Ashiana Rangoli Gardens, a 25-acre gated housing community, is a green oasis in the midst of the desert environs of Jaipur. Through interconnected open spaces, verdant mature tree canopies, playful use of water and land, the landscape design balances the needs of functionality, maintenance and circulation with those of aesthetics, tranquility and landscape engagement with a sensitive integrated landscape approach.
Intensive programming requirements of community gardens, badminton courts, tennis courts, basketball courts, swimming pools, play areas, public art installations and public plazas were met within the constraints of an affordable housing project budget. Use of durable and long-lasting materials and patterning exhibit a commitment to quality.
The high density development captures a sense of the larger open space, yet each cluster has its own unique spaces. Space for recreation, sports, contemplation and garden spaces for the residents of the clusters. These spaces are linked by pedestrian walkways creating a walking trail from one cluster to another. The experience of greenery, sunlight, fragrance and water along the walkways keeps changing the experience and engagement of the user with distinct views and interesting vistas.
At the core of the site is a club with a swimming pool and attached lawns for formal gatherings and celebrations.
Rangoli Plaza forms the central congregational space for the resident community- particularly women, children and senior citizens. The plaza gets animated by the focal fountain with seating around to view the dynamic water feature and lighting. It has provision for music which can be played according to the seasons and local festivals. The activities are further enhanced by the presence of temporary kiosks selling the local street food. Thus, the plaza becomes the place where residents can relish the pleasures of this historical city within the confines of their gated community.
Unlike most contemporary projects with basement, Rangoli Gardens has only surface and stilt parking. The elimination of basement was a critical decision that helped keep the project affordable, yet it did have implications on the landscape programme.
All landscaped areas on virgin ground are at a level slightly lower than the adjacent walkways. As a result rain and storm water percolates into the ground, in the larger open spaces. This sensitive landscape engineering ensures that disposal of the surface runoff and structured solutions are kept to a minimal.
The planting strategy was largely focused on selection of a plant palette which is drought resistant and can do well with desert conditions of sandy soil and dry environment. The challenge to compensate the heavy built mass on the site was overcome by using by close spacing of trees with umbrella shaped foliage that cuts the views of the towers, that also results in a low carbon footprint. Closely spaced tall columnar trees were used as buffer. The simplified plant palette avoids the clutter of multispecies compositions providing a sense of calm and serenity.