Within the Yala National Park in Sri Lanka, is a region called Palatupana that touches the waters of the Indian Ocean. Palatupana consists of forests that have been considered as hunting sites set aside only for the occupant sportsmen. It is close to this region that exists a luxury wildlife hotel called the Wild Coast Tented Lodge.
“Between the jungle and the Indian Ocean” Maître de Maison – Tiran Nanayakkara
It is almost impossible to notice this hotel at one glance! What appears to be like boulders emerging out of the ground is the building and its various units spread out within the landscape. The Yala National Park is famously recognized for having the largest leopard population in the world! With this in mind, the designers sought to devise a layout for the hotel that resembles aleopard’s paw. In this manner, Biophilia and organic architecture are adopted as important design philosophies in the make of the project.
The project stemmed out of a collaboration between Architects, Nomadic Resorts and interior designer, Bo Reudler Studio. Apart from the luxurious stay, the hotel also offers world-class wilderness safari experiences. For the wildlife enthusiasts, the hotel serves as a one-stop tenting lodge at the brink of the opulent biodiversity of Sri Lanka.
To invite more of the outside into the inside, the suite rooms or the cocoons are placed dispersedly in the landscape, so that nature becomes a part of the circulation space.
The hotel offers a range of three options for stay, four secluded beach-facing pool cocoons suites, sixteen cocoonsuites arranged as groups of four with viewing decks that are placed around watering holes and the family cocoon suites with urchin tents.
The cocoon suites have been inspired bytents of historic military campaigns and give an impression of anchored airships. The designersintended to create an interior atmosphere of retro-futurism to invoke the memories of luxurious travel.
The copper laden interiors with contemporary design novelties pack a whole colonial expeditions’ experience throughout the hotel suites. These 36 suites are lightweight tensile structures that were prefabricated off-site to reduce its impact during construction on-site and raised over stilts to reduce the impact onto the landscape. The structure can be easily disassembled owing to its material qualities.
Forming the nuclei of the entire hotel are two buildingsthat resemble the boulders in the surrounding. The structure takes the form of a dome-shaped shell that have a teak shingled roof and large arched openings. These two pavilions accommodate the Restaurant, library and the Ten Tuskers bar. Wooden grid shell with bamboo is the structural make of the two domes.
The material allows for High ceiling vaults that welcome the sea breeze unto the built. A pool sides the two domes shaped pavilions giving vivid illuminated reflections at dusk. The spa is set in the rear end of the site away from the beach. Copper, brass, wood, bamboo, textiles and terrazzo are the material used in the project’s palette. However, bamboo becomes the hero of the project, where it is worshipped thanks to its organic qualities which required locals from the adjacent village into participatory construction. To go as organic as possible even in terms of materials for construction, a mixture of elephant dung and clay is used for making the seating areas.
Apart fromhospitality, the project also acts as a safari camp where visitors are allowed to engage in wildlife activities. Yala National park is one of Sri Lanka’s most visited park features a wide range of flora including forests, scrubs, grasslands, lagoons etc. Visitors get to witness forty-four mammals and two hundred and fifteen bird species in the curated experiences offered by this five-star-hotel.
The hotel also tries to bridge safari and heritage walk among some of the country’s oldest archaeological and worship sites. Few being to the Sithulpawwa monastery and the Kataragama temple complex. Another attempt by the Designers to form a seamless blend of the built into the landscape is in the desist from fences around the project, to allow the wild creatures big and small to transit in the hotel campus.