School of Planning and Architecture
Delhi, Uttar Pradesh
2009 - Competition
This project is a competition entry for the design of a new campus for the School of planning and Architecture, New Delhi. The proposal aims for an unrestrained dialogue between nature and proposed buildings where nature is not imagined as a separate entity that needs to be romanticized or controlled, but rather is allowed its due space to thrive. To reduce the impact of the intervention, impervious surfaces are minimized, earth work is reduced and large extents of the site are left completely untouched by both building and movement.
The housing and academic zones occupy two extreme ends of the site separated by a No Build zone. Most building orientations are as per climatic considerations: longer edges of buildings face north/ south sides so as to be exposed to less radiation.
The interesting profile of the gorge on the site has been exploited to cater to the academic building. While studios are housed in a floating form above the gorge, the ground level is kept free for an unrestrained visual connection across the site. Functions within the gorge are arranged in a fragmented morphology to allow light to penetrate through. The gorge is also an apposite response to the extreme climate of Delhi. In summer it is shaded and cool below and in winter the floating built mass allows air to circulate from below thus insulating it.
The housing areas similarly rest very gently on site resting on parallel walls which step along the natural contours. Stacks of rooms slide back and forth floor wise to generate common semi-open spaces of differing characters at various levels with the ‘fingers’ shading each other.
At one level, this project explores the process of generating specific built forms for different scales and functions, from a set of simple, heuristic design principles based on climatic and environmental considerations. At the same time, the idea that an educational campus needs to have an identity - one that inspires a heroic quest and rigour for knowledge – is a strong undercurrent guiding the formal and spatial articulation of this built form.