ECOLODGE DESIGN

Hitesh Mehta is considered the world’s leading authority and practitioner of both the Architectural and Landscape Architectural aspects of Ecolodges. It provides mainly Site Analysis and Master Planning services.  Following are examples of some of the projects that Hitesh Mehta has been involved in:
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• Wild Beauty Tourism Accommodations, Montenegro. Mr. Mehta assisted the German Aid Agency GTZ and the Ministry of Tourism in Montenegro to help create a new concept of accommodations in the wilderness areas of Montenegro. He has written a Handbook that defines concepts such as ‘wilderness’ and ‘wild beauty’ in the context of Montenegro and which details all the various environmentally and socially friendly accommodations ( including ecolodges) that should be permitted to build in the ‘wild beauty’ areas (8/08 to 4/09).

•Nihiwatu Ecolodge, Sumba Island, Indonesia. Mr. Mehta is the lead Consultant, site planner and landscape architect for an existing award winning ecolodge in Sumba Island.  Mr. Mehta is leading an ecolodge ‘dream’ team (Simon Velez- Bamboo Architect, Paul Pholeros – Environmental Architect, Marcelo Villegas – Bamboo furniture) to provide full services for the expansion- from conceptual design to construction supervision. The master plan includes high-end rental pool luxury homes, entrance arrival experience, spa and wellness center, new ocean villas, stables (2/08 to present).

• Kwanari Ecolodge, Dominica, West Indies. Mr. Mehta is the lead Consultant, concept architect and landscape architect for an ecolodge in the eastern part of the Commonwealth of Dominica. The lodge will open in summer of 2011. It will be the first planned and designed ecolodge in Dominica and there are many benefits to the neighboring Carib Indians. HM Design and their local team of consultants are providing full services including construction supervision. The master plan includes an ecolodge and wellness center, forest and ocean cabins, tree house, swimming pool, library and trails (1/07 to present).

• Ario Ranch, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. Mr. Mehta was the lead Consultant, ecotourism planner and landscape architect for an ecolodge and Ranch in the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. Mr. Mehta’s team of Eco-psychologists and Landscape Architects worked very closely with the client family to prepare a sustainable Master Tourism plan for the whole 4000 acre property. The master plan includes a high-end 18 unit ecolodge and wellness center, rental pool homes, pool, stables, polo field, family estate, research station, ranger post, library and trails (1/08 to 10/08).

• Kyambura Gorge Lodge, Uganda. Mr. Mehta was part of a team that designed the first Ecolodge in Uganda. HM Design is also the Landscape Architect and Site Planner and recently prepared the overall Site Plan of this beautiful site that overlooks the famous Kyambura Gorge which has a troop of Chimpanzees. The ecolodge site is creating a buffer zone between Queen Elizabeth National Park and local community farms. HM Design’s input was not a full service effort but on a fixed day consultancy (6/07 to 2/08).

• Nyungwe Ecolodge, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda. Mr. Mehta was the lead Consultant, concept architect and landscape architect for the team that planned, designed and supervised the construction of the first ecolodge in Rwanda until it was taken over by Dubai World. The ecolodge is located in a tea plantation and at the edge of Nyungwe Forest National Park. HM Design provided full services (from Conceptual Design to Construction Documents) and their local team consisted of Architect of Record, Mechanical Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Civil Engineer, Structural Engineer, Quantity Surveyor, a community Crafts liaison and an interior designer. The master plan includes four different types of villas, tree houses, conference center, wellness center, nature activity center, tree houses, library, and trails. (3/06 to 1/08).

• The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Chaa Creek Nature Reserve, Belize. Mr. Mehta led a team that prepared a master plan for a 375 acre Nature Reserve and Ecolodge that contains over 70 Mayan ruins. The existing ecolodge has been running for over 25 years and is one of the most awarded ecolodges in the world. Mr. Mehta helped the client build a multi-disciplinary consultant team which included an Architect, Environmental Planner, landscape architects and eco-psychologist. HM Design produced in conjunction with consultants and staff members a ten year overall Master Plan which includes additions to the existing ecolodge as well as conservation areas. HM Design also designed high end ‘rental pool’ forest villas which are a first in Central America. The Overall master Plan now includes a forest ecolodge, destination wellness center, summer tented camp, nature interpretation center, conference center, wedding chapel, swimming pool, ‘rental pool’ villas, organic garden, horse and walking trails, canoeing etc. (4/07 to 9/07).

• Dhikala Ecolodge, Corbett Tiger Reserve, India. Mr. Mehta was the facilitator and team leader for the preparation of conceptual master plan for the rehabilitation of the existing Dhikala Lodge in Corbett Tiger Reserve, six hours north by car from New Delhi. Mr. Mehta facilitated a participatory ecolodge design charette comprising of local community, professionals, developers and members of the Forest Department and led the teams that is preparing the plans for the Dhikala Ecolodge. The program includes private accommodation (villas, dormitories) areas, old Forest Rest House, an interpretation center, day-use visitor center, amphitheater and public spaces such as reception, lounge and dining (5/06 to 7/06).

