- Structural Engineer:Wasantha Chandrathilaka
- Quantity Surveyor:Sunanda Gnanasiri
- Mep Engineers:Thilak Thembiliyagoda, Nimal Perera
- Civil Contractor:Duminda Builders (Pvt) Ltd
- Client:Dumabara Hotels (Pvt) Ltd.
- Budget:340mil SLR (1.93 mil USD approximately)
- Award:Geoffrey Bawa Award 2016/2017 for Excellence in Architecture
- Architect In Charge:Thisara Thanapathy
- Project Achitects:Rafidh Rifaadh, Kaushala Samarawickrama
- Country:Sri Lanka
Text description provided by the architects. Spreading over a vast hilly terrain, Santani, was built as an architectural refuge, away from the consumerist lifestyle of the modern day. Strongly inspired by the unique context, the design expresses to be a harmonizing detail to the landscape instead of dominating over its natural persona. The relationship is as such that the built forms connect the landscape and the landscape connects the built forms as a flowing spatial experience. The simple structures disappear into the landscape, mastering the spiritual tranquility of its surrounding.
The built structures are raised from ground to prevent moisture and ground warmed air from reaching in and to catch cool breezes from above. Open forms allow cross ventilation, removing interior heat and humidity, in the tropical climate. The grass-turfed terraces of the spa are ecological roofs that help keep a cool interior within.
The resort has four main sections; Entrance Pavilion, Spa, Lounge-Restaurant (main building) and 16 Single Villa Chalets, (and additionally two double-bedroom villas) spread across the terrain. In addition are the operations building, two staff-quarters, a Yoga Pavilion neighboring the Spa, and an infinity swimming pool area.
The entrance pavilion, lying at the center of the valley, creates a vista across it, capturing scenic views on both sides. This simple, open structure with a lightweight roof, blends into its surrounding.
The two-storied lounge and restaurant, standing on the highest point of the land, embraces the picturesque mountain range afar. The thin lines of steel and salvaged timber of the linear lightweight structure, in combination with glass, builds a transparency towards its surrounding.
The lightweight chalets resting on their steel pillars, are both contrasting and complimentary features, to the sloping landscape, oriented in a way to achieve privacy while focusing to views afar.
A well expressed pathway leads to the spa’s reception pavilion, a lightweight timber structure resting on pillars, slightly above ground, inspired by Kandyan vernacular structures on pillars.
Resembling a stepped paddy field, the spa is a series of green terraces flowing with the rhythm of the sloping landscape. At the foot of these terraces lies a large re-cultivated paddy field. The terraces are in harmony with the paddy field and tea estates visible from one side, while being oriented to create a strong visual connection with faraway mountains. Through the Spa’s reception pavilion which frames views of greenery, a tunnel leads to the immediate lower level, the location of a water-therapy room, steam-room and sauna, where a sensation of a cave with a distant view is celebrated. The tunnel further continues down to a second lower level where three massage-treatment rooms are located facing the paddy field. While the entrance to the spa is lightweight, the tunnel and lower levels are built from rubble. Level play, rhythmic movement through connecting tunnels and corridors, and the material expressions evoke a feeling of peaceful captivity.
Framed views, play of light and cool winds, rustic natural materials create a multi-sensory experience, in a design that embodies its natural landscape, purifying the mind with silence.