The design team had the difficult task of turning the vision for the Retreat into reality.
They brainstormed and came up with an actionable plan.
The rice fields and the eroded forest slopes were the first on the agenda for renewal. Aerial photography identified the existing land forms, vegetation, and massing of land forms.
They declared the forest a no-go zone for development, in the true spirit of Conserve, Sustain & Heal.
100 villas, a wellness centre, a spa, a club, a yoga pavilion, and a riding centre were planned. This would become the centre of a spiritual Eco-Wellness Retreat in 350 acres of forest land.
The goal here was to ensure that the land looked better than before the work on it started.
Construction work started with building over 1000 meters of contour trenches and gulley plugs. This slowed down the water flow, encouraged vegetation around the waterways, and recharged the ground water.
The individual components of the landscape design were created. It factored both the geography and microclimates. Very few trees were cut to make way for new construction as per the founders’ mandate.
The original landscape and the wilder landscape of the revegetated slopes work together visually. There is no bounded garden space at Shillim. The natural surrounds create the context for the villas.
The locals were roped in as they were a mother lode of knowledge on the forest and the native plants.
People from the village were also employed as forest guards, guides to the planning team, as help at the nursery, and as staff at the site office.
It was a team-building experience that worked with the villagers and made them understand that they had a role to play in this new landscape.
This effort went way more than what the usual community outreach meetings would have entailed.