A well-designed space leads to a better experience and well-being of the resident. Today, when the maximum time of our day is spent in our study or work area, it is paramount to acknowledge and consider the user and their expectations. An organised and sound planning of an institute portrays the morals and foundation that the institute believes in. The institutional design caters to a large group of users, from students to faculties to staff of the campus; the spaces are inculcated and bifurcated accordingly. Apart from this, guidelines and policies must be followed to make the design functional, approachable, and inclusive to a larger group of users. For this and many other reasons, a good study and research for an appropriate institution design go a long way. Thus, we will look at some of India’s finest and most praised examples of institutional design to know what makes them differ from the rest.  

Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru | Institutional Design

The campus of IIM-B is spread across a 100-acre site with a built-up area of 54,000 sq. m. Designed by the esteemed architect Balkrishna Doshi; the overall planning takes an orthogonal shape with spaces connected through pathways, gardens, and areas inviting informal acquaintance. There are spaces to interact with the lush landscape that shares spaces with the built mass. Common areas and corridors overlook the varying scale and form of the walkway, inviting light, breeze, and nature in. The material palette consists of hard-chipped granite and concrete. It doesn’t overwhelm the environment; it has a subtle, silent, and peaceful approach that lets the lush green of the landscape come outward and define the place. (Doshi, 2019)

10 Finest Examples of Institutional Design in India - Sheet1
IIM Bengaluru_© Hidden Architecture

Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad

CEPT was the first architecture in the city, which has now emerged as one of the country’s best architecture schools. Designed and established by B.V Doshi, he believed that students who are surrounded by a creative and peaceful environment would only be sensitive to emotional, spiritual, cultural, and aesthetic dimensions. The sentence seems to be reflecting the campus, with the built mass and open spaces harmoniously co-existing. There are corners filled with artworks and sculptures. The material palette consists of brick and concrete, emphasising slabs and beams. The studios are located on the first floor and Open on both sides, bringing in plenty of light and air. These openings also become a means of lazing around or working while being a part of the studio. Sitting areas and lawns are scattered across the campus under the Neem trees for students and faculties to work and socialise. The roof has skylights, enabling natural filtered light to penetrate the studios throughout the day. There is a flow of learning in this Institute. It’s not restricted to four floors. (Kumar, 2018)

10 Finest Examples of Institutional Design in India - Sheet2
Studio Space at CEPT_©CEPT

Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad | Institutional Design

 IIM-A was designed by a revolutionary architect namedLouis Kahn in 1974. The ideation behind creating this institute was to provide a more advanced style of teaching that allowed students to engage and participate rather than going through a series of lectures throughout the day. Khan wanted to deliver a plan which agreed to vernacular Indian architecture. Khan’s vision and the critical view did not see the educational space as singularly focused on classrooms. Thus, the plaza and hallways of the institute also became a space to contribute to learning. The diagonal layout of the plan oriented towards the southwest allows for the creation of ventilation and cuts the sun’s harshness. Made out of brick and concrete, the facade patterns act as a natural cooling system protecting the interiors. The geometric shape of the facade filters sunlight and makes room for ventilation, allowing students to gather. (Kroll, 2010)

10 Finest Examples of Institutional Design in India - Sheet5
The Kahn Plaza_©IIM-A

School of Dancing Arches, Bhadran 

Sameera Rathore, designs the school of dancing in Bhadran, Gujarat. The building consists of a series of modules connected through a long corridor. The school grows organically and merges with the background.  The shapes of the artist are imitations of children’s Doodles. The site’s Northside sits with classrooms with the same structure. The South side has an office and a temple. All the modules are made of wasted steel and can be arranged in any pattern desired. The roof of the classrooms is arched with angled roof beams and jack arches with some openings to let the light in. The corridor is a double-height space with an uneven vaulted roof. The shadows of the irregular arches, the vaults, and the tangerine colour add sound value to the place and makes you meander. To tie the project, the entire built-up mass is made of terracotta for bricks, roof tiles, flooring, and other finishes. The materials were locally sourced, and the project is a labour of love for the town and its people. (Astbury & Gupta, 2019)

