The Peak, designed by Studio Symbiosis, is a relaxing and rejuvenating resort with eight pool villas, an event area, a restaurant, a spa, a gym, a stargazing platform, and an outdoor pool. The building is located in the tranquil nature of Udaipur, Rajasthan, India’s desert kingdom.
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The design idea behind Peak resort is based on merging the surrounding beauty of nature with the Rajasthani traditional architecture. The site’s original contours were employed as an interface to develop the project.
Each villa is embedded in the environment like a cocoon space. To cause the least amount of harm to the natural beauty of the site, the cocoon villas were built by exploiting the undulating terrain of the site and excavating the earth to nest dwellings inside the topography. This approach provides stunning vistas of the south-facing mountains. The land’s natural terrain generates a height difference between the numerous houses, ensuring perfect solitude for everybody.
After investigating the local patterns of Rajasthani architecture, a hexagonal pattern was selected as the unifying feature for the design. This pattern is a common denominator in both nature and regional architecture. This hexagonal foundation pattern was cloned on the site to produce a system-driven landscape design approach that creates a feeling of harmony and symbiosis.
Rajasthani architecture is known for its beautiful carving and Jharokha’s (Semi covered balconies with perorated windows). The design incorporates the notion of a Jharokha, with villas carving the landscape to form these “Jharokha’s” with an outdoor pool, star gazing deck, and sit-out area. Each villa is conceived of as a window (Jharokha) through which to enjoy nature.
The Peak villas are intended for “leisure travelers” and “work from destination” travelers. The design focuses on creating a home away with villas surrounded by nature. Each house has 140 square meters of living space and 130 square meters of patio space. The villas are designed with a long-term traveler in mind. A stone-carved pergola has been created using regional motifs to shade the villas’ outside decks. This provides shade from direct sunshine and generates fascinating patterns of light and shadow on the deck.
The villas are nestled within the dirt to form a heat sink and keep the villas naturally cooled during the burning desert heat day and warm during the night in the winter. Since each villa is surrounded by soil, heat gain and dissipation are regulated. The outside terraces and depth of the home have been designed to guarantee enough light within the villa without immediately exposing the constructed surface area to the sun.
The landscape on the site is nearly flat for the first half of the property, and then it descends dramatically from south to north. Mountains to the south dominate the views from the area. The flat area of the land closest to the access road has been utilized for drop-off, reception, all-day eating, spa, and an open event space farther down.
Villas have been nested in the terrain by digging the site’s soil. This 1427 cubic unit excavation yielded 142.7 cubic units of rocks, with the remaining 90 percent mud.
As part of the design process, architects employed excavated soil and rocks to reinforce and construct compressed mud bricks by incorporating natural fibers. The retaining walls around the villas are made of these mud blocks, with the raw material originating from the site itself. It’s a closed-loop civil construction concept in which mud and rocks are retained to be repurposed on the site. The remaining materials are found locally within 5 kilometers of the project location. Given that Rajasthan is India’s stone center, the locally accessible stone was utilized for the external landscape and the interior finishes.
Sustainable design solutions have been used throughout Peak resort’s design and construction process. As the temperatures of this part of Rajasthan can reach 45-47 degrees, design solutions were employed to decrease cooling loads in the building and produce a sustainable resort. The wind direction of the site is from the south, which is the entrance to the site. It moves along the depth of the area towards the north. This wind movement has been directed by constructing two buildings flanking each side of the entryway, which produce a wind tunnel effect that accelerates the wind.
This accelerated breeze cools the wind bypassing through modest water bodies constructed in the center plaza. Additional shallow water bodies have been created along the wind’s course to keep it cool. As the villas are built on an inclination, the wind that interacts with the water bodies cools and flows down the sloping site, providing a cool breeze that reaches the villas and is pushed in further by a pergola.
To guide the wind into the villas, the inclination of pergolas has been adjusted using CFD. The pergola’s porosity was estimated to maintain wind pressure.
© Photos are Courtesy of Studio Symbiosis
Project name: THE PEAK
Location: Udaipur, India
Scope: Architecture | Interior | Landscape
Design: Amit Gupta, Britta Knobel Gupta
Project team (DD and Construction Stage): Associate: Kartik Misra, Project Lead: Aditya Kumar Sharma, TEAM: Anjan Mondal, Hasnain Alam, Apurv Jain, Arshad Achu
Project team (Concept Design): Associate: Sonal Dongre Jain, Akshay Kodoori, Kartik Misra Team: Steven Derrick Thomas, Aditya Kumar Sharma, Anjan Mondal, Chaitanya Goyal, Hasnain Alam, Harshi Garg
Site Area: 6746 sqm
Built-up Area: 1987 sqm
Program: 8 pool villas, restaurant, reception, spa, gym, swimming pool, event space
Status: Planning Permission
Client: Rahul Ventures
Consultants: Light Practice, Sydney