Jibu and Thomas Architects
Ar.Jibu John, Ar.Thomas K George
Kofiland- Resort design
Site: Kumily, Idukki
Plot Area: 7 acres
Why is this project special?
Situated amidst majestic silver oaks in Idukki, Kofiland Resort, with its traditional overhanging sloped roofs, windows & skylights, adheres to the valley encircled by coffee plantations & as the name “Kofiland” implies, it is designed for the guests to experience the essence of coffee & spice.
The majority of the timber for the construction has been taken from the site itself, especially the handrails which has been artistically crafted with coffee twigs and the roof ceiling and balustrade for the bridges made of casuarina logs. In the restaurant & administration block, Casuarina log pieces are stacked together as a component and placed below rafters. These are also used as vertical & horizontal louvres, and handrails have been artistically crafted with locally available coffee twigs.
Tell us something about your project?
Raised up on stilts, the cluster of cottages with its traditional overhanging sloped roofs, windows & skylights, are combined with a modernist architectural style and designed to almost dissolve in the wilderness.
The construction was planned so as to cause minimal disturbance to the existing land terrain, with comparatively less excavation and filling, while prioritising views of the lake valley.
What was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
The primary request of the client was to preserve the coffee plantation spread over 60 Acres. Thus, the brief demanded a building blending well with the surroundings, but also one with a distinct harmony. The design had to provide the ambience of a holiday spot while creating a “merging reality” with minimal disturbance to the existing habitat & contours.
Each stilted cottage reduced excavation & filling and the circular stilts camouflage with existing trees. Facades are treated to merge using earth colours & a staggered arrangement is followed, providing views of the lake valley, the lush green trees & coffee plantations. Thus an effervescent feeling of reconnecting with nature is felt.
The air movement and the natural lighting have been fully utilized through maximized wall openings, skylights, and clerestories. Each building unit in the resort has been oriented in such a way facing the morning sun. Thus the passive design measures have been incorporated to maximize the natural ventilation, heating and cooling and lighting. Kofiland was built with locally available materials where the majority of the sand, stones and timber for the construction were taken locally from the site itself initiating a sustainable approach to the construction. The earth obtained during the dredging of the lake was used for making retaining walls and laying pathways for buggies while the sand was used for the entire construction.
Another sustainable feature is the construction of floors for the buildings using the precast hollow core concrete shell which is earthquake and fire-resistant as it is cost-effective, quick to assemble and build, have less self-weight, use less raw material, etc.
What is the lesson you learned in this project that you would like to pass on to the next generation of architects?
The opportunity to create and better the aesthetic quality of a given space, either a blank one or an existing one, is always an exciting option for us. Create your own space and live your dream.