10 Finest Examples of Institutional Design in India - Sheet6
The School of Dancing Arches_©Nivedita Gupta

The Forest Research Institute, Dehradun | Institutional Design

This is a service training institute of the Indian Council of Forestry research and education. It is located in Uttarakhand and is one of the oldest institutions in the country. Built over 450 hectares, the institute was designed by C.G. Blomfield and is now a national heritage site. With a plinth area of 2.5 hectares, the building is constructed with a mixture of Greco-Roman and colonial-style architecture. The building was built purely out of brick and was also selected for the Guinness Book of World Records at that time. The institute is fully equipped with laboratories, classrooms, an arboretum, a herbarium, a printing press, and areas to conduct forestry research, along with a botanical garden. (Blomfield, n.d.)

10 Finest Examples of Institutional Design in India - Sheet3
Forest Research Institute_©Uttrakhand Photos

National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad

This design institution was established in Ahmedabad, where the main campus is located and the extensions are in Gandhinagar and Bengaluru. Regarded as one of the forefront design institutes in Asia, it was founded in 1961. Thus, the design and planning of the institute were greatly influenced by the modernist style of post-independent India. The institute was founded by the Sarabhai siblings, Gira and Gautam. The Sarabhai family shaped Ahmedabad’s design, mercantile, and science veins during its development with settlements like ISRO, NID, and Mill Owner’s Association. The conception of the building was aimed at being un-monumental, anonymous, and unpretentious, with a pleasant and workable environment. 

There were many architects, designers, and engineers consulted by the Sarabhais for the structure, and the design was supposed to blend in seamlessly. The built mass is standing on stilts. The ground floor consists of common rooms and public areas such as a canteen and storage room for raw materials. Laboratories and workshops occupy the first floor. Workshops for different course work like metal, glass, ceramics, plastics, wood, and photography are divided into different wings. Studios, seminar rooms, and the library are located on the second floor. The studios are modular and transparent, with double glazing between them and the workshops, which enables the student to take in the surroundings without getting disturbed by the machinery. The design inspiration of the building resonates with Bauhaus aesthetics and modern sensibility. (National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, n.d.)

10 Finest Examples of Institutional Design in India - Sheet4
A covered courtyard and studio from an open courtyard in NID_© NID

Triburg Headquarters, Delhi

This office, plus the academic building, takes inspiration from Adalaj’s step-well and terraces of the hanging gardens of Babylon. The shape of the building makes space for four big courtyards arranged adjacent to each other. The structure is reinforced cement concrete with mushroom columns supporting large-span spaces inside. The arched facade overlooks the landscape beyond. The project is considerate of the harsh climate of Delhi and has used methods to protect the building from the same. Natural clay bricks are used in walls, vaulted ceilings, and paving. The last floor has skylights to let in as much natural light as possible. The facades receiving harsh sunlight are covered in terracotta louvres to filter it. The project is an ode to craftsmanship and a good working environment, discarding the usual appearance of a corporate building. (Triburg Headquarters / S.P.A Design, 2014)

10 Finest Examples of Institutional Design in India - Sheet7
The stacking of the headquarters_© Amit Pasricha

Rane Vidyalaya, Theerampalayam | Institutional Design

Located in a rural village, this school is the first proper educational facility in the village. The project was completed in two phases. The first phase was completed with 50,000 sq. ft built up. The intent was to have a positive social impact on the local community. The construction technology adopted was from a regional context. The construction methodology followed included layering the walls starting from brickwork, mud, and slate on top. Red wire cut brick and grey fly ash brick were sourced from local kilns and industrial waste. The overall design approach was to avoid sharp edges and devise ways to create a good microclimate. The use of terracotta jali facilitates light and ventilation in the classrooms. The courtyard has a punctured ceiling for the same purpose. All the walls stop at lintel height and have operable windows above them to control cross ventilation. The school follows a functional and wholesome solution from materials to construction technology. (Triburg Headquarters / S.P.A Design, 2014)

