Essay: University architecture project (Page 2 of 2)

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University of Mumbai, Kalina :

A large campus is situated in Kalina, Santacruz in suburban Mumbai. Much of its
230 acre area (9,30,000 m2) is reserved for the development of future disciplines. It has on-campus graduate training and research centres. Several departments offering courses in the streams of here. Science, technology. commerce and humanities are located; however, all colleges of engineering affiliated to the University of Mumbai are privately-owned. The university does not have an engineering department and department of medicine of its own.

An indicative list of centres and institutes located in the Kalina Campus National Centre for nano-sciences and nanotechnology- a research facility department of biophysics, the only department of its kind in western India  – Jawaharlal Nehru Library Examination House, also known as Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Bhavan. It houses the office of the Controller of Examinations, Garware Institute of Career Education & Development.

It offers various courses including one in medical transcription and management courses like Agriculture, Business Management, Pharma Management and Tourism Management. MUST FM, the campus radio station of the university operates from here at 107.8 MHz frequency.

Modulation Alkesh Dinesh Mody Numismatic Museum displays currency from different parts of the world and belonging to various periods of time. Alkesh Dinesh Mody Institute for Financial & Management Studies (ADMI) is Mumbai University’s Department college, second after Jamnalal Bajaj Institute for Management Studies with their BMS, MFSM and MMS programme Department of Extra Mural Studies. It conducts weekend courses in many disciplines including astronomy, astrophysics, plant and animal taxonomy, hobby robotics and hobby electronics. The Institute of Distance Education (DE) offers distance learning courses in humanities, sciences, commerce, computer science and information technology Western Regional Instrumentation Centre (WRIC) is a research and training facility for Instrumentation Engineering and Science Centre for African Studies Centre for Eurasian Studies Rose garden featuring over a hundred varieties of roses. Marathi Bhasha Bhavan-Centre for learning the Marathi language conducts academic activities and cultural activities associated with the language. 

The following divisions are incorporated in this campus :

1. Sports Complex

2. Play Ground

3. Staff Housing

4. Ayurvedic Department

5. Botanical Garden

6. Boys Hostel

7. Guest House

8. Auditorium

9. Jawaharlal Nehru Library

10. Institute Of Distance Education

11. Marathi Bhasha Bhavan

12. Printing Press

13. Hostel Staff

Jawaharlal Nehru Library (JNL) at Vidyanagari is built on modern architectural principles of modular construction. The collection here is divided into social sciences; pure and applied sciences and humanities; separate stacking and reading rooms for these collections facilitate easy access.

The central library – Jawaharlal Nehru Library (JNL) is located in the campus at Kalina. It houses 8,50,000 books, documents and scientific journals, thesis, encyclopaedias, along with over 30,000 microfilms and over 1,200 rare manuscripts, international monetary fund reports, census records and several hundreds of e-journals. The library catalogue is computerised. Most books in the library are on topics of basic sciences, social sciences and behavioural sciences.15

2.4 – Case Study 3

University of Mumbai Sub-Centre, Ratnagiri :

Visualising the need to cater academic and administrative services to the students of Konkan region, the University of Mumbai initiated an administrative sub-centre at Ratnagiri on September 5, 1989.16 Initially the main purpose of the sub-centre was to decentralise some of the student services. Due to the constraint of space, expansion of student services as also introduction of courses could not be realised. Initially, the sub-centre was located in the premises of a B.Ed. College near bus stand. Later, it was shifted to Gogate – Joglekar College. A few Diploma courses were initiated from here. The academic activities of the sub-centre began when the it was shifted to Thibaw Palace and were inaugurated at the hands of Hon’ble Shri. Manohar Joshi, the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra on June 10, 1997.17

Beginning with the academic year 1997-98, all the student services and some necessary based academic courses were offered by the University from the sub-centre. The University of Mumbai subsequently acquired 13 acres of land for sub-centre at plot no. P-61, MIDC, Mirjole (Ratnagiri) and shifted its base into its own premises.18

Ratnagiri District is a paradise untouched by new culture It is a land as beautiful as its people who are simple, soft spoken, easy going and hospitable. Adventurous travellers, holidaymakers and nature lovers are drawn to this beautiful paradise. The scenery of this District has been shaped by a partnership of geography and civilisation. It has green hills, deep valleys, and emerald green paddy fields. There are a number of stunning beaches also. There is something special for everyone to enjoy and discover. It has its own specialty of summer fruits like Alphonso mango, Kokum Jackfruit, Cashew-nut, Jamun.etc. There is a regional speciality-Konkani food, made from rice, fish and coconut. It has a wide variety of wild-life, vegetation and birds.

