“Evolving a dialogue of spaces that transcend the ordinary in the way they are perceived while resolving the functional aspects in a more conducive way than ways explored earlier and simultaneously forming volumes sculpturally is innovation in the architectural sense.” Ar. Sanjay Puri

The firm Sanjay Puri Architects was established in 1992 by Sanjay Puri. The practice comprises 72 potential employees who conduct this robust design practice. As a firm, they excel in multi-design platforms like hospitality, commercial, retail, educational, and entertainment facilities as well as large urban projects including town planning. Their works offer an experiential upfront to designed spaces with a seamless blend of environmental sustainability. Their works are highly contextual apart from being an immense innovative solution for client requirements.

Ar. Sanjay Puri keenly believes that “Architecture is the only art form that affects human behavior both physically & emotionally in several ways. Hence, special care has to be taken while designing a project which can vary as per clients, functions, locations, contexts, end-users, and so on.” 

Architecture has never been a static field of career. Opiating on the same, Ar. Sanjay Puri comments, “There is no field as stimulating and diverse as architecture. The ways spaces are being perceived and used are constantly evolving and architecture and design are incorporating these changes of perception based on demand as well as exploring new possibilities of space dynamics. Each location is different even within the same city and design needs to be contextual to the site’s specific location, its surroundings, and its relation to the sun and wind direction.”  Thus, he strongly suggests that we must not run with the ongoing trends but aim at creating meaningful, contextual, and responsive products and set a benchmark.

HCC Cafeteria by Sanjay Puri Architects: Coinciding with the surroundings - Sheet1
Elevation of the Cafeteria ©ebuild.in/gallery/hcc?id=3189

One such small-scale, yet extremely significant project is the HCC Cafeteria. This is a recreational architectural project located in Vikhroli, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. The structure was designed as two separate structures. Both the structures had a curvilinear geometry and were united as a whole. Large volumes achieved by the form added to the overall spatial ambiance. Glass used on the opposite walls of the structure allows natural daylight preventing it from using any artificial light. Thus, making the structure sustainable and energy-efficient. 

HCC Cafeteria by Sanjay Puri Architects: Coinciding with the surroundings - Sheet2
Inside & Outside connection©ebuild.in/gallery/hcc?id=3189

The construction of the structure is executed on a plot surrounded by trees and natural vegetation. The planning of the facility was done without hindering the natural outgrowth. This showcases the environmental sensitivity of the architect. The rustic finish of the structure doesn’t let the structure become an eyesore amongst the serenity offered by nature. 

The materials used have been chosen very wisely. The built form encompasses minimal usage of opaque material and a great percentage of transparency is offered by the glazing windows. This was done intentionally so the user remained connected to external beauty even when he was sitting inside. 

The reduced bulkiness of the structure lets it sit peacefully in the given site conditions. This material palette keeps the design light and permits the spatial experience to merge with the surroundings. When the visitors are seated in the closed space, high degrees of glassiness give exposure to nature creating a feeling of sitting in an open veranda.  

HCC Cafeteria by Sanjay Puri Architects: Coinciding with the surroundings - Sheet3
Massive volumes in the woods ©ebuild.in/gallery/hcc?id=3189
HCC Cafeteria by Sanjay Puri Architects: Coinciding with the surroundings - Sheet4
Night view into the woods ©ebuild.in/gallery/hcc?id=3189

Jet black mullions used on the glazing windows, adds to the modernistic design language of the structure. As the daylight subdues and artificial lighting takes over, the structure becomes even more aesthetically appealing to the viewers. Amongst the dense tree growth, this lively and lit place is the main selling point for the users. The small scale of this designed function withholds minute details which makes the structure one of a kind. Ar. Sanjay Puri has followed their design philosophy to the mark and a recreational function like a cafeteria has been innovatively redefined.

Respecting the natural beauty of the site, the team had no intention of overpowering them. The structure designed by them could have reached soaring heights, however, the architects took the approach of horizontal designing rather than achieving vertical heights. The horizontality of the cafeteria blends beautifully with the landscape around. There is sufficient roof projection over all the glazing windows that give adequate weather protection. Adhering to the designed views, the structure is not an outstanding one when viewed from a far-off distance. Its beauty is unveiled as the user approaches it closely. 

The aim of enhancing the spatial experience is vividly achieved in this design project. Ar. Sanjay Puri steadily believes that every project is different. Each project teaches the designer something new and helps us to develop an insight into how space is perceived. This project is an excellent example of this healthy design practice and an eye-opener for all the amateurs of the field. Apart from the HCC Cafeteria, the firm has a diverse portfolio. All the projects done by them are an excellent learning platform and must be read upon by all the freshmen.

Priyanshi Hiran
Author

Priyanshi Hiran is a perfectionist who has a confident and persuasive personality. She is an Architecture student currently in 4th Year of B.Arch. Time Management is the key to her work routine that helps her to achieve a balanced lifestyle.

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