Broader ambition The ambition of this project is to make Digana (Kandy, Sri Lanka), the eastern Kandy region's Eco-tourism hub, and to create a gateway for… more
history of architecture, theory of architecture more
This project reads the author's great love for the chosen topic and this territory and great diligence in working out the concept. The author proposed a rather diverse functional scenario of the tourist complex. All the buildings of the complex have been worked out in very detail, separately I would like to note successful design and engineering solutions.
The proposed general plan of the complex looks somewhat rigid and too urban in relation to this environment and the topic of the ecoclaster, there is not enough detailed study of the main pedestrian lines and the embankment. It is a pity that the existing village mentioned in the concept is not sufficiently integrated into the new concept in terms of tourist routes and functional ties. However, all this does not detract from the merits of the project. I wish the author further success!
Dear Natalya Khomutova,
Thank you very much for your insightful review. it surely helps me a lot to shape my future careers.
The ambition of this project is to make Digana (Kandy, Sri Lanka), the eastern Kandy region's Eco-tourism hub, and to create a gateway for the outside world to feel the marvelous ecological and social context in Digana. The project intends to make Digana a major stopover point in the journey from Kandy by creating tourism magnet activities with the resources which Digana can offer.
- Centralized location to Eco-tourism attractions in the eastern Kandy region
- Fare distance to Kandy city through A26 road as a transportation linkage
- Unique and vibrant ecological and social context in Digana
Based on the background studies, it has been identified, highlighting tourism-focused development notion in the Kandyan context. Considering the agglomeration cloud spread and linkages that connects Kandy with the other parts of the island, the approach to the macro urban design proposal had been formed on creating a tourism-focused development stretch along the A 26 road towards to Digana area, interlacing 4 satellite townships which has development potentials for different tourism types. in the development stretch, the greater intention was to develop the Digana area as the eastern hub of eco-tourism and tourism facilitation.
Deriving from the macro proposal, 3 major potential areas had been demarcated for the micro-urban development proposal including the existing Digana township. Digana township zone has been identified with a potential to develop as tourism-related services and facilities focused township development. as the second zone, the intermediate zone has been recognized with majorly residential and industrial land uses. it had been proposed for a reschedule with the same land uses but with a land management strategy to avoid haphazard developments. as the third zone, the riverfront tourism development zone has been identified, and majorly agro-tourism and adventure tourism activities had been proposed with the potential ecological context. creating the connectivity, the overall idea was to interlace the three ones with a spinal road network that acts as a transportation and activity linkage that connects the main A 26 transportation linkage and proposed riverfront tourism activity linkage.
Riverfront tourism development zone
The riverfront zone had been dedicated to the promotion of adventure and agro-tourism activities. As the proposal, the upper area away from the waterfront is to be developed as an agro-tourism promotion zone with cocoa and coffee farming and agro cabana resort activities. the waterfront had been proposed to develop as an adventure-themed waterfront promenade, which provides the entrance to the proposed adventure trail running along the riverbank, interlacing nearby tourism hotspots.
Design ideology - gateway to the paradise
The initial design idea was to create a gateway to this paradise of the marvelous ecological and vibrant social context of Digana by creating the tourism magnet activity which makes Digana a major stopover in the proposed master proposal. In achieving that, this design intends to create a gateway that interconnects the visitor community to this local community and nature, with the intention of celebrating the uniqueness of social context and appreciating the vibrance of nature to preserve and enhance their current status. With certain intentions, this design will act as a platform to interact local community to the tourist community and open up opportunities for both locals and visitor community with a broader intention of uplifting the local community and preserving the natural value of the Digana context. in general, the design focuses on activities that celebrate nature and culture and facilitates services to enhance the certain experience
The adventure-themed water promenade consists of 5 main blocks, the riverfront visitor center, the restaurant block and public hangout, the convention pavilion, the jungle pavilion, and the aqua pavilion. The water promenade offers adventure-themed activities with many choices for the visitors to experience and grab the essence of the paradise-like natural context in Digana and the colors of the local community.
The river-front Visitor center
Celebrating the vibrant ecological and social context It can experience the socio-ecological vibrance, just by observing the context. But what can imprint that experience or feel that vibrance? it is always a curiosity and an entrancement to a new experience can make a lifetime memory. The reality consists of processes rather than objects and the best way to imprint a lifetime memory on the vibrant Socio - eco context of Digana, is to interact with the visitor's mind through an adventurous process interacts with nature and people.
