HOUSE OF ARCHES, at Palakkad, Kerala, by Akhil Gopi

This is an experimental project of reinterpreting courtyard housing typology. We aimed to break the conventional sloping roof courtyard housing typology with some unique architectural characters without changing the overall planning. The courtyard is conceived as a spatial divider, like a family camp, to consolidate and share the conviviality and burdens of daily living without feeling overcrowded at night. The courtyard is excavated in plan to optimize views and passive solar gain, allowing light and air inside, while sinking the house into the landscape to maximize thermal insulation and intimacy from the urban context. The rooms are conceived as a continuous sequence of event spaces. Each room is equipped for the varying performances of daily living, framed by the outside, suggesting an architecture of simplicity and harmony between the built and the vegetal.

Project Facts –

Site area_ 45 cent

Built area _ 3300 sqft

Client_ Mr. Sudheesh

Location_ Palakkad, Kerala

Design team_Akhil Gopi, Akhil Das

Banganga Crematorium Redevelopment Competition by S|BAU / Suprio Bhattacharjee

Banganga Crematorium Redevelopment Competition by S|BAU / Suprio Bhattacharjee

The design for the Banganga Crematorium evolves as a series of diverging paths and routes traced out on a restored site topography and affected by pre-existing conditions – such as Samadhi structures that needed to be retained, a community temple that needed to be redesigned at the exact same location within the plot, children’s burials that were retained at their existing locations and existing, worn-out metal structures that too were retained. These paths along winding routes amplify a ‘distancing’ from the cacophony of the city – heightening the sense of procession along a sequence of narrow and constricting volumes until space is released and the physical/perceptual senses and views expand – to encompass the sea, the sky and the barren landscape.

Interpretations, such as a memory or association to a place, is referenced in the remnants of pre-existing constructions that are maintained in their original locations – rust-covered steel roof frames of the previous pyre sheds – reinterpreted as abstract pieces set within the landscape and re-used as support for the new roof structure of the wood-fired pyre pavilion – now raised upon a plinth to allow for expanding views across the western boundary wall onto the distant horizon of the Arabian Sea.

Visitors would perceive the building as a landscape formation where fragments of ‘built’ elements – raw pigmented cast-in situ concrete elements that read as extensions to the barren landscape mingling with steel and pivoted polycarbonate (in the congregation space) – create a sense of place by immersing the individual in the phenomenology of the site – heightening the awareness of natural elements, modulating these elements such as the sunlight and the expansive views across the Arabian sea, and reinforcing connections with the ground, with the earth. The individual is offered the space to withdraw and observe, the opportunity to record, or ‘trace’ the sense of stillness as natural forces continue unabated – the motion of the sun cast as shadows upon walls, the changing intensity of the wind as it funnels through the building, the reverb of the sea crashing against the craggy coastline of basalt – all the while one is aware of the motion of people as they engage in the act of mourning, remembrance or quiet contemplation.

As the individual moves further in, vistas expand to allow for release, and adjacent spaces are subtly demarcated through level differences, through the use of walls that enclose, low walls and platforms that act as seating ledges or benches, raked concrete planes that heighten a sense of enclosure and porous screening elements of bamboo, wood or stone. Time will eventually weather the raw concrete surfaces and the other natural materials to offer us a beautiful allegory to the cycle of life, death and harmonious universal balance – the acceptance of mortality and change.

A sense of isolation is created to allow for inner realisation and peace, stillness and silence broken only by the sound of waves crashing against the rocks below. The culmination of all the paths leads to an intimate promenade that follows the western boundary along the restored topography of the site. A pre-existing exit to the rocky coastline (through a band of informal setttlements) affords those willing to venture beyond, the opportunity to connect directly with the breath of the sea.

The project thus constructs an extended journey across a narrow, linear site, perceptually expanding its cross-section through non-linear, sinuous routes, whilst deflating the compression of urban life through a choreography of spatial experiences. The set of splayed paths leads from the gross-ness of the outside world, to an intimate yet expansive experientiality that offers the individual a sense of spiritual inner release coupled with a one-ness with the vastness of the forces of nature. The predominant sense is that of a sense of incomplete-ness (or perhaps a choreographed ruin?) – much like our lives and how the loss of a loved one makes one – but perhaps with a realisation that this ‘incomplete-ness’ is a mere reflection of the tangible self – with the necessary permanence of nature ensuring one’s sense of wholeness and completion.