The Ratnagiri district covers an area of 8208 sq. km.19 Weather of Ratnagiri fluctuates between 15 degrees to 33 degrees.20 Sea Breeze is enjoyable nearly throughout the year. Distance : From Mumbai (via Chiplun): 325 km; From Pune (via Chiplun) 345 km.21 General Information: Population – 15,44,057 (1991 census).22

Climate : Tropical Clothing – Cotton Clothes.23

The Experience : The campus involves not only the visible, physical and measurable system but also directly expresses and supports invisible, psychological and immeasurable systems of human interactions. The spatial experience within through the nuances of light and shade evokes inspiration. The journey within establishes a relation between the learning and living environment. The courts provides interactive nodes to the faculty and the students. Subtle variations of light modulations of ambient air and changing vistas evolve an emotion between the user and the space. The supporting vertical member extended through the entrance canopy terminates into a clock which reminds of the Rajabai Clock Tower at University of Mumbai – built in 1857.

The Centre aspires to create an academic Environment which offers to its students, an opportunity to interact amongst themselves beyond the formal teaching and learning spaces and contributes towards the overall development of the personality of the students. The essence of education is the transmission of values reflected in the Campus, the truthiness in the use of the form material and details organisation built and unbuilt spaces Architect Style, Nashik has designed the Campus.

Site Strategy : Architecturally, the site strategy has resulted in the evolution of series of courts along the axis parallel to  the south-west of the site. These courts give identity to each cluster. The buildings comprising the clusters are the means of definition for these courts and are either standing free, partially or fully engaged into the fabric of the centres giving spatial and programmatic meaning. The Project follows phasing closely and is designed so that each court will be completed within a single phase of the construction. Each of the clusters can function independently or in concert with the others.

For symbolic reasons the theatre and the library are free standing buildings. The Library maintains its figurative and literal distance to assert its importance and imply its position of the knowledge centre as a whole. The unity of spaces and variety of court sizes and types attempt to spatially express the inclusive nature of the centre joins its institution in the single task of preserving and promoting education. The clock tower and use of local material indigenously symbolically transforming the Mumbai University sub-centre into an emblem of the city.

Existing Infrastructure : The current infrastructure available at the sub-centre comprises of one of the several blocks that are designed for the campus. The Academic Block, as it is called is utilised in the following manner :-

Guest Rooms, Four Lecture Halls, One Store Room, One Working Office for Adjunct Professors, One Common Instrumentation Facility, One Auditorium, One Laboratory for Chemistry Students, Two Laboratory for Environmental Sciences Students, One Library-cum-Reading Hall.

 Academic Facilities : At present the Ratnagiri sub-centre possesses oldest academic infrastructure comprising of M.Sc laboratories and some common research facilities include facilities for conducting independent research besides the routine practical work that is done by the post-graduate students of organic chemistry and environmental sciences in addition, individual faculty members have developed their own niche areas of research, such as Organic Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Biodiversity, Environmental Impact Assessment, Ethno-botany, Groundwater Analysis and Rural Development, with the available infrastructure.24

Library : The Ratnagiri Sub Centre has modest reference collections (Reference Books, Scientific magazines and Journals, besides Films /Documentaries on global environmental issues): Reference Books – 4000; Journals – 46; DVDs – 250; News Paper -5.25

Accommodation: The Plan for establishment each for boys and girls has been approved and of the two Hostels (One construction work relating to the same would commence once necessary funds are made available by appropriate authorities.) The city of Ratnagiri as well as the villages adjoining the MIDC where the Ratnagiri sub-centre is situated (within the Mirjole Gram Panchayat zone) cater to the needs of outstation students (both boys and girls) who get a decent accommodation (as paying guests / independent flats) at much reasonable costs. 

Proposed Development Of Ratnagiri Sub-Centre : Phasing Incorporated in the development of proposal of Ratnagiri Campus is the strategy for phasing construction, which hence proposes three distinct phases. The construction is from administration as early as possible to minimise disturbance and covered corridors to have direct access to individual clusters in turn giving protection from heavy rainfall.

The building progress of the centre would move in relatively complete  increments since the court’s associated with each phase would be substantially finished in sequence annexed to move away. During Phase I, administrative block was constructed which is currently housing all the academic and administrative activities of sub-centre. The Phase Il is likely to be commenced as soon as appropriate allocation of funds is made.

Phase II : The Phase II would begin with academic cluster. One block – hostel phase, one block – Warden’s Quarters (One of the Warden’s Quarters shall function as guest house till the completion of final phase.)

