Project DescriptionWhen Sabyasachi Sen & Associates (SSA) was approached by ITM University to build the new academic block in their Guragon campus, it posed many architectural challenges.
The campus was dominated by a large four-storied existing building built in the early 1990s in the ‘postmodern’ style of Architecture with a large formally laid garden in front. The proposed site of the new academic building was a narrow strip of land immediately abutting and at right angles to the existing building. The new building therefore had to sit at the edge of the garden to the west and abut the main road to the north (see site plan).
Architecturally, ‘The owners wanted the new academic block to reflect their vision of the future without jarring & conflicting with the old one.’
Functionally, the new building had to accommodate a large high performance auditorium in the ground level and lecture halls in the three floors above. Besides 110 cars & two wheelers were to be accommodated for increasing demand of onsite parking.
Concept & rationale:
The Design team at SSA had to come up with an extremely innovative & unique solution to address these challenges. They picked up the strong horizontal lines of the old building and continued them in the new building at right angles to the old building. These lines are then bent at angles breaking free, giving a feel that the new block has just ’burst out of its old shell.’ (see picture below) The vertical proportion of the existing facade was echoed in the pilasters of the ground floor, which was then gradually merged with the upward flying lines of the facade. Capping plates are consciously avoided in the left half of the building so as to afford a continuous & clear reflection of the old building in the new block.
The functional requirement of the building was met by innovative structural design. The roof of the large 450 seat auditorium was spanned through 16m wide Vierendeel girders. This freed up the space above for design of the lecture halls.
Detailed planning & design:
• The building consists of 2 basements & 5 upper floors.
• The 2 basements are primarily used for car parking & building services.
• A state of the art 450 seat stepped auditorium occupies a major part of the ground & the first floor. This has the most modern sound and acoustic system.
• The upper floors house fully air conditioned lecture halls for the management & law students.
The front façade abutting the road is fully glazed & envelopes a grand three storied atrium space with free flowing wave like lobbies. This façade therefore had to be the face of the institution from the road yet playful for the large number of students using the atrium space. The smooth curves of the lobbies juxtaposed one above the other break away from the strict rigidity of the institution & create a cheerful play of positive & negative space. A crisscross pattern using ACP cladding over metal framework is used on the upper floor & the open staircase & represents the ‘holding of hands’ or the unity of the student fraternity.
While the lecture halls were to be air-conditioned and devoid of much gazing for the requirement of audio visual pedagogy, the circulation system was made perambulatory to make the visual experience seamless and inside out. Energy efficient double glazing is used to cut down on sound & glare.