Achieving adventure through space
When defining the space as perceived, conceived, and lived spaces, the lived space always consists of processes, depending on the perspective we define a space, what we see, think, and feel in specific spaces are unique to one another. With the dynamic special forms, curious spaces, and uniqueness of human minds, there will always be a new adventure in every interaction with the space
The spatial brief
The entrance to the Visitor Center building is through an open public space that interconnects an outdoor event space, kiosks and cottage industry outlet shop area, elevated river view platform, river view public platform, and parking area. The main intention of this spatial combination is to act as a platform that creates interaction between the local community and the visitor community by sharing values and generating new opportunities for both parties.
Leveling down from the entrance public space, it directs to the entrance gallery which exhibits the importance and history of Digana with the framed view of the water promenade and fascinating riverfront ecosystem.
With a sense of direction and curiosity through framed views and reflective textures, next, the visitor guides to the main event hall and outdoor event terrace. The indoor event hall adjoins with front reception, an information desk, and a lounge with shared washroom blocks. The event hall serves the purpose of holding cultural, eco-awareness events and festivals on behalf of sharing the values between the native community of Digana and the visitors.
In the lower level, the facility houses service counters dedicated to tourism services such as bookings and ticketing, bicycle rent-out counters, and then the administration and service areas adjoin. Accessing through the pathway which enwraps the building through all the levels, it leads to riverfront adventure areas with adult and children’s adventure activity parks, archery ranges, and the riverfront adventure trails which interlaces the tri pavilions and public hangout and restaurant block. Furthermore, the visitor center building interconnects with jungle and aqua pavilions with a zipline which has access through climbing adventure walls on the North east elevation of the building.
Restaurant and public hangout
The restaurant and public hangout block consist of two leveled restaurants and a deck area with seating which can be both used as an outdoor dining space and a public hang-out area. The public hangout space especially focuses on the elderly and young community to use the space as a recreational community space which Digana lacks for such needs of the community. The public hangout interconnects with the main visitor center and the road and the riverfront adventure trail as well for a broadened user experience.
The convention pavilion
The convention pavilion consists of a large event hall, a mini auditorium facility, and an outdoor amphitheater area that has been dedicated to community events. The pavilion has been designed in a way that captures a 180-degree view of the waterbody. As secondary intentions, the mini auditorium and event hall facility intends to cater to the youngsters of the neighboring community by acting as a place for educational programs and to cater seasonal festival events as well.
The Jungle pavilion
The jungle pavilion acts as the gateway to the wild adventurous trails which will lead to Maberiyathenna camping grounds and famous eco-tourist attractions such as Pettigala mountain. The jungle pavilion includes a zip line deck, a sightseeing deck and camping equipment hiring counters, and a first aid room to function in an emergency situation.
The Aqua pavilion
The aqua pavilion caters to all the waterbody-related water adventure activities. The pavilion is integrated with a boat and canoe deck with an open deck area to stock canoes and kayaks, a water adventure activity-related equipment renting counters quarters for the caretaker, and a first aid room to function in any emergency situations.
Taking advantage of available natural resources
Considering the site location and sun, and wind behavior, and especially with the consideration of the topographic pattern of the site, the building had been oriented facing the neighboring water body. As another significant reason, it had been a requirement for the specific building orientation to achieve the functional and architectural requirement of creating a gateway to the waterfront and capturing the action area of the macro scheme.
As a passive strategy to maintain an optimal thermal environment inside the building, the spaces had been designed in a way that can maintain a well-distributed, uninterrupted airflow through the spaces with cross ventilation strategies and with stack effect. Furthermore, to support maintaining optimal thermal condition inside the building by avoiding unnecessary heat gain, intermediate courtyards had been added to the design which in a way supports the cross-ventilation strategy as well.
Due to the building's orientation, it had to face challenges such as exposing the west elevation to direct sunlight during most of the daytime hours. To mitigate the negative effects of heat, gain the direct sun-facing exterior walls had to be thermal insulated.
Furthermore, to enhance the thermal insulation of sun-facing walls, an exterior façade system, and tree lines had been added as thermal barriers. The exterior façade system had been designed in a way that avoids the direct sun but gives diffused sunlight into the building while filtering the heat rays.
Also, the exterior façade design had been set in a flexible manner with openable flaps to control the airflow into the building as per functional needs. Tree lines and green walls had been added especially at the east elevation of the building, Infront of the direct sun-facing walls, to filter the heat rays from the sunlight and to act as a heat-absorbing element as well. For the tree lines, the native bamboo trees had been used to promote the local flora habitat pattern and especially to enhance the air quality in the building premises.
