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A Unique Blend of Tradition and Contemporary Artistry – Hotel Nandini, Dhanmondi

Hotel Nandini was formerly known as Hotel Nidmahal. In the past, due to its poor management, the establishment failed to initiate its admiration. As a result, it gradually got converted into a bank, an office as well as a branch of a university. This intimate scaled boutique hotel underwent a massive renovation renovated by Nakshabid Architects to achieve a significant facelift that adds dynamicity to the surrounding urban texture. Currently, with a long-term lease agreement, the plot has been reestablished by transforming the first two stories into a flagship store, one floor dedicated to office space, and the rest of the floors as a three-star boutique hotel with its necessary facilities. The roof space has been transformed into a beautifully designed dining facility with a view of the urban skyline. 

The project is led by Ar. Bayejid Mahbub Khondker and codesigned by Ar. Subrata S Hazra, Artist Rainy Wadud and Ar. Ajoy Das. By ditching mechanical procedures, the entire establishment has been manually hand-painted to present the real texture of manual handwork. The handwork distinctively beautified the appearance of the Nandini Hotel in a way that it has become a treat to the eyes of people. The building was built in a 10×10 grid frame structure. The old floor finishes have all been removed and replaced with a minimalistic concrete finish, for getting rid of the added thickness of the floor. Locally seasoned wood Koroi, Gaab, Sea Grass, and Bamboo have been used for interior work. A small volume of steel has been imported which was locally weathered. The building was at its optimum; hence further loading was not structurally feasible. Therefore, the materials selected are all lightly weighted. The building was built in a 10×10 grid frame structure.

What makes the building unique is its positioning; the remarkable setback from the adjacent road. Hence, the focus is given to the entryway. It is a narrow space but has been made grand with a bigger scale ceiling height. One of the major challenges was that the building was exposed to the west. Commonly, in tropical areas solidification is appreciated with screening. The target here was to create a solid plane with tons of points, which is breathable at the same time. The light passing through will create shadow in multiple layers. This guarantees unhindered visibility and cuts off the direct western rays simultaneously.

The entire building’s nighttime illumination is so spectacular that it appears to be shimmering like thousands of enormous stars in the night sky. Moreover, such aesthetic idea of blending glass and wooden crafting has not been presented to people before and it also became eye-catching to every passerby. On the left side of the hotel, the branding work has been done using raw wooden crafts. 2.5 feet of wooden sticks have been placed at a distance of 8 inches from each other in the form of a cross which is attached with screws creating a kind of wooden rowing illusion. The rooftop restaurant is decorated with greenery and traditional wood-crafted accessories which enhances the Bengali tradition. It is consisting of two parts. One side is enclosed with glass and air-conditioned, and the rest of the space is open-to-sky dining. The only setback is its orientation. Because the mass is facing west and located beside one of the busiest primary roads, the heat and the noise pollution often get overwhelming.

Nandini Hotel gives a comfortable, homely atmosphere to the guests. Everything in this hotel that is visible is handcrafted, allowing us to see a reflection of our culture. To maintain an authentic feel, both the interior and exterior utilize native materials.

Photography by – Maruf Raihan, Rezwan Kabir Zoha, Aminul Islam Akib

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