RLDA's design of an adventure sports resort, Atali in Rishikesh, brings together the aesthetics of locally-ascribed architecture, that inevitably evokes a sense of place as opposed to featuring a distinct style or language.
Located at the foothills of the Himalayas, on the banks of river Ganga, the Atali resort by Rahoul and Lakshmi Chand Singh, is a diligent example of architecture that inquires into the indigenous techniques of construction and use of local materials.
Spanning across 1.5 acre of land, the resort comprises 22 independent cottages, storage facility with a dormitory at the upper level, a central open ‘verandah’ as the entrance court, a kayak pool and a restaurant overlooking the pool and sprawling landscapes beyond.
The building is predominantly constructed of stone, which was either available on site or excavated from it. The externally exposed stones encased in locally-made galvanized steel boxes or gabions, symbolize the local-technique of retaining walls or gabion walls, common in waterside cities to stabilize shorelines. The design demonstrates stark geometry in its form, construction material, fenestrations and even paving patterns that is duly balanced by soft shadows and a pallid tensile roof that crowns the conference room above the verandah. The verandah acts as the primary place of arrival and also serves to be a gorgeous transitory space that offers seamless panoramic views to the sprawling river and hills.
A two-level reed trellis, linking the verandah and storage building, punctured by an elliptical staircase is a unique feature of this design. The stair, supported by a pair of stringer beams terminates in a small deck that faces the hills beyond. Cottages present a clear resolution of spaces and a distinct design sense led by sheer simplicity. The internal partition in local stone divides the bedroom from the bathroom and large openings dissolve the literal boundaries and surround the room with the existing landscape.
Enormous, dramatic views, especially along poolside, changing from dawn to dusk rejuvenates the mind and body and helps attain serenity and peace in this haven!