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India’s wine capital welcomes eco-sustainable hotel

by Ofentse Sefolo
India’s wine capital welcomes eco-sustainable hotel

Nashik is an ancient city in Maharashtra, India, with a population of over 1,5 million. Located about 190km north of state capital, Mumbai, it is known as the “Wine Capital of India”, home to half of the country’s vineyards and wineries. Nashik enjoys a relatively mild version of the tropical wet and dry climate, with very dry winters where temperatures rarely rise above 30°C and drop down to about 10°C at night because of its high altitude, at 584m above sea level.

Where the river flows
Uniquely positioned between the Godavari, India’s second-longest river after the Ganges, on the one side and the gentle hills on the other side, stands Aria Hotel. This is the latest project designed by Mumbai-based studio Sanjay Puri Architects, known for their work which is respecting of the context, material and environment.

The idyllic location slopes 9m from the south side, overlooking the hills to the north side, where the river flows, providing guests with a beautiful area to reconnect with nature.

Built on a base of locally sourced natural black basalt stone, Aria Hotel is a stunning design of carefully multiple levels stacked onto the landscape, designed around sustainability and boasting several passive and active features to make it incredibly energy efficient.

The new hotel features 60 luxury suites, a restaurant, bar, spa and large banquet hall of almost 1 500m² for large family or corporate events.

Considered design
Given their eco-sensitive approach to sustainable construction, Sanjay Puri Architects says that no soil was taken out of the site or brought into the site during the construction process to protect the natural topography.

The north side of the building includes several modules with large balconies that look out over the river. Throughout each of the 60 suites as well as the common areas, the hotel boasts an abundance of natural light thanks to several floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors. Additionally, the spaces, including the main courtyards, are naturally ventilated, which is further reducing the hotel’s energy usage.

The client’s requirements included a large banquet hall of 15 000 square feet in addition to 60 rooms and other facilities. Since the banquet hall will have large gatherings, its access is planned directly from the road frontage at the lowest level of the site. The public facilities including the hotel lobby, restaurant, bar, spa and business centre occupy a higher level 6m above the banquet hall, entered directly from an ascending approach road and keeping the traffic flow separate.

Shade and privacy
One of the most noticeable features is that each of the luxury units boasts large rectangular balconies that are angled to frame the incredible views of the river landscape. However, these angled outdoor spaces with overhanging roofs were also specifically designed to provide shade and minimise heat gain throughout the interior spaces.

Large windows and angled outdoor spaces with overhanging roofs were specifically designed to provide shade and minimise heat gain throughout the interior spaces, while making the most of the view

At each floor, the rooms form rectilinear cuboids that are angled differently to create balconies that frame the picturesque surroundings with two floor-high suites at the topmost levels. Painted in terracotta colour stucco, these frames are juxtaposed with the black basalt stone walls of the lower floors.

The rooms at the higher level are oriented to face the river in the north or the immediate hills in the south, with open circulation spaces and naturally ventilated and skylit courtyards. Each level of the hotel is integrated with the natural contours of the site, minimising land cutting and landfill. No soil was taken out of the site or brought into the site while constructing, making the construction both economical and sustainable.

Energy efficiency
The hotel meets an estimated 50% of its energy needs, with more than 50% of the walls built with the natural black basalt stone available in close proximity of the site, as well as the fact that all the circulation spaces are naturally lit and ventilated, rendering the building energy efficient. Solar panels on the rooftop, over the banquet kitchen and parking areas, generate 50% of the electrical energy required for the hotel.

Rainwater harvesting tanks, with water recycling and reuse, further add to the sustainable methods adopted for the design of this hotel. All the rooms, restaurant, spa and banquets open into sheltered balconies and decks that provide outdoor usable spaces whilst minimising the heat gain into the internal volumes.

Eco-sustainable stay
Aria Hotel by Sanjay Puri Architects offers the possibility of an eco-sustainable holiday because it is designed contextually, responding to the site contours, the views of the surroundings, the climate and the materials, creating a web of experiences within its different volumes.

This hotel building is contextual to the site’s location, climate and the client’s brief, amalgamating them cohesively, delivering a building that makes a remarkable impression.

With thanks and consideration to Newswire for the information contained in this article, all photos used are by Dinesh Mehta.

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