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The Union of Contemporary Hospitality and Ladakhi Vernacular Architecture

Chospa Hotel by Enso Design

The old nondescript guest house located on the busy old Leh road in the busy commercial neighborhood of Leh was demolished to make way for the new 17-key hotel consisting of a café with alfresco seating and a restaurant.

The spatial organization is deliberately insular to mitigate the noise from the abutting busy street yet allowing a convenient flow of passersby to access the alfresco of the café from the upper corner. The atrium lobby aims to lend a casual yet calming vibe found in most traditional Ladakhi homes.

The lobby atrium opens out to the rear with open seating on the south side receiving much-needed ample south-facing sunlight. The design draws its influence from the nearby Leh palace constructed in the early 16th century almost seeming to merge in form and color with the continuous mountain ranges enfolding this valley bringing coherence in context to the site.

The hotel is the union of contemporary hospitality with the scenic and material biome of Ladakh. The architecture mirrors the traditional Ladakhi construction and materiality, rendering an ambiance familiar to locals and unique for visitors.

It houses its guests in the raw patina, texture, and density of earth walls fabricated by the resplendent local craftsmanship. These walls, built from earth blocks (compressed stabilized earth blocks) produced in-situ, mimic the thickness, buttress-like geometry, hues, and tactility of vernacular Ladakhi architecture. Windows are narrow to maximize thermal comfort and the woodwork is reminiscent of traditional iconography and geometry. Together, the earth, stone, and wood follow the local piquancy, creating a sanctuary germane to the physical, cultural, and historic context.

The Ladakh region in the northernmost part of India is gaining prominence and seeing a huge flux of domestic and international travelers. Spectacularly jagged, arid Himalayan mountains enfold this magical place. Gompas (Tibetan Buddhist monasteries) dramatically crown rocky outcrops next to fluttering prayer flags and whitewashed stupas.

Project: Chospa Hotel

Location: Leh, Union Territory of Ladakh, India

Design House: Enso Design

Principal Designer: Chinglemba Chingtham

Design Team: Ajaydeep Jamwal, Diksha Hans, Shubham Sahai Gupta, Wugnaoyi Meiphok Zimik





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