RAAS Chhatrasagar is a 16-key hospitality property located near the town of Nimaj, Rajasthan. Chhatrasagar is an artificial lake that formed roughly 150 years ago when a Rajput noble created a check dam across a tributary to the Luni. A lush green belt along the dam walls has formed over the years, attracting migratory birds. The design brief called for replacing the temporary camps with a perennial property resilient to the region`s extreme temperatures. In addition there was a need to increase the capacity to sixteen tented units and augment the public spaces with a richer amenity mix. The sensitive ecological context made it imperative that all additions to the locale be erected with minimal impact. The architects thus designed a system of low-impact foundations and lightweight superstructures employing a dry construction methodology and using lime as a binder for the minimal wet work. The site is revealed in layers, uniting the experience of discovery with an element of surprise, by working in harmony with the context and tying numerous touchpoints to establish meaningful connections. Guests arrive at a drop-off area and walk through a shaded path; a stone wall and the dam`s planted slopes gradually reveal themselves. They then climb a series of stepped stone plinths before emerging in a courtyard that frames the lake with sweeping vistas of the forests. Thus, the courtyard unites the project`s public and private spaces. The functional programme comprises public and private spaces in a linear configuration along the length of the dam. To the north of the central courtyard is the reception cum bar and restaurant, Baradari, abutted by an all-season infinity pool to the west; screened by a small garden is the owners` private residence along its northern edge. The residence is placed with adjoining back-of-house functions to receive a continuous supply of fresh, farm-to-table produce. Bordering the court`s southern periphery is the camp consisting of stilted tented pods reminiscent of the tents of yore. Designed using a lightweight metal frame with dry infill stone, the Baradari is a contemporary expression of the Rajputana traditional gathering. It creates a seamless connection between the two key experiences offered by the site—the panoramic views of the lake, and the serenity of the forest belt, with its built envelope extending up to the embankment walls on one side, and opening onto the deck lining the private pool on the other. A tensile fabric roof stretches over a series of lightweight partitions mounted with boarding and hand-painted fabrics executed by Dhvani Behl`s studio Flora For Fauna. The fabric linings create a canvas that celebrates the diversity of plant and animal life in the region—a reflection of the wilderness beyond. Private suites designed to provide uninterrupted views of the forest as well as the lake are nestled between these partitions. Local timber and stone punctuate the spatial experience; in tune with the design philosophy of RAAS Jodhpur, local crafts have been expressed as contemporary interventions in the new property.

Constructed, Nov, 2019