With the building orientation facing the east with the building form volumes arranged according to topography pattern levels, the east elevation of the building is getting exposed to the direct sun during most of the daytime hours. Considering this setting as a pro point, with the arrangement of spaces, the openings of the building had been designed in a way that can capture a maximum amount of daylight into the building throughout the active hours as per the functional requirements. To enhance the natural lighting effect, the design included large openings and tailor-made facades for each opening to control the required light level during different light conditions of the day.
With the movement of the sun during day hours, it had to control the direct sunlight falling to the main spaces of the design. As a strategy, the exterior kinetic façade had been designed with translucent materials for flaps to get diffused light into the building and the flaps were designed in an openable manner to get more sunlight into the building during low light situations. Furthermore, in spaces which is unable to include more openings due to the architectural requirements, glossy surface finishing materials had been used to reflect nature throughout the building in a way that incorporates the architectural quality of the space.
In the material selection for the design, it has been considered the recyclability, reusability, contribution to the building's carbon footprint, and the ease of post-operational demolition process in the first place.
With certain considerations, the following materials had been selected for the main structural components, due to their pro points over the other alternatives considered.
Dolomite concrete has been selected as an alternative for typical cement concrete, due to the ease of procure-ability of material with the wide availability of dolomite quarries in the surrounding context. Due to this selection, adds the pro points of merging the structure with natural dolomite texture, extra structural stability, weather protection due to its stiffness, and reducing the carbon footprint of the building. In the demolition stage, the dolomite concrete arts are to be used for landfills.
CFRP material had been selected as an alternative for steel as a structural material. Due to the requirement of long spans and lower structural volumes and the inability of steel to use together with dolomite concrete due to its chemical content, the CFRP material had been selected among the other alterations. The material is to be reused or recycled after the demolition of the building.
Locally available Dolomite blocks had been used for the retaining walls in the design, instead of using gravel. Due to the selection of dolomite blocks, positively contributes to reducing the carbon footprint of the building, increasing the structural stability, and well response to dampness and weather. After demolition, blocks are to be reused.
In this design, due to its sensitive environment surrounding and the waterbody neighboring, the septic and soakage pits had been located at the upper level away from the water table, to avoid any pollution which can occur due to the waste dumped.
With the leveled formation of the building volumes, the rainwater is to be collected from rooftop levels and gradually collected into a collection sump at the lower level of the building. The sump will be connected with the pump room and harvested rainwater to be reused for flushing, watering of green roofs and green facades, etc.
With the perfect accessibility to the solar and wind resources with the specific orientation of the building on-site, it had the choice of using both solar and wind energy for energy generation strategies. Considering the usage of solar panels, due to the hardships of reusing and recycling thick cell solar panels, using of photovoltaic panels had been reduced on purpose. Instead of thick cell photovoltaic panels, transparent photovoltaic panels had been used for direct sun-facing surfaces while giving priority to energy generation to wind energy-focused strategies. As the main wind energy capturing method, the building had been integrated with kinetic wind facades, which can capture the wind force through flaps and transfer them into electricity. In the designed kinetic wind façade, the capturing wind energy through-hardened fabric canvas flaps are transferred to a kinetic spring at the top and bottom façade levels, through a rotating axel pole. With the kinetic energy stored in the kinetic spring, the unstable force is stabilized and transferred to spring propelled dynamo turbine system. The transferred electricity is to be directed to battery storage through a transformer and be used to fulfilling the energy need of the building. Due to the use of energy generation and use of passive strategies, the building was able to reduce active systems to a considerable level.
Biophilic design goals
Integrating natural features
In integrating the natural elements into the design, as per the biophilic design principles, green roofs and green facades had been integrated into the design to increase the visual quality of the space. Furthermore, interconnecting the design with natural elements, the chime of bamboo leaves, the sense of wind and the movement of natural light had been brought into the space through different kinetic façade elements, habitat facades, and trees coverings used for intermediate courtyard spaces.
Visual connections with nature
As another requirement to achieve the design concept of creating an adventurous journey through the building, framing and interconnecting the spaces with natural views has been done while in some places to give a sense of direction to the space.
Nonrhythmic sensory stimuli
In this design, with the integration of courtyards and kinetic façade elements, the design intention of integrating sensory stimuli into the space had been achieved. The natural patterns such as the wind movement, movement of light, and the chime of leaves had been integrated into space on creating a unique definition for each space.
Dynamic and diffuse lights
Adding uniqueness to each space, dynamic and diffuse light effects had been used on several spaces such as in the cantilevered river view platform and main event area, etc. for the enhancement of the effect, suitable material textures were used for finishes and the spaces had been located with referring to the sun movement with the building orientation.
Connection with natural systems
Respecting the natural systems, the design had to consider the natural drain flow of the site with the existing topographic pattern. As a solution, the built volume had been formed into levels and at each level, space allocations to natural drain flow had been set and the rainwater drains of the building had been separately connected to a collection sump for reuse purposes.
