Eco-resorts are the luxurious suites of mountainous regions instilled with comfort and breathing nature. Anagram Architects – a Delhi-based firm working on reconnecting responsible lifestyles and ecology, curated one such resort on the edge of Jim Corbett National Park on the foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand called Vaansa Eco Resort. The total site area is 5.88 acres with the built-up area being 8% of the total site area.
Aligning with the ideologies of an eco-resort, the project imbibes local culture, is environmentally conscious, and preserves the sense of place. It is at Amghari near Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, and includes cottages, guest rooms, restaurants, and amenities such as a spa and swimming pool providing a high-end user experience for its national and international tourists. Amghari is on the periphery of the Jim Corbett National Park which sees a footfall of 70,000 tourists every year elucidating the need for luxurious living experience in the nearby areas and Vaansa Eco Resort is designed to provide one.
The Uttarakhand region has variation in climate and vegetation as elevation changes, from glaciers at the highest elevations to subtropical forests at the lower elevations. There are two types of Natural calamities- landslides and forest fires, that threaten the temperate ecology of the area and the situation further gets worse due to uncontrolled erosion during the wet seasons. The project incorporates strategies for bio-diversification, waste and water management, and soil stabilization forming a development model for green resorts.
The ecological site planning involves a 3-step approach – Catchment Distribution, Contour Remediation, and Biological Reclamation. Catchment distribution is the location of suitable water catchment points across the site. The points are located along with sedimentation tanks for greywater, harvested rainwater treatment, and runoff water and with peripheral reed bed plantations.
Contour remediation deals with remediating the terraces by curving topographical manipulations. This is useful in feeding the catchment ponds and reducing the runoff velocity and topsoil erosion. The site is designed with check-dams and flues at various points to ensure controllable intake and overflow into two seasonal streams. Biological Reclamation elucidates the conscious effort by Anagram architects to restore the flora and fauna by including the native species for large-scale plantation and making landscape the focal element of the resort.
The forest typology in the region is moist Deciduous trees which tend to shed their leaves in dry seasons. These trees are strategically positioned on-site to enhance shading during summers and access to sunlight during winters. The surrounding area has Sal and teak trees along with mango, rosewood, and bamboo usually with a layer of shorter trees and evergreen shrubs. Detailed planning of Vaansa Eco Resort is done for aromatic plants and herbs to attract pollinator birds and insects and promote undergrowth. The key element of the landscape is the rain catcher umbrellas.
The Vaansa Eco Resort is planned considering the site and neighborhood conditions creating a suitable micro-climate for the users. The living units are designed to create a personalized experience and a sense of security for the visitors. A cluster of units is created to create common areas for users to interact and relax. It uses IGBC’s green homes rating system to attain a high environmental rating.
The reuse and conservation of materials are ensured by employing many active and passive systems. The materials are sourced from nearby areas like the wood that is used is from the state forest department. The single rooms are designed with green roofs creating a continuous green skyline blending with the green surroundings and providing large multi-utility space for users.
The issue targeted while designing is the sustainable development of the overall village and not just the particular project site. To obtain this motive, only local labor is employed for construction by Anagram Architects. The labor is also groomed with new construction techniques. They are also encouraged to grow vegetables and maintain dairy farms commercially which will be majorly utilized by the resort providing them with a regular market for sale. The Vaansa Eco Resort not only aligns with accentuating the architectural charm of the place but also seeks the betterment of the lifestyle of the whole village.
Project Name: Vaansa Eco Resort
Location: Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand, India
Firm Name: Anagram Architects
Design Team: Vaibhav Dimri, Madhav Raman, Ayush Prakash, Tarika, Jigar Asarawala, Richa Gupta
Image Credits: Anagram Architects