It is unlikely to speak of B. V Doshi, one of his finest inventions, without citing the Bangalore Indian Institute of Management. IIM encouraged him to flourish his own ideology and to develop an Indian based contemporary architecture. In designing a visually appealing building nonetheless meets all the design goals brilliantly, Doshi skillfully combines his own goals with those of the client. 

The IIM campus design manifests us as highly original, imaginative architects, fond of architecture as he is of life and Indian values. Bangalore is named the City of the Garden. The management required B.V Doshi to build a campus that replicated the town outside. Exactly that, and much more, did Doshi. Even inside the classrooms, one can literally see and experience nature. The designer wanted the IIM campus to be an educational hub that encourages safe, open discussions between students and faculty.

Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore by B.V Doshi: Reflection of the city - Sheet1
Nature, space and building ©Indian Institute of Management – Hidden Architecture

Philosophy 

Doshi imagined the IIM campus as a distinctive traditional Indian architecture that would effortlessly adapt to the local environment and circumstances. The idea was to represent the ethos, green and alive, of the town. The 54,000 sqm complex is situated on a 100-acre campus in the western hilly part of Bangalore City on Bannerghatta Road. By connecting a network of corridors, courtyards, and external spaces, the renowned architect modeled it on the medieval Mogul city of Fatehpur Sikri. 

What makes the complex so different and special is that the gardens were picked up and set in B.V Doshi’s courtyards. You do not find dry and rigid courtyards but rather green corridors that encourage intellectual exchange outside the classrooms. An unpredictable series of events that characterize the beautifully amorphous space inside the IIM Bangalore campus is created by integrating the constructed space and the landscape with life. 

As the relationship between humans and their built environment becomes increasingly deterministic, characterized by contemporary buildings’ cause-and-effect programming, the IIM Bangalore campus suggests an alternative view, one in which the built environment allows interruption of time’s linearity.

Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore by B.V Doshi: Reflection of the city - Sheet2
View of IIM, Bangalore ©Indian Institute of Management – Hidden Architecture

Functional Arrangements  

B.V Doshi’s IIMB campus occupies approximately 54,000 square meters on a 100-acre site. The overall spatial arrangement, constructed as a poly-nuclear plan, relies on a series of intersecting corridors that form the fundamental skeletal framework. Under this orthogonal plan, the functions are arranged with gardens, spaces for pauses, spaces for chance encounters, and informal nodes. 

Staircases connecting this corridor to lecture halls, conference rooms, and other ancillary spaces act as podium transitions to see the landscape visually as one walks. This system makes provisions for the free flow of light, wind, and vision throughout the scheme. The diagram’s asymmetry is an intentional generator and container of existence inside. IM’s architecture is immune to simple and precise pictures. 

The structure of the layout and the series of spaces that flank the corridors can be learned over time and by repetition, but the building prioritizes the experience of crossing through its in-between spaces by negating formal clarification. The spatial perception is intensified by the regular scale shifts and the occasional breaking of the corridor formation. The landscape’s ability to intersperse with the constructed form allows the building to create soft, loosely formed edges.

Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore by B.V Doshi: Reflection of the city - Sheet3
Solid mass and void spaces ©Indian Institute of Management – Hidden Architecture

Hierarchy of Spaces  

A series of spatial interactions relies on the unveiling of the IIM to an observer. Multiple threshold conditions are created by the overall movement sequence, from open campus to the semi-open corridors, the lush, and eventually to the more enclosed and protected areas. These specific positions in the plan make it possible for functional spaces to integrate and incorporate more effortlessly with the grand context, providing a series of seamless and convenient ties between movement spaces and workspaces. The plan leads to the creation of ambiguity and layering in the physical realm. 

While walking through the complex, one may note the diagonal’s focus as these layers are exposed. B.V Doshi successfully tried to build a free-flowing learning environment without divisions or IIM-B doors to restrict the students. The classrooms’ four walls also do not limit education, and even the width of the corridors is modulated to allow casual seating and healthy discussions. In rhythm and composition, the courtyards and corridors are lessons; they have the scent of Indian culture and tradition, demonstrating that life, art, and architecture can and must co-exist.

Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore by B.V Doshi: Reflection of the city - Sheet4
Connecting spaces vertically and horizontally ©Indian Institute of Management – Hidden Architecture

Material and Textures 

The two primary materials B. V Doshi chose for composing the structure hand-chipped granite and concrete. The buildings provide a silent, neutral palette for more animated objects such as trees and humans to inhabit, along with floors made of rough and polished Kota stone. 

IIM Bangalore is a tactile building. The internal spaces are in motion as the sun moves, and through the ever-changing light, finds a wonderful expression within the presence of time. The granite walls, now flanked by healthy plants, gently receive and release the sun as mist sweeps the corridors in the monsoon. The borders between within and outside are totally blurred and in the absence of the landscape, what would have been a harsh palette of materials is now a backdrop for the rich flora. In this act of gently balancing the opposites, the experience of meandering is caught within the campus.

B.V Doshi’s ingenuity enables him to manipulate light to his harmony and give the occupants and guests amazing moments. As the juxtaposition of walls and openings, daylight and shadows, and solids and voids continues to change the space’s presence and appearance during different times of the day and different seasons, you will never find a boring moment at the IIM complex. 

The central courtyard provides an out worldly, spiritual feeling. Alternatively, the central pergola as one experiences his own inner being. The high corridors never fail to surprise people. They are often kept open, sometimes partly covered with skylights and sometimes with only pergolas, offering a different spatial experience every time.

Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore by B.V Doshi: Reflection of the city - Sheet5
Interplay of light and shadow ©Indian Institute of Management – Hidden Architecture

Completed in 1983, just as B. V Doshi had expected, the greenery complemented the original stone architecture. He achieved it by providing many courtyards and corridors that link the entire scheme. Within these courtyards and corridors, he brings the gardens of the city of Bangalore! 

The campus of IIM Bangalore, planned by Doshi, Not only has remained a top educational institution of world stature, but it has also steadily become a revered destination and pilgrimage for architecture students and practitioners. The distinctive grey stone buildings complemented by lush green surroundings accurately reflect the ethos of Bangalore Community and the city as well.

Author

Tamrin Afroz is an architecture student who loves traveling, painting, journaling, and experimenting with new ideas. She aspires to uphold local culture, tradition, and craftsmanship within the community, to conserve tangible and intangible heritage. Apart from architecture, she is an activist working on social issues and promoting girls' leadership roles.

1 Comment

  1. Harsh Mistry Reply

    Hey! Tamrin that was a very helpful article to me, now I understood into detail about the design and concept of IIM Banglore and helping me to understand the way of creating spaces. Thanks 🙂

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