Phase III (a) : The third Phase shall consist of academic cluster. One block – hostel phase, one block – library-cum-resource centre, director’s residence, theatre complex, guest houses. This phase shall also include development of outdoor areas like knowledge kund, parking and drop off areas – thus giving a finished touch to the academic and hostel clusters. 

Phase III (b) : This part of the third phase of construction would consist of theatre complex, and guest houses. On completion of both parts of Phase II, in turn after completion of construction phase of the sub-centre as a whole, the symbolic front door of the campus will be opened.26

2.5 – Case Study 4

Friendship Centre, Gaibandha (Bangladesh) :

Introduction :

The Friendship Centre is a training facility for a non-governmental organisation in the flatlands of rural, northern Bangladesh, near the Brahmaputra-Jamuna River. Friendship has done transformative work in the region and the people who are trained here live in the floodplains of the river, on land that floods almost annually, and on sandbars that are destroyed every time the river is in spate.

To build on this site with a conventional building, (earth- fill, foundations and raising the building by 2.4 metres, the level necessary to prevent flooding) would have required three-quarters of the budget. The architect, Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury, chose then to build directly on the low land and protect the entire site with an embankment which could be built and maintained for much less. In response to financial constraints, The architect articulates an architecture of the essential – the basic and fundamental are at the core of this design process and at the centre of the lives of the people the building serves. So within the extreme limitations of means there is a search for what he describes as the “luxury of light and shadows, of the economy and generosity of small spaces, and the joy of movement and discovery”.

Contextual Information :

(i) Brief historical background –

Bangladesh is geographically situated in the delta of the Ganges-Brahmaputra river system and though there are hilly topographies within the territory, a majority of the country is in the deltaic basin. To understand the quantity of fresh water in this landscape, here are some astounding figures – one- fifth to one-third of the entire surface area of Bangladesh is covered in water during the monsoon (June – September), and often half of the country is underwater during floods. There are 58 rivers in this country. The relationship of land to water is continuously negotiated, both in nature and in man-made interventions, which is something that becomes very apparent when you are there, especially in the rural terrain.

The people of this region, in the flood plains of the mighty Brahmaputra-Jamuna River, are extremely poor as there isn’t much economic sustenance in the vicinity. They exist with the knowledge that with every monsoon the ravages of the river could destroy their lives, yet they stay only because the alluvial soil is rich with fresh silt deposits. They live on chars (sandbars or riverine islands), too poor to have access to a boat, and isolated from the world except when the river is shallow enough that they can wade across. The NGO Friendship has worked with them since its inception, initially to give them healthcare, with the help of a floating hospital.

Friendship was founded in 2002 by Runa Khan, who is the Executive Director of this NGO. Recognising that the broader goal of enabling these communities to improve their living conditions and gain control over their lives requires more than healthcare support alone, Friendship has progressively built its distinctive integrated community-development model, which includes: health; nutrition; education; disaster management; infrastructure development; good governance; and sustainab
le economic development.

There are two of their sites, one on a char, where all structures could be dismantled – traditionally made of bamboo and thatch, but now also of corrugated galvanised-iron sheets. Friendship had provided them boats, started a school, and with funding had helped them raise cattle and goats. In the fields they grew corn. The organisation had started a small centre with looms, and was teaching the women (apparently unusual in this community) to weave. The health centre was a small examination room and a group of women sat in a circle outside, participating in a session on personal hygiene. The young woman leading the group was trained by Friendship at the Centre. It was later learnt that the char will have to be evacuated before this coming monsoon as it had shown signs of cracking, and will be destroyed by the river.

The second site was the floating hospital, a converted riverboat with operating theatres, an ER, etc. There were post-operation facilities on the riverbank, again built with materials that are easily dismantled. The hospital was staffed by local people except for two doctors – a surgeon and anaesthetist, and two nurses who had come for two weeks from France. After two weeks, different doctors would come in, and the boat would move downstream to provide healthcare to another group of villages.

(ii) Local architectural character –

The local architecture is very simple – the temporary structures built of bamboo, thatch and galvanised-iron sheets. More permanent structures are built on raised mounds of earth, on the edge of low-lying paddy fields. These are homes in brick masonry, plastered and lime-washed. There were a few shops, some temporary, some permanent, lining at times both sides of the road. No other structures exist – the lack of government buildings or any other infrastructure was surprising.

Kashef Chowdhury says that some of the inspiration for the building came from the Buddhist monasteries in the area, and the exposed brickwork, stark character and quadrilateral layout are clearly the architectural influence.

The most prominent building material in Bangladesh, in fact in all of Bengal, is terracotta. Crafts are often in terracotta, as the clay in the delta is exceptional. Also, there is very little stone available in the region, and so all construction of low-rise structures is in brick, usually load-bearing, or reinforced-concrete frame with brick. There are thousands of brick kilns dotted across the country, as this is a large part of the informal economy.

