The newly opened boutique resort The Pavilions Himalayas refers itself as “Nepals first eco-friendly resort”. Nestled in a valley near the Phewa Lake in Pokhara, The Pavilions Himalayas consists of fifteen luxurious, eco-friendly villas which incorporate the best of the available and the new. Facilities offered by the resort include a luxury spa, swimming pool and the highest quality of organically produced farm vegetables from the skilled in-house chef.
I spoke to Alex Shrestha, Managing Director of Wonaw & Associates regarding the architecture and the making of the eco-friendly resort, The Pavilions Himalayas. Makes up a pretty interesting interview from certainly a very different angle in comparison to my other blog features. On a side note, I had the task of researching a resort/tourism product which claims that it is sustainable or ‘green’ for my studies recently and it would’ve been great had I known about The Pavilions Himalayas then. Nonetheless, here’s to hoping that this info/interview will also go onto help other people.
How does the project demonstrate creativity and innovation?
It is an eco friendly design, which focuses on sustainability. The Pavilions Himalaya enhances the local architecture and building materials by using the locally available material for construction. In terms of energy efficient, the resort depends 95% on solar electricity. It generates biogas and has facility of rainwater harvesting, grey water harvesting. It is a passive solar design with provided insulation. The food products for the hotel are produced with natural agricultural cultivation within the project. Fences are not provided to cancel the feeling of enclosed by huge boundary walls.
How does the project demonstrate commercial viability?
The project is innovative with the sustainable design and the project’s upmarket design offers comfortable rooms and bathrooms with view of natural environment. The project blends with the natural environmental surrounding providing the essence of fresh surrounding to the visitors.
From a guest perspective how practical is the project?
The area is spacious with comfortable rooms and bathrooms. The villa is provided with private decks with spectacular view of the Himalayas and fields letting the visitors enjoy the mystical scenery of natural heritage and the crops are grown around the fields surrounding pavilions, which give organic scene to the site. Each pavilion is provided with solar panels and grey water harvesting. The rustic paths around property are provided with solar lights.
From an operator perspective how practical is the project?
The villa is constructed with RCC structure with a rustic stone finish, which is easy to maintain. There are ample storage space in every villa and basement in clubhouse for housekeeping storage.
How does the finished project related to the brief and the original budget?
The project scope has expanded in the course of the project to accommodate the more green and environmental friendly technologies.
What is unique about the space planning for the project?
The project has passive solar design. It is provided with cross ventilation and large spaces defining the function of the rooms make it very easy for the users.
Describe the use of FF&E (Furniture, Finishes & Equipment), materials and finishes on the project?
The project uses locally available material. Locally sourced stone is used for the villas, which is locally available. FF&E are used as to match the design of the resort and have been made within the resort using local material and craftsmen.
How does the project relate to sustainability and suitability to the surrounding environment and sensitivity to any heritage issues?
The project is eco-friendly by reusing of locally available material for construction. The project has facility of rainwater harvesting, grey water harvesting and biogas formation for cooking. The passive solar energy is encouraged in the design. Resort does not use any HVAC. It has own agricultural & poultry farming for food and meat products. The shampoo and soap are made within the resort. Villagers are employed in the resort increasing the employment opportunity for the village.
What makes The Pavilions Himalayas an Eco-friendly resort?
• Contemporary & rustic design of the building: For an example, wall is rustic but the other inside things is contemporary. Using natural materials stone, wood etc.
• Cavity wall: Insulation board has been set up between the wall, under the floor and in the ceiling/roof.
• No AC in the villa: There is no AC in the villas just has Ceiling- fan& there is two sides cross ventilation (just opposite) so the air blows easily inside the villa and helps to keep the room cool.
• Fixed temperature inside the villa: Last Oct in 2014, A German PHD Student checked the temperature inside of the villas. When measured the outside temperature, found 32 degree Celsius in daytime and in the night was 12 degree Celsius. So there was a big gap of temperature (20 degree) between the day and the nighttime. But at the same time, inside the villas the temperature was reminded 23.3 – 23.5 degree Celsius, which is amazing.
• Front side glass: The front big glass is double glazed there is two sides different glasses and in the between of the glasses there is filled up with Argon gas which protects the sun light and helps to keep the room temperature stable.
• Electricity: There is a solar system light in the villas except for Sauna, Kitchen and Oven. Under ground floor, there is set up the battery and it reserve the power for at least for 3-4 days.
• Fire briquettes: To keep warm in the villas (in winter) we use the fire briquettes and we have planned to make the briquettes ourselves in near future. And for this research is going on.
• Hot water storage: There is set up the hot water storage tank just back side of the every villa. The solar panels heat up the water and the water reserve in this tank. This is top quality of tank that consumes the power very less. So there is no chance to happen any incident in the water tank.
• Rainwater harvesting tank: In each A type villa there is a water tank of 10,000 LTR capacity.
• Color of the paint: The wall of the villa has been painted with special lov VOC lead free paint so it does not effect to the people & environment.
• Soap, Shampoo, toothbrush and Toothpaste: is the quality of biodegradable.
• Heat Pump: There are two heat pumps, one near by A-8 (Akash villa) and another near by the water tanks of A -5 (Ratna villa). To heat up the water 25% energy comes from the city lines and 75% from the atmosphere.
• Swimming Pool: We do not use any chemical to clean up the water in the pool except the SALT. Salt is made of Sodium chloride it means there is chlorine which help to clean the water and it does not affect to the body.
• Lightning Arrestor: There are two lightning arrestor that save the building and people from the lightning incident. Each arrestor has the capacity to control up to 80-90 Meter distance.