Responding to natural systems, the habitat walls had been added to the design as an element that camouflages the design in the surrounding greenery and a habitat wall that houses space for flora and fauna diversity. The irrigated felt bags with growth materials hold the ability to grow for native creepers and plants while the net layer underneath creates a safe place enclosed with plant cover for bird breeding and as a safe living place for other creatures.
The site and contextual responsive goals
Due to the steep slope of the site, the placement of the building is in a challenging state. Responding to the natural contour of the site, the building volumes had been arranged to sit on the natural contour with having cantilevered architectural elements while minimalizing the soil cuts and fills to be done in the construction stage.
Avoiding visual pollution
Mitigating the visual pollution which can occur due to the construction, the design has used exterior finishing materials with colors and textures to well merge with the color and texture patterns in the surrounding nature.
Avoiding UHI effects
Minimalizing any urban heat island effect which can occur due to the construction, the building had been designed enwrapped with green coverings and facades which will act as non-thermal reflective surfaces, and the tree barriers to acting as heat absorbent elements.
On achieving the concept, the design philosophy intends to highlight freedom and dynamic movement through building form. Therefore, the building massing has been set with polygonic forms arranged in different levels and orientations. On achieving the structural needs, the design faces the challenge of designing the structure into these odd forms to carefully transform the loads into the ground. Under that circumstance, the design requires to design of the structural elements in a way that does not distract the architectural character of the design and minimalizes the structural volumes which gives more space to functional requirements.
As a building located in a highly challenging and sensitive natural context, the site and contextual responsiveness of the structural design comes as another priority. Majorly, the challenging topography pattern needs to be well responded and nevertheless, the sustainable design requirements should also be fulfilled while considering the architectural, functional, and site-responsive needs of the structural design.
Considering the material sustainability, a durable material palette that can long last for the operational lifespan of the building with the perfect eligibility of the structural design requirements, durability, local weather responsive requirements, and the material finishing has been selected for the design.
As an additional requirement, the materiality selected to corporate with the less maintenance aspect of structural design.
Passive design supportive structural design
Achieving the passive cooling and lighting strategies of the design, the requirement of wide openings had to be achieved by providing enough structural spans for openings with the support of CFRP box bar lintel beams while with a minimal disturbance to the internal wind flow of the building.
For the requirement of achieving long spans for the interior spaces and openings, CFRP arched hollow beams and box section hollow beams are to be used, and in higher span requirements, the super beam strategy is to be used to achieve required structural spans without having the support of intermediate columns.
As another passive strategy requirement, a level break of the roof slab has to be achieved through the structural design, with the selection of super beam strategy, the required structural span, and the gap between the slab has been achieved through a CFRP hollow bar structure.
Due to the building orientation, east elevation facing to the east side, it has been exposed to the direct sun during most of the day hours. Due to the inability (reducing structural volumes) of increasing the wall width to achieve a better thermal capacity the east elevation exterior walls had been included with a thermal insulation layer had been added in between the two rammed earth wall layers.
Energy generative element supportive structural design
On achieving the energy requirement of the building, the strategies of generating energy through solar panels and wind-powered kinetic facades have been integrated into the design. For the walls which have large openings with fixed transparent photovoltaic panels, a lintel beam support with CFRP box profile hollow beam has been integrated. Supporting the exterior and interior kinetic walls which are attached to the rammed earth walls, structural support has been provided for the façade grid from the top and a CFRP base plate has been added to transfer the load into the main structural grid of the building. Due to this primary structural support provided to the main façade grids from the top and bottom, a smaller number of intermediate supportive mounts has been attached to the rammed earth walls with low depth drilling which does not damage the insulation layer included in the walls. Selecting a suitable material for the interior and exterior kinetic facades, a lightweight material that can capture a higher amount of wind force and weather resistance had been considered. Additionally, with the environmental design, a non-gloss textured material for the exterior façade had been required and the selection of PVC coated hardened canvas material with a treated bamboo frame has been selected due to its lightweight and the ability to transfer more wind force into the vertical axels which are connected to the kinetic spiral propelled dynamos from the top level of the facades.
Biophilic design goals
Integrating natural features
As one of the main features to achieve in biophilic design, in the attempt of integrating natural features into space, a green roof has been used as a primary strategy. Especially for the rooftop public spaces, river view decks, and event terrace integrated with the main event space, green covers have been used for the floors. Additionally in selected walls, a green cover has been achieved by habitat walls and moss coverings to improve the visual quality of the space. Due to the damage which can cause to the structure due to the dampness of green coverings, root barriers and damp proofing membranes had been added between the structure and green coverings. As one of the main threats of dampness, the structural reinforcement layer has been secured from dampness due to its material selection of CFRP as a reinforcement material instead of steel.
