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Harbored in serene green hillocks of the tea plantation area in northeast Bangladesh, Moulvi Bazar, “Dusai Resort & Spa” is the first of its kind destination resort in the country.
The complex exudes the essence of a traditional village with its formation along the slope of the hills. Existing trees shape out the setting of the cottages, so that the surrounding nature and contour site remain untouched. The resort showcases a hybrid construction system of traditional tea estate bungalows and standardized concrete construction. The structures sit on slender concrete frames anchored to ground raising the structure above ground. A mixed truss system of wood and metal makes roof framing with soft thatch cover. Local technology and materials with local workmanship have been extensively used here.
The program includes a residential complex, dining, a swimming pool, a spa, a conference room and indoor and outdoor gaming facilities. The residential complex is comprised of a main hotel block and individual cottages. Cottages for families are arranged in an array around the courtyard in a semi-private setting and cozy deluxe cottages for couples are arranged in flocks in a more private setting.
The linear site imparts an impression of a labyrinth, sequencing a procession from the reception area to cottages. After the arrival at the resort, guests start their journey by walking along the curved path through the hills to reach their destination allowing them to relish the natural setting. The internal roads and walkways are placed in a labyrinth loop encompassing the complex allowing to travel the whole area in circular motions. Programs in the linear site are distributed into public, semi-private and private zones in a consecutive manner. The public zone of the reception sits at the beginning that leads to a semi private zone with the main hotel and cottages for families along with recreational amenities, such as the sports area and the swimming pool. Following the dining, with golf court view, leads to the spa facilities and towards the private zone consisting of exclusive guest cottages at the end of the complex. Service amenities blend the semi private and private zones and are blend into the surrounding.
The aesthetics of the resort endeavours toward prioritizing nature over built structures. Rooms with large opening apertures towers nature invites the greeneries to step inside and let guests enjoy the spectacular and uninterrupted view of surrounding from their dwellings. Nature is not lost in its extravagance but nurtured.
Letting nature dominate
The existing natural contour and wilderness was respected consciously since the inception of this project while placing structures in master plan. Existing natural open spaces were utilized; smaller segmented and scattered structures were placed within existing trees and natural topography of site. Natural contour guided the overall planning of the project. Building structures on the slopes allowed the structures to blend in with the surrounding, letting the wild green background dominate rather than the structures being overpowering. All the rooms face nature and open up to the surrounding wilderness with a large, barrier-free viewing aperture.
The approach of site specific design method makes this complex environment conscious while allowing to create a very unique complex in this region, where nature is the only dominant force.
Building in clusters
Traditional homestead in Bangladesh features courtyards and clusters. Individual houses are built around courtyards, which in turn form clusters.
In Dusai, this principal is followed. Varying functions are grouped around courtyards (valleys) forming clusters aligned with hilly slope contour. Connections between the clusters are made through a labyrinth path way that follows natural contour.
Contextual & Sustainable structures
Bangladesh is a river delta and the topography is in general flat. Some hilly areas exist only in the North-East and South-East region. For this reason generally conventional process is implied even in hilly regions. Popular technique is to flatten the hilltop build o to build at base of valleys that disrupts natural rainwater drainage.
But the traditional construction technique follows more sustainable approach that allows building on slopes. This project applies a combination of traditional and conventional techniques to make the structures more sustainable and have less adverse impact on its surrounding. Bungalows were built on slope on stilts. Construction on stilt allowed drainage to remain uninterrupted, retain natural balance, keep existing dense vegetation untouched and letting nature dominated over built structures.
Therefore, Dusai stands considerably apart from formal construction culture and follows
time tested traditional techniques.
Location: Sreemangal, Bangladesh
Architects: VITTI Sthapati Brindo Ltd.
Photographs: Ahsanul Haque Rubel, Hasan Saifuddin Chandan