What happens when local culture meets positive attitude towards climate? It leads to sustainability- without which, ecological balance cannot be restored. Vitti Sthapati Brindo Ltd, an architecture firm, wanted to install this idea in their project, "Dusai resort."
Dusai resort was built in cohesion with the local Khasiya settlement. The design of this structure focuses on ethnic specification, rather than a glittery, high tech look. The exquisite project has won several awards, including Gold in the 9th International Design Award (2015) and Silver in American Architect Prize (2016).
Dusai was originally a vacation house used by the owner Naser Rahman's family, which was later transformed into a resort offering residential and recreational facilities surrounded by a serene wilderness.
Dusai Resort and Spa is furnished with hotel rooms and villas providing living facilities for guests, thematic restaurants, children's playground, swimming pool, gym, spa, convention room, indoor and outdoor gaming facilities, etc on a site that consists of three shallow hills and valleys.
Vitti Sthapati Brindo acknowledged the importance of not disturbing the existing forest and hills and thus they designed the resort in a way that used the natural open spaces for built forms, and tampered with the terrain as little as possible.
"When I visited the site for the first time, I experienced an exotic environment. I walking through the hillocks, reached the top and looked down on the rice fields, tea garden and green valley sitting at varying heights. I wanted to ensure this experience through a linear progression for the guests who would visit there," said Architect Ishtiaque Zahir Titas.
Conscious of the dominant presence of nature, architects let the plan be guided by site contour and built small and scattered structures on the slopes. Structures were built on stilts with minimal contact with the ground and therefore, it kept the topographical balance intact.
The elongated thatch roof is a distinctive feature and the clusters of built forms around a courtyard remind us of our age-old rural architecture which not only responds to the local climate, but also pays tribute to our tradition. RCC frame structures were used to cope with the flaky soil and steel, mud tile, and chan (sungrass) was deployed on the roof for easing the load.
By obtaining the construction materials from local businessmen and employing building expertise from the surrounding neighborhood, the project built a symbiotic relationship with the locality. Tea plantation workers and local people were employed to maintain and prepare the site during the construction building period of the project.
The natural drainage flow was left undisturbed as most buildings were placed on stilts. Two existing ponds were left unaltered and a lake excavated in the lowland of the site. Rainwater can pass naturally as little changes had been done along the way.
From an unwillingness to cut down trees, the architects placed the cottages and small structures in the spaces between trees, and they only had to trim seven trees. Instead, 300 trees were planted in the site.
According to architect Titas, "People think they have the right to disturb the environment for certain development. I wanted to prioritize nature and did not want to lose the lustre of the hillock. The skyline of the site was set against green woods, which was so charming that I decided the building height must not exceed the treetops."
This project set the standard on sustainable architecture for its minimalist approach to nature, low energy consumption, locally produced and handcrafted materials, the involvement of people from the neighborhood, natural ventilation and water flow, and from an operational perspective as well. The eco-friendly resort offers the experience of the spirit of tropical forest, tea garden, and hillocks.