Models

LIVING WEAVE, at New Delhi, India, by S|BAU / Suprio Bhattacharjee Architecture Unit

LIVING WEAVE, at New Delhi, India, by S|BAU / Suprio Bhattacharjee

The population of people living in slums in India, today exceeds the entire population of Britain. Slum Clearance projects as variously seen in the past have had limited success with incongruous built environments imposed upon a people whose lifestyles are in marked conflict with the spaces they are (supposedly) ‘rehabilitated’ within. The key in the project then, on finding a solution that ‘integrates the culture and traditions of Indian society with improved living conditions for inhabitants of urban slums’, was an opportunity to develop a built environment that may have a closer connection with the lifestyles of the people it shelters.

The proposed scheme, spread over a 3 Hectare area in the heart of New Delhi, is conceived of an intricate weave of the ‘farm’ and the ‘dwelling’, drawing from the traditional Indian courtyard typology, enabling community living (and farming) through a modular, scalable model that offers residents the benefits of low purchase cost, flexibility to expand as per means, and the potential of skill development and employment through self-build.

LIVING WEAVE, at New Delhi, India, by S|BAU / Suprio Bhattacharjee

Modular Relationship

The building block of the built community is a single cluster that is a combination of 4 housing units integrated with individual farms. Modules combine together to form a continuous tapestry of farmlands over the roofs of dwellings that may be worked on together by the community as farming is traditionally practiced in India and much of Asia. This ‘weave’ gently undulates over the length of the site, cascading down to form flatter expanses for play areas and market zones. The sense of porosity and fine grain of informal settlements is maintained, with courtyards that house the vertical circulation cores linking up at ground level, while the sense of a continuous landscape is retained at the roof level.

LIVING WEAVE, at New Delhi, India, by S|BAU / Suprio Bhattacharjee

Implementation Strategy

An incremental building strategy ensures a low capital cost for residents acquiring a dwelling unit within Living Weave. A combination of ‘Infrastructure’ and ‘Infill’, where ‘Infrastructure’ is the shell comprising the structural system and service core, and ‘Infill’ is a palette of locally available low-tech building materials that becomes the enclosing skin, enables lower cost of acquisition and enables dwellings to evolve over time as family needs increase and economic standards rise.

LIVING WEAVE New Delhi, India at  S|BAU / Suprio Bhattacharjee

Self-build

The ‘Infill’ is made up of a ‘Kit-of-Parts’ that is fabricated in the craft workshops as part of the built community and assembled by the residents themselves. This ensures skill training and employment generation in the act of building itself that stays as valuable knowledge within the community. The self-build strategy with a set of definite modular elements enables customization of the dwellings so that residents may choose materials of their choice as per their needs and preferences, as well as contextual and micro-climatic conditions each dwelling encounters. The kit-of-parts consists of [a] Brick wall (rat trap bond) [b] Bamboo reinforced concrete panels [c] Bamboo screens [d] Recycled perforated metal screens.

Incremental growth

The building system comprises a fixed core with flexible internal configurations. This allows residents the option of expansion as the requirements of a family increases. With time they can be transformed and customized, by residents themselves in an incremental manner – dwelling floor area may be increased from the provided 30.25 sq.m. to over 50 sq.m. over time.

LIVING WEAVE, at New Delhi, India, by S|BAU / Suprio Bhattacharjee

Project Facts –

Awards:  Environmental Quality Mention

Year: 2012

Design Team: Dhara Mehta, Jude D’Souza, Suprio Bhattacharjee, Sonali Praharaj

Location: New Delhi, India

Project Type: Open Competition

Keshopur Wetland Centre at Gurdaspur, Punjab, India, by S|BAU / Suprio Bhattacharjee Architecture Unit

Keshopur Wetland Centre at Gurdaspur, Punjab, India, by S|BAU / Suprio Bhattacharjee Architecture Unit

The Interpretation Centre is situated amidst a wetland. A key idea at the heart of the project was the restoration of the landscape of the site to its prior state as a wetland, similar to that of the surrounding landscape, rather than have the state of imposed artificiality to which it had been consigned. Visitors would thus have an experience of a building immersed into the natural environment that they would later experience in fuller measure on their tour through the wetlands.

