carlo ratti's pankhasari retreat forms a digitally connected environment in the himalayas
 

carlo ratti's pankhasari retreat forms a digitally connected environment in the himalayas

 

carlo ratti has conceived ‘the pankhasari retreat’, a digitally connected environment in the indian himalayas that aims to promote sustainable tourism patterns. the project, which has now broken ground, was born from a collaborative design process with the local community. situated in west bengal, near the border with sikkim, the project provides a venue for co-living and co-working, taking advantage of the increased flexibility of the digital era.

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the design is split over three stacked volumes connected by a covered footbridge

 

 

design and innovation office carlo ratti associati developed the project in collaboration with turin-based architect michele bonino and a team of over 20 professionals. the retreat is located in india’s darjeeling region, not far from the hill-station of kalimpong. the black boulders that punctuate the site are incorporated into the design, which is split over three stacked volumes connected by a covered footbridge.

 

‘though a mountain top might be a bit extreme to some, the himalayan valley of pankhasari is an ideal place for staying connected and testing new longer-term concepts of international living and working, trying to build a bridge between the local and the global communities,’ explains carlo ratti, professor at MIT in cambridge and founding partner of carlo ratti associati.

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the project broke ground in august, 2016

 

 

the complex includes residential, business, sport, and farming facilities. built from local materials — such as stone, farmed teak, and sissoo — the houses form a reinterpretation of the verandas and overhangs of the region’s vernacular architecture, protecting residents from extreme rain and sun conditions. each unit can host three or four people at a time, with a living space, a studio, a kitchen, two bedrooms, and bathrooms.

 

with its mix of working and leisure facilities, the retreat exemplifies the ongoing changes in our lifestyle facilitated by the emergence of global communication networks,’ says carlo ratti associati. ‘high-speed internet connection and extensive teleworking facilities permit international travelers to stay for longer periods of time at pankhasari living in one of the planet’s most remote and beautiful corners while at the same time engaging with communities around the globe.’

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the black boulders that punctuate the site are incorporated into the design

 

 

in terms of sustainability, the project puts a particular focus on cooling and shading, improving natural ventilation, and ensuring protection against monsoons. the lightweight structure could even be dismantled in future, restoring the land to its original state. ‘we wanted to oppose both architectural choices that are indifferent to their geographical context, and any uncritical cult of a local tradition,’ continues ratti. ‘the result is a more collaborative architecture, opened to the influence of people from different backgrounds and with different skills.’

 

 

project info:

 

name: pankhasari retreat
project by: 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

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  • Oh my god…a retreat (!!!) that is totally connected to the rest of the world. What a lough. And the poeple are gazing into their devices instead into the fantastic nature. What a pity. To express it mildly…

    Dirk

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