World’s Best Holiday Building at WAF Barcelona and an Aga Khan Award for Architecture Nominee, the luxury boutique hotel of RAAS Jodhpur crafts a dialogue between the old and the new through authenticity of materials and workmanship.
Set in the heart of the walled city of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, RAAS is a 1.5-acre property uniquely located at the base of the Mehrangarh Fort. The brief was to create a luxury boutique hotel with 39 rooms in the context of the Old city quarter of Jodhpur.
Three inherited period structures set in a large courtyard anchor the RAAS experience designed by Studio Lotus + Praxis Inc. The new buildings serve as framing elements and as contemporary counterpoints to the site and the fort. Luxury is infused into the project through authenticity of materials and workmanship. Painstakingly restored with traditional craftsmen in original materials like lime mortar and Jodhpur sandstone, the original structures house the shared spaces like the pool, dining areas, spa, and open lounge areas besides three heritage suites.
The remaining 36 rooms are spread over contemporary buildings that become framing elements to the site and strongly respond to the context. Age-old materials and skills are manifested as a modern and understated graphic form derived from multiple functional and programmatic parameters. These new buildings are inserted into the site in a manner that they accentuate the spatial and formal relationship among the old buildings and the Fort, creating a dialogue between the old and the new.
Inspired by the age-old double skinned structures of the region, (the traditional stone latticed jharokha form of Rajasthani architecture – which perform multiple functions of passive cooling and offering privacy to the user), these buildings act as lanterns framing the site. The drama of the stone jaali (lattice) is heightened by the fact that these panels can be folded away by each guest to reveal uninterrupted views of the fort, or can be closed for privacy and to keep the harsh Jodhpur sun out.
Crafted by over a 100 regional artisans and master-craftsmen, the building and its interiors use sustainable architecture fundamentals. 70% of the materials and people have been sourced from within a 30-km radius. Materials include hand cut stone, poured in situ pigmented cement terrazzo on floors, walls and as furniture. Locally-crafted furniture and cabinets have been created in sheesham. These simple materials were then worked on by craftsmen to evolve into something extraordinary. This transformation is what imbibes a sense of luxury to the hotel.