This resort complex is located at Cavelossim, one of Goa’s most beautiful beaches. One arrives at the main reception area, under a large wooden roof- a form which is echoed in the adjacent restaurant and in the club and recreation facilities across the swimming pool.
From this central area, a walkway leads one down to the beach, with the guest rooms located in low-rise clusters on either side. This walkway is the heart of the complex, providing access to all the other facilities along the activity spine, anchored by the swimming pool and reception centre at one end and the stunningly beautiful Cavelossim Beach at the other. Most of the public facilities for guests are really just large verandahs and pavilions: semi-open spaces which allow for cross-ventilation and sea breeze, and at the same time provide protection from the sun. The guest rooms are housed in small casas, grouped around courts – although there are only four basic types of casas – a considerable degree of variation and individual identity is achieved by the addition of ancillary elements: railings, gargoyles, balcao seats, & window shutters, a vocabulary very much in the architectural traditions of Goa.
Port Blair, Andaman Islands
Port Blair, with its deep-blue water harbour, is at the centre of the Andaman Islands which lie to the south-west of Rangoon in the Bay of Bengal. Inhabited by a number of different tribes, many of whom have had little contact with the outside world, the Andamans are a world of primordial beauty, of whales and robber crabs, right out of the voyages of Charles Darwin.
The site for the hotel is on a hill overlooking the deep blue waters of Port Blair. The public areas form a series of decks, cascading down the hill, protected by the large overhang of the great roofs above (constructed of the local redwood, padauk).
This stepped pyramid, covered by a pitched roof, is a configuration with considerable advantages: it does not need any enclosing walls to keep out the sun and rain, but allows the prevailing breezes to flow through. From within, the large pyramidal wooden roofs over the public areas are asymmetrical about their longitudinal axis – so that the sloping roof surface facing the view is elongated (like the protective brim of a solar topee), deflecting one’s eye downwards to the blue waters of the bay. From a skylight at the apex of the pyramid, daylight descends gently down on to the decks below.
Dona Paula, Goa
Goa, one of the oldest trading centres along the west coast of India and for 450 years part of Portugal, is a land of rivers and hills and stunning palm-fringed beaches. Because Goa’s economy has always been traditionally land-based, the population of seven million is evenly distributed – one lives in a place because one either owns land there or is a tenant-farmer working there. Thus, Goa has no single dominant city, but a balanced polycentric system of villages and towns – the largest of which has less than 100,000 inhabitants.
This hotel, a few minutes drive from Panaji, is built on a sloping site which descends down to a beach on the Zuari river. During the process of design, the hotel began to emerge as a sort of expressionistic hill town – so the search commenced for a name which would describe it… surely there was a mythical city which the Portuguese had yearned for in vain?….an El Dorado? But alas, perhaps historians could find nothing. (Are Portuguese. less metaphysical than Spanish?) Finally a phrase surfaced: “Cidade de Goa” the original name for Panaji, Goa’s capital town. City of Goa… a marvellously evocative phrase… a city, which is at times a city abstracted, and then again, a city of virtual imagery, and finally a city of real dwellings and balconies and terraces.
The main road is up on the barren ridge of a rocky plateau. One passes beneath the entrance arch and descends down the long driveway into a lush green valley, to arrive in a plaza, surrounded by key symbols and signs which connote: CITY. Some of these images are the artifacts of a stage set, others the trompe de l’oeil of the cinema poster artist. These facades are layers, one passes through…. a highly fragmented, kaleidoscopic series of visual sensations and architectural spaces. What is real? The object? Or the image? Or the image of the image of the image? Awakening sub-conscious responses in the memory… the bitter-sweet saudade of nostalgia … like the fades of the Alfama, a sardonic art.
The purpose of this project, commissioned by the Government of India, was to initiate one of India’s most spectacular (but relatively unknown) beaches as a major beach resort area. Thus, the facilities specified in the programme (accommodation for over 300 guests, centres for yoga and ayurvedic massage, water sports, and so forth) had to be deployed in a manner which would create a critical mass for each activity – and at the same time open up several strategic points on the site so as to increase future growth options. The master plan therefore does not concentrate all the facilities in one area, but generates a larger number of potential growth points, thus allowing a more flexible response to future demands.
The guest rooms come in three configurations. Firstly, on the edge of the beach, hidden under the palm trees, are the kudils individual suites for longer stays, with their own cooking facilities, etc. Overlooking the beach is the main hotel with 100 guest rooms. Here, in order to preserve the natural beauty of the site, the facilities are all built into the hill slopes-every room getting its own private sundeck. In between the kudils and the hotel there are clusters of “detached units”, offering about the same facilities as the kudils but at slightly higher densities.
Throughout the project, the construction is in traditional vernacular of Kerala: viz, white plastered walls with red tiled roofs; other pavilions consist of light bamboo chhatris with coir matting on the floor and local Kerala handicrafts.