Mumbai based landscape designer and architect, Kishore Pradhan is responsible for the panoramic and sustainable landscape of a 120-acre residential scheme in Jodhpur.
Nestled at the foothills of Umaid Bhavan Palace, Jodhpur, is a 120 acre residential scheme of bungalows and apartments. Mumbai based landscape architect, Kishore D. Pradhan was roped in to design lush green landscapes that would reflect the city’s quintessence and simplicity. We talk to the man with green fingers and dive a little deeper into the project Umaid Heritage’s beautiful and sustainable landscape.
The sprawling project was initially meant to be just a scheme of bungalows. However, owing to popular demand, phases II and III were installed. These are the apartment complexes of the project. One of Pradhan’s primary tasks was to ensure a holistic and seamless blend of all the phases. “To be able to work on a 120 acre housing scheme was a rare opportunity,” he remarks.
Architect U. C. Jain prepared the master-plan for the project. The once linear development was broken up into linear stepping terraces. In the initial layout of bungalows only, the two and a half km long and 250 m wide stretch along with a sideways sloping surface culminated in four rows of bungalows. Two double loaded roads run parallel to the bungalows. Pradhan created a ‘Central Green Spine’ here. “It offers easy access to residents and consists of active and passive recreational amenities.”
He goes onto talk about how this is one of the most challenging aspects of the entire project. “Dealing with the linear spine without making it look a disproportionately lengthy space was a challenge. Along with this, adding recreational facilities within the restricted width ranging from five to eighty m and simultaneously tackling the lateral slopes which required retaining walls of measured height to create flat usable space were quite some tasks.”
Special care was taken while choosing the different plants that would be a part of this space. Pradhan insisted on selecting only those plants whose height would provide a sort of visual balance and calm when juxtaposed with the different levels of terrain.
The gardens encompassing the bungalow plots have been designed keeping the residents’ need for privacy at the helm. A fragrance garden, ‘Parimal Vatika’ that is full of fragrant flowers and plants resides in a small section of the landscape.
One major parameter when it came to the selection of certain flora was to ensure they would be able to not only survive but even sustain Jodhpur’s harsh, and sometimes, extreme weather conditions. The residential scheme and its accompanying landscape is fitted with a drip irrigation system and sprinklers are installed at regular intervals. Only recycled water is fed into these apparatuses.
Architect Anu Mridul undertook the task of designing a stepped well as a conducive method to harvest rain water. This is the project’s most spectacular element. The palace’s history and heritage still finds a place within its twenty-first century confines by virtue of the stepped well. “Bikhra Bawri, the stepped well is an important element even in the landscape of the project and it was imperative that we incorporate it into the design plan,” Pradhan adds.
Oftentimes, a project of such magnitude has to deal with changes in plans. More often than not, the architect and designers have a tough job keeping up with these changes. However, Umaid Heritage is one such project that did not ‘deviate from the master plan’ as Pradhan puts it.
One of the most striking features of Umaid Heritage is the sectors named after famous landmarks and town sectors of the city of Jodhpur – Sojati Chowk, Moti Chowk, Ghoda Chowk, etc. The new buildings are all built in traditional, local Jodhpur stone.
Landscape elements like pergolas and pavilions, garden furniture, garden installations, etc, are all carved out of the same locally sourced Jodhpur stone.
Umaid Heritage is a wondrous marvel of architecture and landscape that is built on the foundations of sustainability and environmental conservation. It is said that once the project attains at least sixty percent occupancy, the entire premise is likely to become a self-sustaining residential project. Now that is something one could learn from!
Text By Priyanka Menon
Photographs Courtesy Kishore D. Pradhan