Spreading over a vast hilly terrain, Santani, was built as an architectural refuge, away from the consumerist lifestyle of the modern day. Strongly inspired by the unique context, the design expresses to be a harmonizing detail to the landscape instead of dominating over its natural persona. The relationship is as such that the built forms connect the landscape and the landscape connects the built forms as a flowing spatial experience. The simple structures disappear into the landscape, mastering the spiritual tranquility of its surrounding. The built structures are raised from ground to prevent moisture and ground warmed air from reaching in and to catch cool breezes from above. Open forms allow cross ventilation, removing interior heat and humidity, in the tropical climate. The grass-turfed terraces of the spa are ecological roofs that help keep a cool interior within.
▼从入口门亭望向山谷全景，entrance pavilion with a vista across the valley
The resort has four main sections; Entrance Pavilion, Spa, Lounge-Restaurant (main building) and 16 Single Villa Chalets, (and additionally two double-bedroom villas) spread across the terrain. In addition are the operations building, two staff-quarters, a Yoga Pavilion neighboring the Spa, and an infinity swimming pool area. The entrance pavilion, lying at the center of the valley, creates a vista across it, capturing scenic views on both sides. This simple, open structure with a lightweight roof, blends into its surrounding.
▼远观入口门亭，view to entrance pavilion from a distence
The two-storied lounge and restaurant, standing on the highest point of the land, embraces the picturesque mountain range afar. The thin lines of steel and salvaged timber of the linear lightweight structure, in combination with glass, builds a transparency towards its surrounding.
▼休息室餐厅的通透视野，lounge-restaurant’s transparent view towards surrounding
▼细木饰面与玻璃的巧妙运用使景观与建筑融为一体，lightweight timber structure in combination with glass creates a flowing spatial experience
The lightweight chalets resting on their steel pillars, are both contrasting and complimentary features, to the sloping landscape, oriented in a way to achieve privacy while focusing to views afar. A well expressed pathway leads to the spa’s reception pavilion, a lightweight timber structure resting on pillars, slightly above ground, inspired by Kandyan vernacular structures on pillars.
▼从别墅木屋的卧室看向远方，scenic view from the chalet villa
Resembling a stepped paddy field, the spa is a series of green terraces flowing with the rhythm of the sloping landscape. At the foot of these terraces lies a large re-cultivated paddy field. The terraces are in harmony with the paddy field and tea estates visible from one side, while being oriented to create a strong visual connection with faraway mountains.
▼水疗室内空间，hydrotherapy spa interior
Through the Spa’s reception pavilion which frames views of greenery, a tunnel leads to the immediate lower level, the location of a water-therapy room, steam-room and sauna, where a sensation of a cave with a distant view is celebrated. The tunnel further continues down to a second lower level where three massage-treatment rooms are located facing the paddy field. While the entrance to the spa is lightweight, the tunnel and lower levels are built from rubble. Level play, rhythmic movement through connecting tunnels and corridors, and the material expressions evoke a feeling of peaceful captivity.
▼石砌的水疗室内走廊，the spa corridor built from rubble
Framed views, play of light and cool winds, rustic natural materials create a multi-sensory experience, in a design that embodies its natural landscape, purifying the mind with silence.
▼休息室餐厅首层平面图，lounge-restaurant ground floor plan
▼休息室餐厅二层平面图，lounge-restaurant first floor plan
▼独立别墅平面图，single villa chalet plan
▼独立别墅立面剖面图，single villa chalet elevation and section
Project name: Santani Wellness Resort and Spa
Project location: Kandy, Sri Lanka
Completion Year: 2016
Gross Built Area: 50,000sqft
Principal Architect: Thisara Thanapathy
Project Architects: Rafidh Rifaadh, Kaushala Samarawickrama
Client: Dumabara Hotels (Pvt) Ltd
Structural Engineer: Wasantha Chandrathilaka
Quantity Surveyor: Sunanda Gnanasiri
MEP Engineers: Thilak Thembiliyagoda, Nimal Perera
Civil Contractor: Duminda Builders (Pvt) Ltd
Budget: 340mil SLR (1.93 mil USD)
Photo credits: Mahesh Mendis, Thilina Wijesiri
Awards: Geoffrey Bawa Award 2016/2017 for Excellence in Architecture