The Picket, Jagjeet Nagar, Himachal Pradesh
A boutique hotel located on a hill top in the lower Himalayas, this property stands on the location of a previous construction. The project required one to secure the site from landslide and protect it from seismic activity and fire before any construction could begin on. The building was to include within it guest rooms and suites, conferencing facilities, dining and entertainment spaces, both a central and satellite kitchens along with offices for administrative staff. Additionally, given its relatively remote locations storage facilities and water tanks had to be provided for to an extent that would not have otherwise been required.
The building takes as its point of departure a colonial prototype that has come to define north India’s hill stations. The vernacular precedent and its associated craft traditions provided a strong link to the local community, this project seeked to both strengthen those ties and distinguish itself from them through the use of modern day technologies. The new technologies was to become a learning ground for the community to learn new skills and trades. The building’s façade is built of stone with period detailing. While verandahs surround the main structure as a means of engaging the outdoors and protecting the interior from rain, natural light is brought deep into the interior through a series of clerestory windows.
Spatially the building in the horizontal plane is organized through a central spine that is accessed at one end by a staircase and a lift and is terminated on the other end by a rooms that have expansive views on three sides of the surrounding mountain ranges. As the building rises it steps back to reduce the mass of the building and allow for upper level balconies. The material palette was informed largely by what was available at site, the result of the building that existed there prior to this construction, and what was locally available.
The project recycles both waste and rain water, additionally through the use of low energy fixtures and the combination of both passive and active design strategies for both cooling and heating the building reduces its energy requirements to the extent possible. A combination of design implementable decisions and project management and tracking strategies enabled this remotely located hotel to be constructed both within time and budget.