While the intent of the Interpretation Centre was to be a warm and welcoming space to visitors, it was clear from the outset that greater emphasis was to be given to the wetlands – the raison d’être of the building. The Centre was therefore designed to be one with its surroundings, tracing an intuitive, unobstructed path that would lead visitors through the built space of the Centre onto the unbuilt, open landscape of the wetland. Like leaves on a connecting stem, spaces were asymmetrically planned along this path – the function and location of the spaces dictating their volumes and orientations.

Essential communicated information unfolds gradually through various visual media as a visitor moves along the trail to the wetlands. The different functions of the Interpretation Centre are organized along this path not as closed rooms but as experiential spaces, each with a distinctive dialogue set up with the exterior. Thus a visitor is pleasantly surprised at every turn.

The orientation of the functional masses was strategically planned to allow the building to dissolve into the landscape, allowing for unobstructed views through the building onto the surrounding landscape. Built spaces – both functional enclosures as well as circulation areas were scaled down to provide for a more intimate spatial experience and also to emphasize the vastness of the wetlands. The entire site was interconnected by ramps making barrier-free access possible to almost every point.

Roofs with large overhangs provide shade to the visitors to picnic, rest and play while on their trip to the wetlands. Some roofs are made accessible to visitors for bird viewing and other activities. All roofs are designed to function as green roofs with the thermal mass of the soil helping regulate interior conditions to comfort levels. Roof slabs are angled to block out the harsh sunrays.

The undulating landscape of the site creates a rhythm alternating between wetland and dry land. The transition between ‘ground’ and ‘roof’ is also gradual.

Bamboo was selected for non-structural screen walls to further de-materialise the built mass into its natural surroundings. The screens act as a breathing skin which creates a play of light and shade while giving interior spaces a warm and earthy feel.

A porous, diffuse building that stretches out to embrace the site in a series of light, strung-together pavilions, the Keshopur Wetland Centre is an endeavour to touch the ground lightly within a sensitive and fragile ecosystem, and in doing so, bring focus to the need for preserving and perpetuating it for generations to come.

Project Facts –

Location: Gurdaspur, Punjab, India 

Team: Dhara Mehta, Sonali Praharaj, Jude D’Souza, Suprio Bhattacharjee

Site Area: 1.17 Ha

Year: 2012

Way Side Amenties, at Delhi, by Kalayojan Architects

This work was conceptualized as an International public standard amenities project for a new national highway (eastern peripheral expressway) around New Delhi India. Many independent functions such as hotel, food courts, hospitals, petrol pump with electric charging facility, dhabas, local handicraft market, car and truck parking facility, public parks and large fountains were all seamlessly incorporated in planning of this 10 hectare land.

One of the distinguishing features of this work is the roof, with its sinuously curved profile and beautiful cut outs binding the otherwise disparate functions together.

The movement of incoming and outgoing traffic was planned in a way to avoid any intersection between them.

This project is envisioned to become the benchmark for all the upcoming way side amenities projects not only in India but Internationally

Raksha Shakti University, at Gandhinagar, by Kalayojan Architects

Raksha Shakti University, at Gandhinagar, by Kalayojan Architects

Raksha Shakti University is being planned as a school for security education, located on the outskirts of the Gujarat capital Gandhinagar. The objectives of this institute comprise an integrated modern, scientific and technological training for Indian youth in internal security and facilities for research in internal security. The slightly undulating site identified by the organization lies next to the Lavad village in Dehgam taluka on the banks of the dry Meshwo river.

Kalayojan’s design, in its innate style, makes the layout placements prioritizing response to site topography by placing the parade grounds and play fields on the flatter plains and the residential facilities on the contours at the water front. The discipline followed throughout the layout in terms of axial development and formal, almost symmetrical placement of facilities serves to define its identity as a defence establishment. This discipline in planning is further buttressed by a meticulous maintenance of view lines through all facilities on the campus.

