Page 13 - U4SSC Case study: Affordable housing and social inclusion, June 2020
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In 2014, Nomadic Resorts was approached by Resplendent Ceylon, a successful local hotel management
            company, and asked to design a low-impact, tented resort that would set a sustainability benchmark
            in Sri Lanka and rival the high-end safari operators in Southern Africa. The aim of the project was
            to rehabilitate a 7-hectare site, build a tent camp and transform the site into a sanctuary for the
            surrounding wildlife.

            There were, however, a range of complex challenges associated with the project – the site had been
            leased as part of a tourism development initiative – as water, electricity and sewage treatment facilities
            were all absent. The site was a 14 km drive from the nearest village and the winding, dirt road access
            was challenging. In essence, a resort for 72 guests and a staff village to cater for nearly 120 personnel
            was created, in an area regularly frequented by elephants, leopards and bears.

            These challenges were overcome by developing relations with the local community, using a former
            school principal as the community manager in the village and a 22-year-old British intern from the
            University of Plymouth as the construction manager, 3D renders for the project were presented to a
            group of 26 local, unskilled workers who were asked to lend their assistance.

            Large,  experienced  contractors  had  already  proved  reticent  to  build  a  series  of  contemporary,
            organically shaped buildings in such a remote location, which were in complete aesthetic contrast to
            their traditional work. However, the local community embraced the project and immediately recognized
            its value and agreed to become involved in the project.

            Vision and content

            The vision of the project was to create a camp with organic architecture that integrates seamlessly into
            the site and the rugged sandy coastline overlooking the Indian Ocean. The entire lodge is designed
            to give visitors an intimate experience of Yala, celebrating the flora, fauna and culture of the area
            with minimal intrusion on the landscape. Local influences form an integral part of the project, from
            vernacular traditions and materials to community involvement. The architecture references natural
            formations in Yala’s landscape, namely the massive, rounded boulders scattered throughout the park,
            at the macro scale, and termite mounds, at the micro scale. Adopting a human scale in between, the
            camp’s main buildings appear as outcrops of boulder-like pavilions clustered organically together at
            either end of the site. Larger, open volumes intersect with smaller enclosed domes that house more
            private functions.

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