(iii) Climatic conditions –

Situated just north of the Tropic of Cancer, Gaibandha is hot and humid for most of the year, with the average temperature around 25.2°C. The temperatures are highest in August, at 28.6°C, and lowest in January, with an average temperature of 18.2°C, which gives the average temperatures a variance of 10.4°C annually. The monsoon is long – again almost five months of the year, from May/June through September, with average annual rainfall around 208 cm.

(iv) Site and surroundings –

The site, like its surroundings, was a paddy field. It is slightly lower than the road, and is part of a landscape that continues in all directions – lush green, studded with small sheds and low-cost structures.

(v) Topography –

The land is flat, with small ponds, trenches and culverts to drain or hold the large amounts of water in the clayey soil.

Programme :

History of the inception of the project –

Friendship realised that they needed a Training Centre to train their staff. Initially their work was in the same geographic region, but as they expanded they needed to provide accommodation for the trainees for the duration of the workshops.

(ii) How were the architects and specialists chosen?

The architect had worked with Friendship on a few earlier projects – mainly soil engineering and designing bunds around villages on chars, to prevent soil erosion. They had worked together on the design and implementation, and found that to get the additional soil for the bund they needed to make a small pond. This was given to the villagers to set up hatcheries for fish farming.

Friendship went back to the architect when they decided to build a Training Centre, and he in turn put together a team of consultants.

(iii) General Program Objectives :

The client, Friendship, is an NGO that works with those people who live in the remote char’, or sandbars/ islands in the river. They had an idea for a Training Centre for classes or meetings, or as a facility they could rent out as an income generator. Architect Kashef Chowdhury says, “We wanted to take this idea further and truly create a centre, around which the activities of this wonderful organisation would revolve, but that could also serve as a place which brings people together. In this way the architecture needed to be simple and bare: a response to the economy of the region, and with a quality of calmness and serenity that echoes the nature of its riverine landscape setting.”

The programme initially was very sketchy and they had no written statement, but the architect had previously done preliminary designs for another training centre so with Runa Khan, the Executive Director, they developed the preliminary brief. And then, after a number of discussions, they finalised the programme that was adhered to and got built.

Friendship at that time was a much smaller organisation, and Khan received feedback on the future needs from her field operations – from people like Md. Rifiquzzaman Pollob. He pointed out certain additional needs, such as classrooms that could have the option to be combined to become one, the dining hall that could have two spaces for times when two sets of training or conferences were going on, and two “flats” for longer-term researchers or trainers with families, etc.

It was the architect’s idea to have the training pavilions, and other such pavilions – for reception, dining, etc. as this helped organise the space and allow for cross-ventilation. The architect says that Khan was very open to new ideas for the programme and listened to his suggestions, but would get field operations to corroborate them.

Therefore, it was a process of interaction and feedback to advance the programme, which took more than six months to develop and fine tune.

Description :

Building data –

This is what was built, after considering requirements, site and funding:

01. Training Facilities :

1 – Reception : 71.5 m2

2 – Offices : 31.8 m2

1 – Library : 14.3 m2

5 – Training Rooms : 328.4 m2

5 – Training Pavilions : 38.1 m2

2 – Breakout Pavilions : 43.9 m2

1 – Mosque : 32.7 m2

1 – Tea Shop : 6.1 m2

3 – Toilets : 23.4 m2

02. Accommodation Facilities :

12 – Rooms (Men) : 158.5 m2

7 – Rooms (Women) : 101.1 m2

2 – Apartments : 74.8 m2

3 – Staff Quarters : 48.3 m2

1 – Dinning : 136.8 m2

1 – Kitchen & Pantry : 22.8 m2

1 – Housekeeping Services + Store : 22.8 m2


Total Area = 1,155.3 m2

ulation, Courtyards, etc. 1,886.4 m2

Water Treatment plant 11.8 m2

Generator and Guard Room 19.8 m2


TOTAL BUILT AREA = 3,053.3 m2

(ii) Evolution of design concepts –

Response to Physical Constraints :

The low-lying land was the most challenging physical constraint as it meant raising the structure by 2.4 metres, which was not possible within the budget. The solution was building an earthen bund around the plinth and then descending in to building via two entrance stairs at opposite ends.

This set up a vocabulary of a walled town – of the peripheral bund, with the spaces looking inward and organised around a series of courtyards.

Response to User Requirements :

The architect had to find a design solution to build within the budgetary constraints. It meant stretching the budget to the maximum, building in flexibility to design for future growth, and structuring the programme accordingly.

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