- Name: Raveendra Thennakoon
- Year: 2019
- Studio: Level III
- University: University of Moratuwa
Colombo is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka which holds over 2 millions of employed population. The daily routine and lifestyle of a majority of people living in Colombo and its suburbs are a rigid, complex pattern and their living-working places form an inorganic, enclosed environment that is meant to be artificial. Therefore these communities are in need of a relaxing environment to spend their vacations that are calm, quiet and in tune with nature. Furthermore, tourism is the third largest foreign revenue generator in the country as well as the world’s largest and fastest growing industry. Enforcing wellness in tourism is one of the most popular ways to attract and accommodate tourists. Hence it is evident that there is a high demand for a functioning wellness resort which combines with the natural and untouched beauty of nature.
Awissawella is located at the edge of Colombo district, bordering the urban bustle of the highly commercialized zone. There is a scarcity of nature related wellness resort facilities except beach resorts. Hence, people who live in Colombo and foreign tourists usually travel far from Colombo to areas such as Nuwara Eli and Badulla to experience the calm and quite natural environment apart from the coastal belt. On this note, Awissawella is located approximately 50km east of Colombo and the area has untouched nature and mountain views, which makes it an ideal environment to relax and experience nature that can be reached easily. According to historical records, the Portuguese, Dutch and British had launched many attacks against Seethawaka to make it a part of Colombo throughout the colonization period. The site is located next to the ‘Wawe Kale’ reservoir which has untouched natural beauty and unblocked views all around. Therefore, this site is close to the center of a well-known ancient kingdom called Seethawaka, which has a strong historical background. The surrounding lands are covered with rubber plantation which limits human activities in the immediate neighbourhood.
The concept behind the design is to heal the confused spirit of the people by merging their experience with nature. A simple and lightweight form therefore allows the people to sync and enjoy the calmness and healing quality of nature. Thus, four types of features are used in the design: Transitional spaces- transit between different feel of environments, Relaxing spaces – bonds the feelings with calm nature, Gathering spaces- enhance social interactions and Celebratory spaces- empowering the entertaining moments.
Nature therapy is defined as a set of practices aimed at achieving preventive medical effects through exposure to natural stimuli that render a state of physiological relaxation and boost the weakened immune functions to prevent diseases. As a result of increasing stressful lifestyles, nature therapy is receiving increasing attention as a health promotion method that uses medically proven effects such as relaxation by exposure to natural stimuli from forests, urban green spaces, plants, and natural wooden materials.
Nature therapy outcomes include normalized sleep schedule from use of natural light, being in nature which causes to unplug, lowered stress hormone levels, boosted serotonin levels from bacteria in soil, increased sense of well-being from clean oxygen and pumped up endorphins from physical activity.
The proposed resort becomes a gallery that celebrates the natural beauty of the site by merging with the nature while avoiding unnecessary visual attraction and having less visual impact on the context. This is achieved by merge the buildings with nature, creating minimum visual impact against the context and by enhancing nature related activities.
Thus, the resort and spa facility intends to create an experience of nature, targeting local and foreign tourists from around Colombo, who are looking for an immediate escape from the busy urban life. Thus, the project aims for spiritual relaxation and contemplation via nature therapy.