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Hilton Kathmandu, Nepal

Project Brief
Hilton Kathmandu, located in the heart of Kathmandu valley, is a fusion of the rich heritage of Nepal interwoven with contemporary spaces and maximizing the breath-taking views of the Himalayan Mountain range visible from the valley of Kathmandu.

‘Prayer Flags’ are an integral part of the culture of the city. These colourful flags don’t just dominate the landscape but also the cityscape across the country of Nepal. A person moving through the city of Kathmandu, visiting monuments, trekking or even ascending Mount Everest will inadvertently notice these prayer flags.

The pure meaning behind these prayer flags is to spread the message of peace, compassion, wisdom and strength. These virtues supposedly spread through the wind and disperse into the surroundings, thus promoting goodwill and compassion into all prevailing spaces. It is also believed that when the wind passes through these flags it is purified and sanctified by the mantras.

This project looks at integrating and imbibing the culture of Nepal. The design ideation is not to copy the existing architectural motifs literally, but rather to create a subtle interpretation of the culture. The prayer flags have been translated into vertical dichroic laminated glass fins that rise from the ground up to the pinnacle of the building.

During the day the dichroic colour of the fin changes based on the angle of the incidence of light as seen from the street giving subtle pastel colours, and during the night these vertical fins come to live in the colours of the flags which represent the five elements, resonating the experience a guest would have during the day extending to the property in the night. As the city of Kathmandu goes to sleep, the prayer flags that are represented by the dichroic glass infused in Hilton Kathmandu come alive by night.

From the site, the Langtang mountain range is visible which is the highest mountain range visible from Kathmandu valley. The design responds to the intense urban street on one side, curves and opens up towards the views of the mountain range. This also enables us in generating more rooms per floor improving the efficiency of the floor plate.

The view of the mountains is further accentuated by the treatment of the facade. Seamless lines move across the facade creating a strong design movement and balconies for rooms on every alternate floor. This branching facade element creates a duality in the design of the facade. One side is occupied by vertical lines interpreting the flags while the other is with clear glass responding to the breathtaking view. This results in an animation of the façade when passing by and gives different elevations to the building to enhance the experience.

Structural Details
The building is 64 meters high, resulting not just in a local but a global experience of visibility of the vertical fins that light up as prayer flags throughout the city. A generous cantilever has been embedded in the design where the ground floor peels back to create a generous welcoming drop-off area for the visitors.

The building section has been set up in such a way that the Lobby, banquet hall, meeting rooms and service floor occupy the lower levels of the built form. This results in uninterrupted views starting right from the first guest room floor, thus, ensuring that the guest experiences the majestic beauty of the mountains and of the Kathmandu valley.

Located in Nepal seismic design becomes a critical part of the design. Dampeners and shear walls have been provided to create this structure as an immediate occupancy building.

Utility & Recreation
A 180-degree view has been provided from the all-day dining area and the terrace to allow the guests to soak up the natural beauty of the surrounding, emphasized by an over-edge infinity pool. The all-day dining area and swimming pool have been strategically placed on the top of the building for the convenience of the guests of the hotel.

The Hilton Kathmandu has won the 2021 WA Award World Architecture Community 37th Cycle 2021 Best Design Project and the 2015 Estrade Real Estate Awards, Singapore, Category Best Leisure Architecture for Kathmandu Hotel.

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