• Couer d’Alene Ecopark, Idaho, USA. Mr. Mehta led a team that prepared a master plan of an ‘ecopark’ for the Native American Tribe of Couer d’Alene. Mr. Mehta helped the client build a multi-disciplinary consultant team which includes Architects, Planners, landscape architects, conservation biologists, ecologists, archaeologists, community based ecotourism specialists and environmental engineers. EDSA produced in conjunction with consultants and local tribal members a master plan which includes an ecolodge and wellness center, cultural village, museum, community based activities and products, visitor center, trails, kayaking, horse riding, canoeing etc. Couer d’Alene is destined to be the first ecopark in a Native American reservation in North America (7/05 to 5/06).

• Desert Ecolodge Guidelines, Saudi Arabia. Mr. Mehta helped the Supreme Commission of Tourism to select the best desert sites for ecolodge development in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Mehta also produced a comprehensive Desert Ecolodge Guidelines Document that will be handed out to potential developers and investors of ecolodge projects in the designated Ecotourism areas around the country. The prescriptive guidelines cover all aspects of development including site planning, architectural design, infrastructure, construction (3/05 to 10/05).

• Crosswaters Ecolodge, Guangdong Province, S. China. Mr. Mehta was the project manager for the team that planned, designed and supervised the construction of the first ecolodge and wellness center in China within Nankun Mountain Reserve. EDSA provided full services (from Conceptual Design to Construction Documents) and the team consisted of well known Australian Ecolodge Architect, Paul Pholeros, the world’s leading bamboo Architect, Simon Velez from Colombia and Linda Garland, the well-known bamboo interior designer. The master plan includes an ecolodge and conference center, wellness center, nature activity center, boutique resort, trails. The project is scheduled to open in spring 2007 (3/03 to 1/07).

• Vagamon Hill Retreat, Kerala, India- Mr. Mehta was the project manager for a unique environmentally and socially friendly ecotourism destination in the Conservation International ‘hotspot’ of Western Ghats. The Tourism Master Development Plan for Vagamon as planned by EDSA, comprises of a 30-year overall Perspective Plan and 1-5 year Site Development Plan. Vagamon will be a hill destination that draws its inspiration from philosophical and spiritual traditions that are uniquely Indian. These traditions focus on the close and inextricable linkage in Indian philosophy between nature, spirituality and the self. (6/01 to 2/03).

• Vision Plan for Wailoaloa Ecolodge, Nadi, Fiji. Mr. Mehta prepared a vision plan for a seven acre 63 bures Ecolodge. The developers of this project are the owners of the world famous Turtle Island Lodge. EDSA provided a report and a conceptual site plan which included accommodation for both Turtle Island guests and backpackers, staff accommodation, a sea plane base, rugby field and beach (10/02 to 12/02).

• Ecolodge Design, Construction and Operation Guidelines, Red Sea, Egypt – Mr. Mehta was a member of the EDSA team that was involved in the production of a Guidelines Document that is handed out by the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) to potential developers and investors of ecolodge projects in the designated Ecotourism Zones. The prescriptive guidelines cover all aspects of development and operations and include site planning, architectural design, infrastructure, construction, marketing, operations, financial aspects, interpretation and conservation. (9/00 to 12/00)

• Family Island Sustainable Development, Mayaguana, Bahamas. – Mr. Mehta was the project manager of a sustainable master-planning tourism project for Mayaguana, Bahamas. The intention is to design an all-island conceptual land use plan, which is sustainably designed and engineered. EDSA’s concept is to creatively merge the opportunities that the island offers with economics and planning that will lead to a successful low impact resort destination and engage the family islands in the Bahamas prosperity for years to come. The intention is for Mayaguana to develop into a flagship sustainable development project that would benefit both the local villages and the developer without compromising the environment (6/99 to 4/00).

•“Lobolo Ecolodge”, Lake Turkana, Kenya – consulted on the site selection, site planning, architectural design and landscaping of a 30-bed ecolodge on a 5 acre property (6/96 to 6/97).

• “Paraa Tented Camp”, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda – consulted on the preparation of eco-camp design guidelines (1/96 to 3/96).

• “Paraa Lodge”, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda – was part of a three person team that prepared an Environmental Impact Assessment (E.I.A.) for alterations and additions to a 100 room existing lodge (11/94 to 5/95).

• “Voi Wildlife Eco-Camp”, Tsavo East National Park, Kenya – surveyed and analyzed a 50-acre site along Voi River just before the Voi Gate. Provided consultancy on location, orientation and site planning of eco-camp (6/91 to 8/91).

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