Mandarin Oriental

Won as an international competition to provide both the architectural and interior design for a 12,500 sq. m, generally single level luxury resort hotel on a 20 hectares site which is located within the original Buddhist archaeological site of Bagan and has expansive views of the Ayeyarwaddy River of Myanmar. The hotel accommodation contains 120 luxurious and traditionally appointed guest rooms arranged around a central large courtyard together with twenty villas in private and contemplative landscape settings and all supported by a main reception building facing the river including two restaurants, kitchens, retail outlet, business centre, swimming pool and spa.

A unique design solution was created for the luxury resort hotel by reinforcing the history of the site. The site is generally dominated by the Aggade Pagoda built in the 1112th century AD and whose physical plan aligns with the four cardinal points of the compass. The two axes emanating from this central monument are then used to reinforce the planning and spatial framework of the resort.

These axes also form the framework to create a walled, secluded environment in which are located the guest accommodation buildings which will be built in the traditional style of the early Bagan period.

The site is a world heritage site. The architectural design imagery of the resort is an evolution of monastic and palace styles of the early Bagan period in 11 – 12th Centuries AD. This architectural solution represents the building types that would have surrounded the pagodas and stupas during previous times. The original planning principles of this cultural period were based upon a need for fortified and self contained communities that developed village compounds with interior courtyards and protective walked enclosures.

Undertaken by Michael Fisher while a senior project architect at INARC Design Asia.