The colonnaded passages running all around the main buildings alongwith their central courtyards provide relief from the extreme heat of the climatic region. The height of these stone clad colonnades around main administration and institutional buildings sets up the impactful scale of the institute’s architecture.

The residential facilities are treated with a warmer exposed brick exterior. Kalalyojan’s zigzag placement of these hostel blocks ensures the 4 squadrons that form each battalion share a common recreational space placed in the centre of the 4 blocks.

The exposed concrete in the institutional buildings and exposed brickwork in the residential buildings echo the architecture of Ahmedabad as typified by the works of Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. They are also expressive of the ruggedness required of a military school. Yet, the touch of colour added to the scene by the red and blue base panels of the hostel windows enlivens the common recreational space.

Other facilities provided include a helipad, an obstacle course, grounds for hockey, football and khokho, an amphitheatre, an auditorium, a stadium, a shopping complex and a students’ mess.

Drawings

Lighting Museum and Energy Centre, at Bangalore, Karnataka, by MayaPraxis

Lighting Museum and Energy Centre, at Bangalore, Karnataka, by MayaPraxis

In commemoration of 150 years of power supply to Bangalore, via India’s very first power station in Shivanasamudra falls in Karnataka, the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd, held an architectural competition for the design of a Light Museum and Energy Center.

The 9-acre site is located in Hoodi and has a high tension line passing through it.It is programmed to be a museum, research center and public space.

Lighting Museum and Energy Centre, at Bangalore, Karnataka, by MayaPraxis

Brief dictates that the architecture of the LIMEC must celebrate light through form, material, structure and function.

The LIGHT MUSEUM will be a place for the exhibit and study of lighting technology – its cultural, scientific and historical aspects. The ENERGY CENTER will be a laboratory and knowledge center for exchange and experiment of technological research, product design and testing standards in lighting and energy issues.

It will include indoor and outdoor exhibition space, an information centre, research space, public library, training centre to encourage implementation of energy efficiency and alternative energy production systems and a hardware tool lending library.

in addition, performance and event spaces, cafeteria, book shop and lighting store and parking space is included.

Lighting Museum and Energy Centre, at Bangalore, Karnataka, by MayaPraxis

Like a prism, the center should focus knowledge as well as disseminate it. Light comes alive in its meeting with the crystal; it dazzles, reflects, refracts light.

The structural geometry of the electric poles seems similar to the geometry of the polished surface of the crystal.

Taking this idea forward the design develops 4 blocks separated by 3 ‘crystal’ courts.

The crystal courts refract the light into the galleries and other spaces by prismatic glass surfaces on two sides. These courts also channelize the prevailing breeze and let it into the gallery spaces where the spaces are not air conditioned. A series of galleries beginning from dark space to the light space showcase the various ways light is used and understood today and through history.

The design uses several strategies to make the building energy sensitive and responsive to the local ecology using passive and active systems.

Lighting Museum and Energy Centre, at Bangalore, Karnataka, by MayaPraxis
Lighting Museum and Energy Centre, at Bangalore, Karnataka, by MayaPraxis

Bamiyan Culture Centre, at Afghanistan, by MayaPraxis

Bamiyan Culture Centre, at Afghanistan, by MayaPraxis

The Bamiyan Cultural Centre is a space for exhibitions and training, that celebrates the wonderful history of Afghanistan, its heritage, local art and craft, knowledge and techniques. UNESCO, in association with the the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture and the Republic of Korea hosted an architectural competition, the idea behind which is that culture also makes a valuable contribution to socio -economic development, and in the case of Bamiyan, it will pave the way towards future tourism, and encourage the participation of local communities, in not only protecting and preserving their own cultural heritage, but also sharing it.

The site is in Afghanistan’s third largest city, Bamiyan. A long heritage of trade and culture is seen in the landscape around. The site faces the remains of 2000 year old gigantic Buddha statues carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamiyan valley.

Leaving the flat areas for cultivation and community landscape, the main building was sited in the middle of the site along the steep slope.

