The design inspiration for Adira Resorts originates from the existing landscape environment unique to this part of Kerala.
Located on an island in Lake Vembanad (one of the largest freshwater lakes in India),the resort is planned around the central theme of the backwaters and its unique local landscape - a lush, verdant, tropical landscape synonymous with the backwaters of Kerala.
The island was originally reclaimed using a system of dikes and levees to facilitate rice cultivation. However, over a period of time when rice farming became unsustainable, the island was converted into a coconut plantation. The entire island is now a system of land strips alternating with water channels, overgrown with wild grasses and a canopy of swaying coconut palms, creating a unique landscape environment.
This environment inspired us to look for clues that could retain this character while developing a bespoke resort on this property. An initial sketch done on site by the team led us to Roberto Burle Marx, a Brazilian landscape designer (besides being a painter, ecologist and naturalist) whose designs of parks and gardens made him world famous. One of his paintings formed the key inspiration for the master plan as well.
A bespoke arrival experience involves each guest arriving on customized traditional Kerala houseboats, while getting a flavor of the local fishing culture and the magical back-water landscape. In addition, the entire resort is designed to be accessible by water, we felt it important to retain this existing waterway framework of the property and enhance it with new water channels and different types of water bodies that provide visual, functional and recreational use. This system of water channels within the resort further enhances the backwater experience in the region and allows for water based connectivity within the entire resort while framing the context outside.
The landscape strategy for the resort is to maintain and reinforce the natural character of the property, by creating an environmentally balanced and sustainable native landscape composed of the very same elements of water, native grasses and ground covers, palms, and trees.
This natural landscape character will create a unique sense of place for the resort, and at the same time respond in a sensitive and responsible manner to the delicate ecosystem of the Kerala backwaters.
The resort is also designed to conserve, protect and celebrate the local flora and fauna, with specific selection of plants species carefully planned to showcase the region's biodiversity.
The overall experience of the resort landscape is best expressed as an organic landscape that had always been there with buildings sensitively inserted amongst the natural landscape.
While the entire architectural language for the resort is envisioned as low impact, elegant and timeless, select buildings such as the welcome centre are placed as dramatic pieces in the landscape, built with ecologically sustainable materials and modern technology.
Other public facilities include the Welcome Centre, a large 750 square meter swimming pool, designed as a series of levels with strategically placed feature trees and stepped terraces leading to the lake including a platform/ bar that is intended to be floated out every evening into the lake for sunset cocktails. A wellness village set in a 7,000 sqm land area includes a unique spa set within a water garden and connected to a library, yoga pavilion, fitness center and individual spa villas. The wellness village also has an organic restaurant that is planned around a series of aromatic and herb gardens along with ornamental reflection pools to provide a true escape and ensconce the guest in a relaxing environment.
The guest villas are envisioned as a series of contemporary eco pavilions set within a large water garden. Each villa is envisioned to be designed using locally sourced materials and constructed by local craftsmen in a contemporary modern architectural style with lush interiors using recycled wood, stone columns, doors and windows of a traditional Kerala vernacular.
The villas are clustered in different configurations, with one of the typical clusters centered around a courtyard with water features connecting it to the main water channel. These water courts are intended as semi-private gardens that can be used as informal spaces for afternoon teas, cocktails, informal functions/dinners, art classes or just relaxing and lounging.
All villas are designed to be accessed by land or water. At the land-side a provision for electric carts to ferry the residents is provided as well as a bicycle for each guest. Each villa also comes with a canoe and can be accessed via the resorts main water channel. Each villa offers the option for residents to jump from their own private pool to the larger recreational water body that is planned to look and feel like a natural stream or river. Guests also have the option to swim to each of the amenities across the resort. The villas comprise living and sleeping areas in a variety of combinations. Accommodation include master bedroom suites, guest suites, dining, seating and relaxation areas ensconced in a private garden and centered around a private swimming pool.
The design gives rise to a unique resort that creates an experience unmatched by other resorts both locally and globally. By being environmentally conscious with ground breaking architecture and landscape strategies, this is intended to be a benchmark development.
Adira Hospitality Pte Ltd
URBNarc Pte Ltd
Gaurang Khemka, Man Kin Ming, Alejandro Moran
URBNarc was founded by Gaurang Khemka with a vision to design sustainable and complete environments – exceptional communities, places, spaces and buildings. Our expertise is designing for special situations where a unique historic, natural or urban environment requires a thoughtful and innovative solution using an integrated approach to Master Planning, Architecture, Landscape Design and Interior Design by bringing the best professionals and a global pool of talent together.
We won the global competition for designing The Singapore Indian Heritage Centre in collaboration with RGSA, completed in May 2015 and won the Singapore Institute of Architects 2015 award in the institutional category. We are also the architect and interior designer for Alila Seminyak, Indonesia. The 240 room, 5-star beach resort has won 3 International property awards for Design and Construction, is a finalist for the AHDA and WAF awards and also been accredited as a Green Hotel by Earth Check.