Play Architecture tops restaurant in India with undulating tiled roof

Deva Dhare Resort Restaurant by Play Architecture

A wavy, tiled roof formed by intersecting catenary vaults shelters this lakeside restaurant, designed by Bangalore-based Play Architecture for the Deva Dhare Resort in Karnataka, India.

Perched above a narrow stream on recycled steel stilts the structure, which has been shortlisted in the hospitality building category of Dezeen awards 2022, provides both internal and external dining areas for the 10-acre resort.

Vaulted tile roof over restaurant on deck in forest in India
The Deva Dhare Restaurant is topped with a vaulted tiled roof

Nestled in the forests of Sakleshpur with expansive views of the Western Ghats mountain range, Play Architecture sought to create a form that would “weave and integrate seamlessly” into the landscape, making use of local materials and labour.

“The dining space is located on an extremely ecologically sensitive zone, where one needs to touch the ground gently,” explained the studio.

“The design approach is bottom-up, where the construction process and choice of materials address the local climate, ground conditions, flora and available local labour.”

Raised restaurant in India topped with a tile vault by Play Architecture
The restaurant sits over a small stream in a Sakleshpur forest

To create a column-free interior, a dramatic, unreinforced catenary vaulted roof spanning 16 metres was created, using five layers of 15-millimetre clay tiles typical to the area.

This roof sits atop a granite and steel deck slab, supported by the structure of thin, green-painted steel columns beneath and accessed via two stone staircases at either side.

“The form shows how the forces flow through the structure, and the resistance of the form allows large spans to be built with small thicknesses, saving on materials and labour,” said the studio.

“More over, the focus of this research was to stay away from sophisticated software solutions and find geometric, logical means and hands-on methods, empowering unskilled labour to apply the idea on a day-to-day basis.”

Restaurant seating underneath vaulted ceiling with large glass openings
Four glass-covered openings under the wavy roof offer views of the surroundings

Four arched openings at either side of the restaurant are filled with full-height glazing framed with black steel, providing views out in every direction.

To the east and west, glass doors provide access out onto two terraces for overlooking the lake and stream, and to the north a short corridor leads to a standalone bathroom block.

Underside of vaulted tile ceiling in restaurant by Play Architecture with glass door leading to decking
The curved roof is formed of intersecting catenary vaults

The granite slabs of the platform have been left exposed throughout, creating a continuity between the interior and exterior, and some have been replaced with glass to provide views of the stream below.

“The project is a simple, straightforward demonstration of the strength of an idea…with a sincere effort to express the material and construction tectonics truthfully,” said the practice.

Other projects shortlisted in the hospitality building category of Dezeen awards 2022 include a copper-clad shelter for a teahouse in China by Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, and a boutique hotel in Mexico by Alberto Kalach topped by barrel vault roofs.

The photography is by Bharath Ramamrutham.

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