Construction of Pankhasari Retreat, a shelter and retreat designed by Carlo Ratti Associati in collaboration with Turin-based architect Michele Bonino and a team of more than 20 professionals, began on August 31, 2016. The selected site is a valley in western Bengal, not far from the city of Kalimpong and the most important mountains of the Himalayas, including the world’s third-highest mountain, Kanchenjunga.
In a place with a fragile environmental balance, the project promotes models of sustainable tourism through a form of architecture that preserves the spirit of time and place, the genius loci, and involves local communities, craftspeople and residents in a process of collaboration and iterative design.
The complex offers residential, commercial, sports and agricultural facilities and will be built using local materials such as stone and wood (teak and Sheesham palisander from plantations). The architects complied with bioclimatic principles for the improvement of natural ventilation and shading, and reinterpreted typical elements of vernacular architecture such as verandas and overhangs for sheltering the inhabitants from harsh sun and driving rain.
The Pankhasari Retreat will also be a test of new international ways of living and working, taking advantage of the potential of digital networks and technologies to build a bridge between the local and global communities.
Project: Carlo Ratti Associati, in collaboration with Michele Bonino
Client: ASCO Projects Pvt.Ltd.
Local architect: Ashish Sharan Lal of Alleya and Associates
Structural engineer: Sankha Choudhuri
Location: Himalaya, India
Images courtesy of Carlo Ratti Associati