By using the existing terrace along the slope and cutting-filling some new ones, the building sits snugly along the slope and helps connect the two terraces. The learning and work center and the community plaza are located in the lower terrace. The entrance from the upper terrace begins an axial path that steps down the 10m slope and ends at the amphitheater at the lowest end. All spaces are oriented keeping in mind the Bamiyan cliff view and the sun from the south.

OUR APPROACH:

  • To create modern architecture that resonates with the landscape and traditional forms :

use of simple vaulted forms that emerge from the ground but do not dominate the monumental landscape

  • Organize the functions along the axial staircase in descending terraces
  • To weave an architectural journey that folds into the terrain of the site :

Begin with a cave-like entrance in a bermed landscape and then move through vaulted forms on terraces stepping down looking onto the Bamiyan Valley.

  • To utilize local material and technology with innovation
  • To plan an intelligent structure that retains heat , utilizes daylight and conserves water :

Good thermal insulation is provided by the stabilized earth block walls; glass skylights provide diffused light within and bermed structures keep the temperature even during the winters.

Hill Crest, at Vasai, by Studio Osmosis

Hill Crest, at Vasai, by Studio Osmosis

Nestled in the beautiful hills of suburban Mumbai , Hill Crest is a n environment oriented, modern residential township set in the lap of nature. Complete with state of the art amenities that are elegantly entwined with the elements of nature Each exotic villa and bungalow is designed and sited to ensure that it gives the most breathtaking view of the blissfully tranquil surroundings that envelop Hill Crest. It is believed that any home is not complete without our loved ones and therefo re home s at Hill Crest comes along with a multitude of thoughtfully designed spaces and facilities that have taken into account the comfort and safety of every one.

With the total site area of 10 acres, this residential township, Hill C rest ha s been planned keeping in mind the connection with the nature that is provided to the users. Individual 2 BHK, 3 BHK and 4 BHK villas have been planned in a manner to provide open terraces and views from each unit.

The master planning follows the concept of radial planning in which the club house is placed in the center and all the villas are planned around it. This concept of radial planning is used keeping in mind to minimize the circulation between the club house and the individual villas and is also well connected to the main circulation. Also with this concept the number of villas is maximized using the site area to its full potential.

All the plots have been planned to provide parking area and a garden for each villa. Also the orientation of the villas is done as per the sun path diagram to make it an energy efficient space. The 2 BHK unit is furnished with a living room, dining area, kitchen, a store room, the bedrooms and an open terrace. The 3 BHK unit has the same amenities with a room added and each room also ha s an individual balcony attached. Additionally, the 4 BHK unit has a courtyard, an open portico that can be made into an open seating area and an entertainment lounge. Here each room is equipped wit h an individual balcony and the master bedroom ha s its own terrace.

The club is well planned with all the amenities needed, namely, a swimming pool, a gym, changing rooms, sauna, outdoor sitting area, library, yoga center , kitchen , offices, and a games ro om. An amphitheatre , a party lawn and a jogging track have also been added near the club house.

School at Karla, Maharashtra, by Architect Sachin Agshikar

School at Karla, Maharashtra, by Architect Sachin Agshikar

A simple rectangular plot at Karla (Maharashtra) with mountains in the background and highway in the front, was reserved for a school. This project was to be built by a Trust mainly to cater to the local children.

Though there were no physical challenges on the site, one of the main issues was the noise created by the speeding traffic on the highway. It was therefore decided that the building should be more of an inward looking building with minimum openings on the exterior wall.

Since this building was catering to two age groups, the building plan was also split into two parts so that they have their own designated amenities. Another block was added in the front which was mainly for the common amenities like the administration, multipurpose hall and canteen. The idea was also to restrict outsiders within the first block itself and the following two blocks were mainly for the children.

These three blocks were separated by courtyards which also provided natural light for the class rooms. These blocks were connected by a 4 m wide corridor which was like a street with varying heights. Intermediate double height spaces were created so that one has visual connecting with the first floor while walking down this corridor.

The scale of the building was important considering that age of the children and the building was intentionally kept low rise.

The shape of the building from outside resembled the mountains seen at a distance.

The whole experience of walking in the corridor discovering different courtyards integrated within the plan, the natural light filtering in, the feeling of calmness and serenity were some of the main features of the design.

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