Fig: 1 - Latvia is a rich, cultural country in natural scenery and architecture that has been devised from local resources.
Affinity to nature and a changing environment has always been a choice of people who are majorly settled in the urban areas. Travel and exploration being a fundamental part of our lives; the places we travel to, the modes of travel, and where we choose to stay are always the major deciding factor for all of us.
The places where we stay not only define the time we are going to spend there but also how we are going to experience the place we are in. Today, the majority of people prefer living in hospitality spaces like resorts, hotels, and cottages; which in turn provides us with ample luxury and comfort. But with time as we have moved more into the urban fabric, we now seek vacations or tours not just be for comfort but also to connect with the context/location; which is beyond conventional tourist spaces. Such needs are on a subsequent rise as we now connect more with the contextual culture, nature, and people.
How can this need for connection be satisfied? What role can architecture play in this?
Fig: 2 - Latvia attracts tourists who visit ancient castles, stunning valleys, beaches, and lush forests.
In situations like this one prefers the ways that provide the opportunity to connect with the wilderness, terrain, and connect with location background and history. Cabins, cottages, and lodges have been the very names that are known for their contextual nature, and the scope they offer for the people to engage in activities like Skiing, hunting, forest trails, and others. When one imagines a lodge it is often visualised as a space that has a stone base, two three-storied buildings that has a wide front porch and is situated in the adjacent natural context. Locations of these lodges often offer a deeper connection with the context, as they are located in the areas that offer better local interaction with the people in the context, thus providing an opportunity to understand the context and the culture of the place and its people.
Connection with the context is one of the most distinctive features of lodges. They don't just act as hospitality spaces but the spaces that offer you a platform to engage with the people there. How can this connectivity of a lodge be emphasised and converted into something more physical?
Fig: 3 - As a nation that has much to offer landscapes have provided the opportunity for the development of facilities for those who are seeking to embrace nature (Credits-Bas van der horst)
How can we highlight the local and tourist engagement in the design? What architectural design solutions will aid this process of connection to context?
The major emphasis of these hospitality spaces is to provide luxury and connect with the context to a larger extent. By creating spaces that are made by local materials and are more relevant to the people and the place.
Brief: This challenge aims to create a lodge in Latvia which will act as a space that gives the travellers a chance to experience the local and natural context through its design.
The lodge will be working as a space that offers the basic comfort that the travellers need while also transcending this function by offering a close connection with the natural context through public recreational spaces that'll create a form of engagement of the locals with the travellers in one place.
Concept: Understanding the existing flora and fauna, local culture, and art, the design must not only take advantage of site features but also give something back to the context it belongs.
Harmony: The design must establish some harmony or connection with the surroundings while having outstanding features. The aesthetic and functionality are to be balanced.
Context: The design must respond to the (existing) site conditions. The wider socio-cultural, economic and environmental settings are to be considered in the design approach.
Sustainable: Reduce the negative impact of design on the environment, by improving building performance, reducing waste, and ensuring comfort for occupants.
The following objectives can be a point of beginning to conceive this design. Participants can assume their contexts and user group on the basis of their concepts and designs.
Latvia has higher numbers of green regions in the Northern European region. It is rich in natural flora and fauna. With plenty of rich biological diversity, water, air quality, and everything that a serene place demands. This region practices environmentally friendly architecture and has used the local resources to create structures that are in symbiosis with the surroundings. This paves its way into ecotourism spaces, where one can experience nature and also connect with the local craft and people.
The site is located in a serene part of the land which is surrounded by a variety of natural landscapes and terrain. Offering a close connection to the local flora and fauna. In the radius, the site has a number of small housings that are situated in clusters around the site. With the main road connecting the site to the roads across the city.
Location: Lazdona, Latvia
Site Area: 5019 sq.m
Height limit: 6 m
FAR (Floor Area Ratio): 1
Ground Coverage: 40%
Coordinates: 56°50'11.9"N 26°14'06.0"E
The design is to be carried out for a total of 40 people.
Space division: Residential spaces - 60% Public engagement spaces - 40%
Space ideas are as follows:
- Lobby area
- Waiting area
- Open common area
- Dining hall
- Sitting areas
- Observation decks
- Common open kitchen
- Gathering halls
- Open gathering spaces
Other ancillary spaces can be added by the participant.