Wet n Wild Bardia
Risk Reduction and Preparedness in Nepal
are heard History is seen
Nepal is well known for it’s cultural and natural richness, and the tourism market has been a growing market that demands investment and upgradation on the services and design sensibilities. It is observed that despite the setback with the 2015 earthquake and aftershocks, many new Hotels are currently being built around the Country. The new Sheraton and Marriot are slowly taking roots in Kathmandu. Some of these hotels fit into tight localities and change the urban structure of their neighborhoods.
We cannot emphasis more - the importance and need of basic services such as roads, water, electricity that these huge projects demand, which seem to move slowly in it’s own pace, if not tackled by the developer himself. Yet we see stark contrasts within some of the otherwise dense environment, with little jewels of sensitive architecture and design standing out to awe us all and make us think.
In this issue we highlight the new addition to the Babar Mahal Vila Revisited designed by Architect Varun Rana. The thirteenroomed heritage boutique hotel is an architectural play with inspirations from the Lo Manthang (upper Mustang), Rana heritage and the Newari culture. It has to be noted that the initial project of Babar Mahal Revisited had raised the bar of adaptation and reuse of the Colonial Rana Palace space in the valley to a more public space of art galleries, cafés and shops merging into a more human scale of experince. The new wing does bring in color and new vigor to a wider range of inspirations from the Newari and Mustang tunes – and shows that small can be beautiful too. In contrast, we also feature the Hotel by the Waterfall in Ramboda, Sri Lanka which takes its design interpretation from a more modernistic cubic viewpoint of cantilevered spaces with a generous use of glass for the warmth and light. These two projects are very different in their approach, yet both seek a certain harmony and belonging to their environment carving out a balance of their own.
In another feature Ananta Baidya explores the Role of Modern Earthquake Engineering approaches emphasizing that design professionals in the architectural and engineering fields have a civic responsibility to ensure public safety for all. In Nepal, though we witness a wide range of solutions dictated by the economic scale and demand of the project – it has to be pointed out that the basic parameters of safety and quality control need not be comprised, especially after the lessons from the recent earthquake. These realities can only be addressed through a major change in attitude.
With time, we see certain predominant basic heritage elements of our local Nepali Architecture vanishing. Bhagwan Tuldadhar explores the significance of the Pikha, which is the stone plate, square or round in front of the main entrance of traditional houses. Legend has it that Pikha Lakhu is the symbolic icon of a powerful deity known as Kumara - son of Lord Shiva Parvati who was invested with the power of protecting the persons and their property. He is also bestowed with the power of awarding blessings to his devotees for the successful accomplishment any desired works. These were the reasons why the people install the stone plate in front of their main entrance to their homes.
Art, Architecture and design as we learn from our experiences here in Nepal, which is culturally very rich - is not merely about what we see, but perhaps inspired by the beliefs in the existence of supernatural forces that bring both good and evil consequences to human life and activities. There maybe mythological stories passed from generations, but what constantly amazes is the belief structure still existing in this kingdom of festivals, astonishing landscapes and beautiful people.
Sarosh Pradhan / Editor in Chief