Rane Vidyalaya_© LINK studio
Rane Vidyalaya_© LINK studio

Woxsen University, Hyderabad

Designed by Designhaus solutions, the concept behind the university was to provide spaces for gathering and social interactions and bring a sense of understanding and curiosity. The library was one of the spaces that the design firm worked on extensively.  It is spread across 50,000 sq. ft with the latest amenities, technology, and interiors. The overall structure of the campus is exemplary and to showcase the volume, the spaces were cladded with glass, steel, and concrete. The spaces creating double height are to create an illusion of every space being on one level. Construction techniques allowed more light and ventilation inside the building and strengthened the project’s role in sustainability. 80% of the facade is double-glazed to allow penetration of sunlight. This reduced energy consumption. North light clerestories installed provided ways to reduce temperature. An open plan concept is followed to increase flexibility in terms of functionality and reduces construction cost. (Abdel, 2022)

The entrance to the University_© Ricken Desai
The entrance to the University_© Ricken Desai

The School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada | Institutional Design

The institutional design building is a platform for debate, exchange, and dissemination and becomes a deep gateway and an interface to the entire campus. The Institute draws on the austere ideologies of Brutalism as a form of expression in response to the extreme climate and positions it contextually in Vijayawada. The design focuses on the diversity of individuals and the vastness of a community. It creates interdependent programs that offer many interactive spaces that would benefit a community experience. The large volume is punctured by voids, creating a rhythmic play of light and shadows which allows the building to respire; thus yielding spatial patterns that perform as a scaling device. 

The Planning and Architecture school_© Edmund Sumner
The Planning and Architecture school_© Edmund Sumner


Abdel, H. (2022, February 6). Woxsen University / Designhaaus Solutions. ArchDaily. Retrieved February 19, 2023, from https://www.archdaily.com/976244/woxsen-university-designhaaus-solutions

Astbury, J., & Gupta, N. (2019, August 16). Terracotta School of Dancing Arches by Samira Rathod Design Associates. Dezeen. Retrieved February 19, 2023, from https://www.dezeen.com/2019/08/16/school-of-dancing-arches-samira-rathod-india-architecture/

Blomfield, C. (n.d.). Forest Research Institute (India). Wikipedia. Retrieved February 19, 2023, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_Research_Institute_(India)

Doshi, B. (2019, November 14). MODERN HERITAGE: IIM, Bangalore. MATTER. Retrieved February 19, 2023, from https://thinkmatter.in/2019/11/14/indian-institute-of-management-in-bangalore-balkrishna-doshi-vastu-shilpa-consultants/

Kroll, A. (2010, October 25). AD Classics: Indian Institute of Management / Louis Kahn. ArchDaily. Retrieved February 19, 2023, from https://www.archdaily.com/83697/ad-classics-indian-institute-of-management-louis-kahn

Kumar, V. (2018, December 19). The Changing Facades Of CEPT University, Ahmedabad. World Architecture Community. Retrieved February 19, 2023, from https://worldarchitecture.org/article-links/epfmn/the_changing_facades_of_cept_university_ahmedabad.html

National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved February 19, 2023, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Institute_of_Design,_Ahmedabad

Triburg Headquarters / S.P.A Design. (2014, December 11). ArchDaily. Retrieved February 19, 2023, from https://www.archdaily.com/576334/triburg-headquarters-s-p-a-design


Nishal is a budding architect, exploring and persisting every interest she has acquainted with. She has embraced the profession of architecture as more of a way of life, as how she explores places and meets people. Nishal has a knack for music, photography, and feel-good movies, she hopes to find the sweet balance between her hobbies and her interest which is now her profession.