Human beings have a subconscious need to be near nature. It is important to incorporate natural elements directly or indirectly into our built environment. Including nature is beneficial as it helps to reduce physical and mental illness like cardiovascular diseases, depression, anxiety, etc. It helps to restore attention, increase productivity, improve mood and vitality, reduce stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates, boost mood, concentration, creativity and correlate with life satisfaction, meaningfulness and happiness.

Project Name: Biophilic Boutique Hotel
By: Aashi Jain
Location: Lake Pichola in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
Area: 14000sq ft

©Aashi Jain

An average adult spends almost 50 hours a week working in a closed space, in an artificial environment, where there is no natural light or ventilation. This leads to physical and mental illness. Rapid urbanization and high rate of migration from rural to urban areas, all lead to higher demand for space – to live, study, work, and relax and everything in between. We have almost exhausted all of the horizontally available space by cutting all possible trees and encroaching upon almost the entire available forest land.

The idea is to create a place or an atmosphere where people can come and relax, get away from their busy schedule, a place where people can interact and connect with nature to reduce stress and give them a healthier environment. A boutique hotel fits this situation. A small, cozy place, integrating biophilic design. Places like these are made with an effort to inspire people not only to include, but also be sensitive towards nature and move towards sustainable living.

©Aashi Jain

One may think that biophilic design is just about adding plants, an interior garden or a living plant wall to a space but it is more than that. It involves adding large open windows, skylights, colour schemes from nature such as blues, greens, browns and earth tones. Use of natural materials such as unfinished woods, stones, cork, bamboo, jute and incorporating fabrics with nature patterns and geometric patterns seen in nature forms an important part too. Artwork that depicts items or scenes from nature including water features like indoor fountains or even indoor waterfalls is another aspect. Furniture pieces with natural shapes or anything which is inspired by nature like a coffee table or a tree trunk side table or anything with curve lines and complex patterns which mimics nature can be included. True biophilic design takes into account the entire space and built in biophilic elements.

Reception

A welcoming double-heighted space having the reception desk in front, with a convex shaped wall as backdrop and waiting area along both the sides. A green living wall and a rustic textured wall with fabric ceiling which is inspired by water waves and the lighting perfectly adds to the look and feel of the place. Large open arched fixed windows allow natural light in abundance.

©Aashi Jain

Courtyard

A courtyard being a central interactive space, a part open to the sky for natural light and air circulation which helps to keep down the temperature as it includes landscaping and water features. Also it assists the vertical connection between different levels. The main staircase in the courtyard gets an interesting makeover with a curved glass wall running from the floor to the ceiling on one side and a handrail with green plants on the other. A water feature along the glass wall creates interesting water ripple reflection on the ceiling. The staircase is supported with beautiful columns which are inspired from nature and the textured paint gives it a perfect organic and rustic look to the space.

Restaurant

Double heighted restaurant with a mezzanine floor. The stairs in the restaurant lead to the curved mezzanine in the courtyard and then the same mezzanine moves into the restaurant. The restaurant has large windows which allow natural light to enter the place. Mezzanine acts as a ceiling for the floor below, making the different levels of the ceiling look more interesting. The lightings placed are inspired by a plant and leaves adding to the ambience of the restaurant.  The windows basically help to blur the lines between the outside and inside. The restaurant includes 50 covers and a bar, few seating on the mezzanine. Also a part of seating is outdoors on the floating deck.

©Aashi Jain

Rooms

All rooms include a queen sized bed, a small living area and a toilet. Each room has its own feature or an element that makes it unique in its own way. Polished concrete and recycled wood has been used for flooring, which gives a natural look to the space. Rooms are lit with natural light. The balcony with each room effectively connects indoors and the outdoors with either a plunge pool or a luxury open to sky shower with bamboo, plants, pebbles and rough textured materials used on walls and flooring. Rooms at the ground floor have an amazing view of the landscape outside and bedrooms at first floor get an amazing view of the Lake Pichola. Rooms are designed to give a stress free experience.

Façade

Facade designed with tall exposed brick arches complements the entrance lobby and the restaurant. Also the east side of the exterior elevation is inspired by the tree branch. Broken and crooked corners on the exterior creating an interesting element which gives the building an old look. Exterior elevation designed with large windows to get ample of natural light.

Author

Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.

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