Natural shapes and forms
Integrating natural shapes and forms into the design, the contour-responsive polygonic building form comes as a major structural challenge to achieve. Due to the unparallel structural grid, the typical structural strategies were unable to corporate and a flexible CFRP column beam grid with interconnective CFRP plates had to be used on creating a proper connection within the structural elements which fixes in odd angles.
As another main design feature, the exterior façade had the initial idea of making its flaps in polygonic shapes. Due to the functional ease and productivity of wind force catchment and energy transformation process from one type of kinetic energy to another by rotating axels and kinetic spirals, it came up with the simple rectangular fin system arranged in an organic patterned 90-degree grid.
Dynamic and diffusive light
As a design feature, dynamic and diffusive light effects had been added to spaces with the tackling of the movement in natural light and the movement of kinetic façade elements. The diffusive lighting effects in the cantilevered gallery space and river view platform had been achieved through light gaps created with the slightly cut dolomite concrete structural encasement layer. For the enhancement of such spaces, materials with a glossy texture had been used as floor and wall finishes to reflect the diffused light into the space.
Furthermore, the exterior kinetic façade fins had been covered with PVC-coated canvas fabric materials to control the direct light falling into the building while getting diffused light into space due to the translucent quality of the fabric material.
Material connection with nature
Selecting the texture finishes of exposed building materials, a color palette inspired by the surrounding nature had been picked. Moreover, to hide the artificial textures of materials such as steel and CFRP, an encasement layer made out of dolomite concrete had been included to well merge with the material texture of rammed earth partition walls.
Complexity and order
As a spatial quality to give the exact feel into the space, the complexity of the space had been highly considered. On adding complexity to space, natural features had been added, and to avoid the distracting complexity which can fade out the complexity of natural elements in space, due to the structural elements, a top coating/encasement layer had been added to hide the complexity added by artificial elements such as structural trusses, etc.
Functional and architectural design goals
Maximized functional spaces vs fewer structural volumes
Due to the steep slope of the site, and to achieve the architectural requirement of composing the building volumes on different levels, it had been a major challenge to achieve the design requirements with the typical constructional strategies.
When achieving the structure, with the common constructional methods such as going for a concrete column beam grid, it had the major disadvantage of higher structural volume required for columns and beams.
Due to this matter, a significant amount of the available space had to be reserved for the structural elements. As a solution for this challenge, the alternative of steel column beam grid had been selected and with that option, it came out the rusting issues with the proposed encasement, dolomite concrete materials chemical content. Therefore, the alternative of carbon fiber reinforced concrete had been selected for the structural column beam grid and the structural volumes had been further reduced by using arched and hollow profile CFRP bars.
Undisturbed architectural character
With the structural material alteration to Carbon fiber reinforced polymer, and the functional and architectural requirement of reducing the structural volumes of column beam grid, the CFRP bars had been fixed in truss formations and for single bars, it had to use a box or arched profiled hollow bars. With the texture and finishing of CFRP structural elements, it added an artificial complexity to the space, disturbing the design intention of merging with the natural texture and finishes palette.
As a solution for a certain issue, an encasement layer had been used to hide the CFRP structural elements and to well respond to the structural finish with overall spatial quality. As an additional benefit, the dolomite concrete encasement added extra strength and weather protective effect to the structural grid, due to the stiff quality of dolomite material.
The site and contextual responsive design goals
According to the steep topographic pattern, the building volume had been segmented into leveled volumes and placed on the natural contour, to minimalize the soil cuts and fills required to place the building on the ground. With the functional needs and highlighting architectural elements of the building, it had been used cantilevering technics to achieve certain architectural characteristics of the building without going for mass soil cuts and fills on site.
minimalizing visual pollution
The building surrounds a vibrant ecological context that still remains in an untouched state. With this addition of building to this green environment, the design intention was to minimalize the visual pollution which can occur due to the structure and merge the building with the context. Achieving the requirement, the structure had been wrapped with material finishes that merge with the colors and textures in the surrounding nature and included green facades and green roofs to minimalize the visual pollution occurring due to the construction
Avoiding UHI effects
The building is located in a sensitive green environment which is also surrounded by local residential settlements. It is a necessity to respond to any urban heat island effects which can occur due to the construction. Solving certain issues, non-thermal reflective materials had been used for the exterior finishes in this design, and to further reduce the heat reflective effect, green facades had been added and tree barriers were included to act as a thermal absorbent.