About the Book

AMAZING TIMBER RESORTS by Architect N.Mahesh illustrates the contemporary adaptation of traditional timber architecture of Kerala through the architect's designs of luxury resorts in India and abroad. The book takes into realm, design depiction and the role of timber as an architectural, structural and interior medium used for high-end resorts.


"Timber!" of course, was the cry issued by the loggers of old to warn of a falling tree, but this lovely volume on the Timber Resorts of renowned architect N. Mahesh does not need to come with a warning label.The book portrays the unusually interesting oeuvre of an unusually interesting man. It is conceptually original, as are the houses it depicts, and its ambience is suffused with the solidity and appeal...


We begin our story at the beginning of any great design, the sub conscious inspiration. This inspiration is the thread from which the architect weaves his blank canvas, which takes the cues of the modern world. No matter how diverse the designs they are all bound by this common thread. In conversation with architect N. Mahesh, we sifted through layer after layer of each project...


This fascinating journey through Mahesh's timber resort designs leaves me exhilarated. His skill in combining and giving a new twist each time to essentially the traditional Kerala forms is outstanding. I feel I have travelled back in time to savour a slice of Kerala. Certainly the guests to these resorts would leave feeling enriched culturally and sensitised to the wealth of our traditions......

architect n. mahesh

Spanning 38 years, forward thinking and ever experimenting, Architect N Mahesh's architectural practi`ce has come a full circle. Beginning his career as a site architect for a resort that was to be a hallmark design of it's times, the ITD C Kovalam Beach Resort, he has very diligently chiseled a name for himself through his designs for the widely acclaimed luxury resorts in India and abroad. In fact, he leaps ahead by contemporarising the timber heritage of Kerala's vernacular architectural style, making the age-old tenets relevant to modern lifestyles. Combining the modern appeal with old charm, his designs, rendered mostly in timber are a nod to the more heraldic action of the coming years. Relentlessly working on punishing terrains and deadlines, Mahesh has succeeded in making the humble lofty and regaining its lost sheen.

Today, Architect N. Mahesh, is reckoned as a forerunner of things to come on Indian architecture scene. Driven by a conviction to make the vernacular relevant in his experiments with technology, he perhaps did not realise himself how far he had travelled on this road in the last 20 years. His resort designs, mostly in timber, infuse an element of pride and are visually compelling. It has been his relentless obsession to find solutions to make the traditional wisdom work in the modern context. Analysing his designs, one sees this coming through very clearly. Starting out in mid-late nineties, his first experiment was with the exposed trusses of Club Mahindra's Lakeview restaurant ceiling. Taking it further and doing a then-contemporary mix of vernacular and colonial was his design for Taj Vivanta, Kovalam.

Behind the Book

Mridula Sharma

As a former editor of Living etc., India edition ; Mridula has been associated with leading design magazines such as Inside Outside, Design Today and Better Homes & Gardens for over 15 years. Featured in Swedish magazine FORM, Indian magazines and Bloomberg India TV Channel her experience in the d├ęcor industry puts her at a vantage position to spot trends and analyze them. Upon a study of Architect Mahesh's portfolio, she spotted the significance of his designs against the dwindling trend of building with local wisdom and materials as much as their value in preservation and dissemination of design heritage of Kerala. Widely travelled, Mridula lives in New Delhi and consult on varied design projects including forecasting for companies and writing for various design, luxury and lifestyle magazines in India and abroad.

Amit Pasricha

Amit Pasricha lives in New Delhi and comes from a family of photographers. A well-known Architectural and social documentary photographer, he specializes in the Panoramic format. His work has been exhibited in India, London and New York, forming part of several private collections. His photographs have also been published in several books, including dome over India; Rashtrapathi Bhavan, Horizons. The Tata-India century, Maharaja of palaces: Umaid Bhavan, Mughal style and India: Then and now Pasricha's panoramic collector's edition, The Monumental India Book was voted as the top ten Coffee Table Books of the world in 2008. In 2010 he brought out its sequel. The Sacred India Book which won the incredible India Award. Hot off the press it is a comprehensive study on Mughal Architecture in the sub-continent titled Mughal Architecture and Gardens..

Balan Madhavan

Balan Madhavan is the only Fellow of the International League of Conservation photographers (www.ilcp.com) from India and one of the two from the whole of Asia in this elite group of 60 nature photographers of the World in which almost everyone is a National Geographic contributing photographer. Balan is also an UN Award winner in nature photography. He divides his time between his commercial assignments for the travel industry and his passion which is nature and wild life photography. A dedicated teacher, Balan Madhavan has conducted hundreds of photography workshops and photo tours for both the aspiring amateur as well as experienced professional photographer.

The Timber Legacy of Kerala Architecture

Traditional Kerala architecture is a combination of Thatchu Shastra (the sceinece of carpentery and traditional Vastu concepts. These two precepets have dominated all forms of building right from the earliest known, the 9th century AD .
Perum Thatachan meaning master carpenter or the master craftsman is an honoric title that is used to refer to an ancient legendary carpenter (Asari), architect, woodcarver and sculptor. He is an important figure in the folklore of Kerala and many a wondrous structure and architecture that still stand are attributed to him.
Spurred by leads that emerged from a morning spent with Dr Sasibhoosan, author, historian and Chair of Kerala Traditional Architecture at College of Architecture, Trivandrum, we set course to locate surviving examples of traditional excellence. Our first stop was Padmanabhapuram Palace The 1000 year old Thathangady mosque

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