Preserving the existing flora on the site was a key challenge
Nestled in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas in the city of Dehradun, this facility for assisted living designed by MySpace Architects sits surrounded in the tranquility of lush fruit orchards of mango and lychee. In addition to the verdant gardens and orchards, the 4 acre plot houses a British Bungalow, dating back to the British colonial era.
The design team’s approach was to capitulate to a design solution that would respect the heritage and natural environment of the site. Although the plot is sited in the middle of an urban landscape, it still had its independent eco-system with orchards. This instilled a sense of safety due to the site’s proximity to modern facilities but with the greenery of the countryside.
There were two necessary aspects of the site that had to be taken into consideration before starting the design. First, the old British bungalow had to be celebrated instead of merely standing indifferently with the upcoming construction. Second, to obtain clear space for the new structure by cutting trees to an absolute minimum. Fortuitously, a relatively empty patch of land was located right opposite to the bungalow.
This enabled the possibility of the new structure to face the bungalow and share the same line of symmetry. To add to the challenges, in the open space, there were still three trees standing in its middle. On deeper look, they appeared to form a triangle. Hence, they were taken as extent points and a circular spine was envisioned having terminal ends at the two laterally standing trees. Thus, the site’s flora was entirely retained.
The circular layout of the whole complex is intended to resonate with the long existent concept of “Circle of Life”. It consists of bedrooms, meditation hall, dining-kitchen block, and a multipurpose hall. All the spaces are seamlessly merged inside-out through the singly loaded curved corridor that links them all. All the private areas are zoned towards the back of the building, which is opening out into the thick green orchards. At the mid-point of the arc, lies a skewed meditation hall which is placed inside the serenity of the green orchard and aims to help its users connect with nature. Towards the other end of the central axis, stands the majestic bungalow as a reminiscent of past glory, with its gabled roof, forming a focal element of the entire campus.
The curved corridor with its intermittent façade openings, encloses a central circular courtyard of 40 m diameter. The building façade has perforated clay-tile screens and V-shaped tubular pipe sections, which provide a dramatic shadow effect in the circular corridor behind, naming this entire setup as ‘the walk of introspection’. The central landscape forms a plaza, an open-air theatre, and a stage area, all overlooking the entire space. The contrast of white with earthy tone, bolsters the harmony of the entire building-setting with nature, where the residents can enjoy the peaceful environment.
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Project Name: Nest Inn – A Communion of Architecture & Repose
Office Name: Myspace Architects
Year of Completion: 2021
Gross Built Area: 1,490m2
Project location: Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
Programme: Assisted living for the elderly
Lead Architects: Ar.Alex Joseph, Ar.Dona Kurian, Ar.Yogesh Kumar, Ar. Rijul Nayal, Danny Chacko Mathew
Photo Credits: Ar. Prasanth Mohan/ Running Studios
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