Adira Resort by URBNarc | ITSLIQUID

Adira Resort by URBNarc

Architecture | April 20, 2019 |

Adira Resort by URBNarcImage courtesy of URBNarc

Adira Resort by URBNarc
Location: Vembanad Lake, Kerala, India
Status: On going

Located on an island within Vembanad Lake in Kochi, the Adira Resort is conceived as an extension of the famous backwaters of Kerala. This lakefront resort has been designed to have minimal impact on its environment and blend seamlessly into its setting once complete. Existing water channels have been retained and new ones added to create a network of waterways connecting the villas and creating a unique environment. The resort consists of 106 villas of varying sizes and configurations with some villas being on water and others designed to be suspended between trees. The design inspiration for Adira Resorts originates from the existing landscape environment unique to this part of Kerala. It is planned around the central theme of the backwaters and its unique local landscape – a lush, verdant, tropical landscape synonymous with the backwaters of Kerala. The island was originally reclaimed using a system of dikes and levees to facilitate rice cultivation. However, over a period of time when rice farming became unsustainable, the island was converted into a coconut plantation. The entire island is now a system of land strips alternating with water channels, overgrown with wild grasses and a canopy of swaying coconut palms, creating a unique landscape environment. This environment inspired us to look for clues that could retain this character while developing a bespoke resort on this property.

Adira Resort by URBNarcImage courtesy of URBNarc

An initial sketch done on site by the team led us to Roberto Burle Marx, a Brazilian landscape designer (besides being a painter, ecologist and naturalist) whose designs of parks and gardens made him world famous. One of his paintings formed the key inspiration for the master plan as well. A bespoke arrival experience involves each guest arriving on customized traditional Kerala houseboats, while getting a flavour of the local fishing culture and the magical back-water landscape. In addition, the entire resort is designed to be accessible by water, we felt it important to retain this existing waterway framework of the property and enhance it with new water channels and different types of water bodies that provide visual, functional and recreational use. This system of water channels within the resort further enhances the backwater experience in the region and allows for water based connectivity within the entire resort while framing the context outside. The strategy for the resort is to maintain and reinforce the natural character of the property, by creating an environmentally balanced and sustainable native landscape composed of the very same elements of water, native grasses and ground covers, palms, and trees. This natural landscape character will create a unique sense of place for the resort, and at the same time respond in a sensitive and responsible manner to the delicate ecosystem of the Kerala backwaters. The resort is also designed to conserve, protect and celebrate the local flora and fauna, with specific selection of plants species carefully planned to showcase the region’s biodiversity. The overall experience of the resort is best expressed as an organic landscape that had always been there with buildings sensitively inserted amongst nature. While the entire architectural language for the resort is envisioned as low impact, elegant and timeless, select buildings such as the welcome centre are placed as dramatic pieces in the landscape, built with ecologically sustainable materials and modern technology. Other public facilities include the Welcome Centre, a large 750 square meter swimming pool, designed as a series of levels with strategically placed feature trees and stepped terraces leading to the lake including a platform/ bar that is intended to be floated out every evening into the lake for sunset cocktails. The Pool Terrace and Restaurant are located at the edge of Vembanad Lake with dramatic views out. The main swimming pool which is 50m long, is located on the upper terrace adjacent to the restaurant.

Adira Resort by URBNarcImage courtesy of URBNarc

The outer edge of the pool facing the lake is a continuous infinity edge that dramatically drops off and visually merges with the lake. Below the main pool terrace is a smaller lower terrace with a Jacuzzi pool and subsequent terraces fading out into the lake. The Jacuzzi is shaded by a feature Plumeria tree, and surrounded by Coconut Palms randomly scattered on the lawn next to the lake. The landscape planting for the Pool Terrace is deliberately understated so as not to be a distraction or obstruction for the dramatic views of the horizon. Three large trees anchor the terrace, and provide shade. The trees are also used as a focal point from which the pool terrace can be lit. This effectively eliminates the need for any type of independent lighting devices such as lamp posts or bollards. The Lakefront Pool Terrace is paved with natural timber decking which further reinforces the natural character of the landscape. The timber deck also minimizes heat gain and glare creating a comfortable environment. A wellness village set in a 7,000 sqm land area includes a unique spa set within a water garden and connected to a library, yoga pavilion, fitness center and individual spa villas. The wellness village also has an organic restaurant that is planned around a series of aromatic and herb gardens along with ornamental reflection pools to provide a true escape and ensconce the guest in a relaxing environment. The Spa Garden is conceived as a natural, healing garden, complementing the holistic wellness experience provided by the Spa. The intimately designed gardens are surrounded by natural ponds with water plants and soothing bubbler jets to enhance the tranquil atmosphere and ambience of the spa. Gardens within the spa will be planted with natural herbs, spices, and fragrant flowering plants that could be used for treatment purposes, as well as the preparation of herbal teas and massage oils. The guest villas are envisioned as a series of contemporary eco pavilions set within a large water garden.

Adira Resort by URBNarcImage courtesy of URBNarc

Each villa is envisioned to be designed using locally sourced materials and constructed by local craftsmen in a contemporary modern architectural style with lush interiors using recycled wood, stone columns, doors and windows of a traditional Kerala vernacular. The villas are clustered in different configurations, with one of the typical clusters centred around a courtyard with water features connecting it to the main water channel. These water courts are intended as semi-private gardens that can be used as informal spaces for afternoon teas, cocktails, informal functions/dinners, art classes or just relaxing and lounging. The courtyards are designed to have an ornamental pool of water as a focal point with a selection of locally found species of water plants. Perched above this pool are pavilions, and timber terraces shaded by pergolas, feature trees and palms. The character of each courtyard will vary depending on the architectural style and character of the surrounding villa cluster. All villas are designed to be accessed by land or water. At the land-side, a provision for electric carts to ferry the residents is provided as well as a bicycle for each guest. Each villa also comes with a canoe and can be accessed via the resort main water channel. Each villa offers the option for residents to jump from their own private pool to the larger recreational water body that is planned to look and feel like a natural stream or river. Guests also have the option to swim to each of the amenities across the resort. The villas comprise living and sleeping areas in a variety of combinations. Accommodation include master bedroom suites, guest suites, dining, seating and relaxation areas ensconced in a private garden and centred around a private swimming pool. The design gives rise to a unique resort that creates an experience unmatched by other resorts both locally and globally. By being environmentally conscious with sustainable architecture and landscape strategies, this is intended to be a benchmark development.


Adira Resort by URBNarcImage courtesy of URBNarc

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