inextricably bound with his entire childhood spent in a village. For the last five years, his Ahmadabad-based d6thD design studio promotes the use of locally available materials, traditional building techniques, culturally and climatically relevant building design. Retrospective of his work in various regions of Gujarat reflects his perseverance to design with the overt principles of vernacular architecture. He has lectured and conducted workshops widely related to vernacular architecture among several colleges and universities in India.