Achieve a balance between continuity with the past, without fossilizing it, and a change for the future without making it incongruous with its contextual surroundings.
The Oberoi Udaivilas is a super luxury heritage resort on the banks of Lake Pichola at Udaipur. Spread over 35 acres it comprises 90 rooms (including 85 standard guestrooms, 4 suites and 1 presidential suite) with a lobby, dining areas, a bar, conference and meeting rooms having a built up area of 25,000 sqm.
Assimilation of spaces resembles traditional palace structure and complex. Every room has a courtyard adjacent to it and some also have swimming pools adjacent to the courtyard. Courtyards were incorporated as they are the essence of the architecture of Mewar. Thick walls with cusped arch openings and niches, all lend the resort a vibrant, ever altering experience and a unique identity.
The entire complex was given a creamy white monotone using lime wash, the commonly used surface paint for centuries. The domes were covered with traditional lime plastering technique called Ghutai. Everything used in the building is a gentle reminder of the past from brass doors with spherical doorsteps to the corridors with 450 stone columns each carved by hand and given a local ghutai finish to the the kri work in the dome of the Candle Room and in small niches all over to the gold leaf work on ceilings.
The design shows that contemporary needs can be blended well with the historic ambience of the product, without compromising with any of the bottom lines of the end-user. It also establishes that it is possible to respect the land, the land form, the rocks, the tree cover, the skyline, and other natural features of the site, while designing a project of such a magnitude and complexity. It has also shown that local traditions and crafts have a quality of timelessness that transcends nationalities and technologies to redefine grandeur in public spaces and that traditional aesthetics and contemporary taste are not at cross purposes if used in a balanced manner. The project also generated employment for more than 300 craftspersons for more than 3 years.