The Abstract & The Organic
The boldly dramatic Shyam Farm Forest Resort, housing 16 cottages, is located at the very edge of Gir National Park and wildlife sanctuary; the sole home of the Asiatic lion, surrounded by 1400 sq.km forest in Gujarat, is built on the new vernacular style by d6thd Design Studio
Guests are immersed in nature with fort like circular cottages inspired by a combination of local nomadic community houses. Further to the design direction was the ecologically sensitive notion to “embrace the nature gently”, meaning that no aspect of the construction should impose on the existing mango trees since the site was a farm with mango trees at thirty feet interval in grid. Instead of chopping down trees, the
cottages were designed around the trees, and integrated into the built environment.
Exposed brickwork using locally available thin bricks in its naked form gives the entire resort an earthy feel. Construction techniques using random rubble stone foundation, load bearing exposed brick walls, arches, sand stone jalis and clay tile roof have contributed to the low cost of the project. The courtyard with a mango tree within the cottage cluster acts as a transition space between the more private cottage bedroom and the informal semi open living area. Each cluster has a large foyer space shaded by a mango tree to welcome visitors. In-built sit outs of sand stone below the trees allow for an intimate interface with the outdoors.
Cottages with small window openings respond to the hot and dry climate of the region. Due to its circular shape, there is only one line which is directly perpendicular to the sunrays hitting the surface of the structure at a time, hence, most of the heat is reflected away. This circular shape is well known for its structural stability during natural calamities like earthquake and cyclonic winds. The round shape requires 10% less wall
than a square, and almost 15% less than a rectangle, to enclose the same floor area. This means less exterior wall and less foundation wall to pay for initially.
Being located on a rocky terrain, the resort had a reduced foundation requirement; no trees were cut down, and all the wild species of plants were not only retained but propagated as well. Door and window frames are made from local neem wood. Only locally available bricks and sand stone within less than 50 km radius were used for the masonry. This, along with engaging local labourers brought down the overall travel miles. Rainwater runoff is used to water the adjoining farm where organic vegetables produce is used on a small scale for guests.
The honesty and simplicity of materials and techniques employed are not just time tested and reliable but clearly reflect a cultural sensitivity towards the area Ar. Himanshu Patel, d6thd Design Studio
Typology: Eco Resort Location: Bhojde village, Gir Lion Sanctuary, Gujarat Built up area: 1300 sq.mt Site area: 1.5 acre Completion: 2016 Client: Local farmer Cost: `1,25,00,000