Architects: Biome Environmental Solutions
- Area: 3085 m²
- Year: 2021
Manufacturers: Adish Aluminium, Bathline, Hindware, The Purple Turtles
- Design Team: Chitra Vishwanath, Anurag Tamankar, Maitri Shah
- Client: Pugdundee Safaris
- Structural Consultant: Satish Raipure
- Phe Consultant: HMNagesh
- Civil Works: Vikesh Agarwal
- Swimming Pool: Nandadeep Pools
- City: Bengaluru
- Country: India
Text description provided by the architects. Waghoba ecolodge is a resort contiguous to the forest buffer of Tadoba wildlife sanctuary in the state of Maharashtra India. The target clientele for the property is wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists. The brief required a 16-cottage resort with responsible tourism at its core. The developers sought to restore the previously cultivated land to its original state of being a deciduous forest as part of their ecological intentions. This required interventions in the landscape to enhance biodiversity. By observing the land around and through a biodiversity survey local flora and fauna were identified.
For biodiversity to flourish it was essential to incorporate a water body in the semi-arid climate of this region. In the summer temperature here rises to 48-degree C. By identifying the existing bund and desilting the channels a lake was made at the entrance of the resort. This lake stored the rainwater and treated wastewater. Additional afforestation with indigenous plant species provides a green corridor for the fauna to approach the lake. This lake now is home to a plethora of birds and animals. A lookout hide has been introduced in the design for enthusiasts and professional wildlife photographers to watch the fauna in its own habitat.
The landscape of Todaba’s has a variety of shades of gold to dark brown for the most part of the year and green during the monsoons. Capturing of the gold to brown hue has been done in the material palette of the architectural interventions. The material palette is a combination of local sandstone and stabilized adobes made at the site using local soil. The lake becomes the loci of the project. The main building and its welcome area, edge this lake. Here the travelers also enjoy the rising sun when they are getting ready to leave for the forest tour. Belvederes along the dining area and the lounge enjoy views of the lake, forest, and the evening skies. Below this elevated lounge is a shaded swimming pool with its deck overlooking the lake. The ceiling of the pool which has a filler of pot lids creates dynamic reflection while ecologically reducing material consumption.
The guests are accommodated in the cottages placed along the east-west axis at the core of the property. Each cottage has large openings in the north and south shaded by deep verandahs. Both the study desk and bed view the buffer areas giving an experience of living in the forest. As the peak season for safaris is summer the buildings are designed to reduce the cooling loads by using passive strategies. Composite stone and adobe walls on the east and west side reduce the heat gain. Toilet and the changing area shield the room from the western sun. A small skylit roof with heat reflective glass near the vanity wash basins brings in an ample amount of light inside the toilet area. A vaulted roof made of conical pottery tiles with air gaps between and ceramic mosaic on top insulates the interior spaces from the incidental heat from the rooftop.
The interior finishes of the guest areas continue the same color palette of light to dark brown and terracotta reds. The floor with golden brown Kota (limestone) blends well with the adobe walls. The terracotta red roof tiles create a contrast and make the vaulted ceiling stand out even more. The ferrocement lighting fixtures with warm yellow light set a very cozy mood. Staff housing on the west is carefully located to provide quiet space and privacy to its occupants while they are resting during breaks. The senior staff housing uses a similar design language to the guest rooms with adobe walls and terracotta vaulted ceilings. Junior staff dormitories are designed to offer windows near every single bed space. Load-bearing fin walls act as a partition between individual beds offering some level of privacy to its users. Water from the staff housing roof is harvested and stored in the 0.1million liter of the water storage tank.
All the sewage water from the property is treated using a plant-based water treatment system PHYTORID developed by National Environmental Engineering Institute NEERI and is subsequently used for growing the organic vegetables and the forest on the property. The use of terracotta either as filler in the RCC slabs or roofs for the residential spaces adds to the concept of the circular economy. These are produced in the village and local areas and use the desilted soil from the lakes.
Since most buildings even in the rural area are adopting RCC construction these skills are dying out. As locals migrate and agricultural activity reduces the desilting of lakes stops. The non-desilting leads to a drop in aquifer recharge. We used terracotta consciously to make the facility part of a virtual cycle. We want the facility to showcase that ecological architecture is in sync with the ecosystem. The vaulted roofs were done in collaboration with the Centre for Science for Villages (CSV) Wardha. This is an organization that works on Gandhian principles and values. The project for us is a happy collaboration of ecology, social, and leisure.