The façade of The Umrao is in plaster, but the effect created due to the ethereal lighting and the color palette adopted, makes it look like a sandstone façade with an ageless grandeur. The façade appears wider owing to the spread of the transitional court around a patterned, granite cobble stone approach road.
The Umrao is a Boutique hotel located in Delhi on NH-8 in close proximity to the IGI International Airport, designed to cater to the discerning business traveler. Sitting regally yet lightly on 10-acre manicured greens, the boutique hotel is a brand to reckon with. It was designed with care and sensitivity, allowing design sensibilities of luxury hospitality to blend in with shades of Indian vernacular values.
The façade of ‘The Umrao’ hotel has a timeless appeal. It renders prominence owing to a strong visual culmination at the end of an imposing landscaped vista. Standing testimony to its name, ‘Umrao’ meaning king - of noble origin, the facade has a stately yet graceful charm. The architectural character chosen is a blend of vernacular design elements of the Mughal era and contemporary detailing of minimalist bands at varying levels. The color hues in soft beige represents the natural tones of sandstone giving it an earth connect, as if rising upwards from the ground.
A series of rectangular and arched fenestrations were designed, some with GRC jallis and others as recessed niches. The vertical recesses are under lit to create a subtle, royal effect, representative of the lighting of ‘diyas’ in the palaces of olden times.
The grand arch in the centre is a befitting foreground to a stone clad geometric wall with its lit up niche highlighting the main entrance glass portal.
The façade is in plaster, but the effect created due to the ethereal lighting and the color palette adopted, makes it look like a sandstone façade with an ageless grandeur. The façade appears wider owing to the spread of the transitional court around a patterned, granite cobble stone approach road.
Front lit, semi arched GRC jallis in varying heights impart sophistication and aristocracy to the façade. The foreground has a tall, majestic obelisk in stone rising from within a radial landscaped creation. The water fountains around it add an element of the elixir of life.
Project : The Umrao, Rajokri, New Delhi
Project type : Boutique hotel
Site area : 5 acres
Built up area : 66,000 sq.ft.
Project status : Completed and operational
Project architect : Studio KIA – Sabeena Khanna, Rajiv Khanna, Dnyaneshwar Varpe
Project client : The Umrao Hotels Virendra Teotia
Challenges while designing ‘The Umrao’
‘Umrao’ denotes the life and luxury of kings, hence blending contemporary design and timeless architecture was of utmost importance. The challenge for an architect on a project like this is to keep it larger than life yet minimal. Interweaving the grand arches with soft color hues, contemporary detailing with vernacular design elements and the interplay of light and shade in the interiors speaks volumes about the depth & scale of the project.
‘The Umrao’, being a hotel by typology, had to have windows at regular intervals in its façade. These have been so placed to maximize day lighting, reducing the need for artificial lighting. The use of high efficiency, low emissivity glazing allows high levels of daylight whilst reducing heat losses through windows. The rendition of the façade has been so done that the repetition of openings is toned by highlight elements such as jallis, arches, moldings, plaster bands.
The façade of ‘The Umrao’ sets the mood of the building as it changes from day to adorn a mystical and ethereal look in the evening.