You can tell right away that Sunyata Eco Hotel is luxury. Designed by Design Kacheri, the innovative, arresting design blends well with the shining glass and beautiful patches of green. But look closely. This boutique hotel is eco-friendly, sustainable and made out of the Earth itself.
The Sunyata Eco Hotel is located in Chikmagalur, India. From the construction to the daily operations, the hotel is made to have a small carbon footprint. First, the building itself is made from local materials. Mud blocks, poured earth, rammed earth and concrete were used.
Furthermore, the design uses brick jaalis and shading to regulate heat, light and ventilation. The walls are made to be load-bearing so there is no need for concrete columns. Then, ancient building techniques were incorporated into the design. If anyone understood using natural materials to construct buildings, it was the ancients. That’s why this hotel is built with jack arch roofs, brick vaults, clay roofs and filler slabs. These techniques reduce the need for concrete.
Additionally, bioclimatic principles were considered to create this design. There are receding terraces that provide views of the park and the hills beyond. The hotel collects rainwater and allows more natural light into the interior spaces. From there, the water is routed to a central courtyard and funneled to large storage tanks, where it passes natural filters before going to the well. No chemicals or energy are used to treat the water. Meanwhile, microorganisms, plants and gravel clean the water. Even the sewage water is cleaned this way to return back to the earth.
Moreover, solar chimneys along the west and south walls create passive cooling and earth air tunnels that connect to air shafts. This creates a passive ventilation system and eliminated the need for air conditioning in every room of the hotel. Solar panels produce electricity.
Therefore, the space within is full of elements like earthen walls, exposed brick, exposed concrete and a gorgeous black stone floor. All of the beds, chairs, wardrobes and sofas are custom-made with cane. Local craftspeople were used to carve stone, make the cane furniture, create pottery and plant the greenery all around.
Photography by Shamanth Patil