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Kondan Retreat


Located on a slope along the backwaters of a lake, only a fraction of the site has been developed, and where construction was undertaken, footprints were optimized to respond to topography, exiting trees and natural waterways, with portions of the natural surroundings either contained or revealed as views. Imagined on the lines of a historic citadel, the site is sub-divided into zones of increasing privacy, stepped down along the hillside and defined by eight intersecting walls, each with a unique character specific to its purpose.

The resulting interweaving of enclosed, semi-open and open spaces cater to different activities:

The walled campus lends its periphery to various elements of traditional public spaces that facilitate interactions and transactions between visitors and the local community. The kund (stepped reservoir), focal point for such activities, is flanked by the bazaar (shopping street) with workshops and stalls for artisans, a moha (Madhuca longifolia) orchard for weekly farmers’ market, and a hall for conferences or other informal gatherings. 

Much of the building material was sourced from the site itself. Stone from the excavation of water bodies and foundations has been used extensively in various interpretations of vernacular techniques ranging from dry pack to dressed masonry to composite boulder concrete. During the course of construction, objects such as stone light fittings were sourced from local craftsmen, and daily-wage labourers from nearby villages were trained in masonry or other vocational skills that would guarantee them employment as part of the resort’s maintenance staff.

Reception and Restaurant 

Accessed through the pramukh dwar (ceremonial gateway), the reception area creates an experiential connection from public to private zone via a gently rising, narrow and introverted lane that eventually opens onto the restaurant’s main deck with a stunning view of the valley to the south.



Four multi-level suites situated inside a mango orchard, the spaces of each being draped around one or more courtyards.



A series of six cottages cantilevered off an axial spine towards a grove frequented by fireflies.


Swimming Pool 

Spreads organically through a cluster of trees, ending in an infinity edge towards the eastern valley.

Ferrocement water tank 

Spreads organically through a cluster of trees, ending in an infinity edge towards the eastern valley.