Yoga Nikaya Retreat and Observatory
Institutional Campus
Near Banglore, India
Built Up Area
25,000 sq. Ft

Yoga Nikaya is a place of learning and teaching, for those who share the spirit of yoga as a way of life. It provides space for yoga and meditation. Cottages, dormitories and dining facilities are provided. An observatory is also located as a place to view the space above and learn about its scientific and spiritual references.

The idea of yoga as a way of finding physical and mental well-being has inspired a design that is in keeping with nature, through the choice of materials, form and technique. Keeping a small footprint in the agricultural land, the designed buildings are kept within 1.5 acres of the 9-acre farm, leaving the rest as orchards and farmland. All buildings are given a place in this site by digging into the ground or hugging earth around them. Between the buildings flows a system of water swales that winds its way along the site channelizing and percolating water into the ground and ending into recharge well.

The entrance plaza is abutted by the reception, yoga, meditation and performance. Each building sits comfortably in the landscape, with lines of structure and form composed in gentle inspiration from yogic postures of the human body - balanced but poised with a gesture of movement. In addition, the buildings respond to the moderate tropical climate of the region, situated on the natural terrain to receive daylight from the north and south as well as the prevailing wind along the NE and SW directions. The buildings are made with composite walls of local stone and cement block , making it stronger to retain earth berms, and making them better insulated for the summer heat. The roof structure is a composite of steel and recycled wood rafters sits lightly on the stone clad walls, lifted upward. The wood slat false ceiling is also made from wood recovered from packaging boxes along with thermal insulation. Much of the wood is recycled/reused from industrial packaging available locally. The grey granite cladding stone is also sourced from a quarry within 50 km from the site. Finishes are kept basic - polished cement flooring, wood hand polished, rough hand-dressed stone cladding on walls. The designed architecture and landscape work with harmoniously with the existing site ecology.