Spaces for learning transcend their foremost purpose as places for educational discourse. The exchange of ideas and diversification of interactions are qualities inherent to all places dedicated to honing young minds, and the project in focus, IILM designed by Morphogenesis, echoes this philosophy.
Completed in 2013, this undertaking by Morphogenesis is an award-winning campus design. It is located in a populous suburb of Greater Noida and provides student boarding facilities for the existing educational institution, IILM, with an economical and sustainable design at its core.
Climate characterized by extreme conditions demands enhanced building performance and the creation of a conducive microclimate.The client’s desire to create a student housing in the most cost-effective way led the design team to reduce dependence on active features for thermal comfort, which is instead achieved by a high performance passive design.
The settlement of Shahjahanabad serves as a key inspiration for spatial organization and experience, with climate-responsive techniques like courtyards and perforated walls. A primary circulatory path is created as an axis, along which four blocks are organized, interspersed with open spaces at various levels. Utilising the terrain of the site, the building also plays with subterranean courts, a very prominent feature of Saracenic architecture’s cooling mechanisms.
The idea of a street is evolved into a building characterized by visual connectivity, giving a “third space” quality to the common spaces. Softened by expertly landscaped edges, the pathways themselves lend to intuitive navigation, creating place-making nodes that encourage interaction.
Form & Volumes
. A grid superimposed over each block, informed by the climatic factors, led to the formulation of two typologies, which are iterated to complement the climatic requirements, weaving an amalgam of light and shade over the open spaces. The building derives its form from a play of solids and voids, creating public realms that vary in their spatial experience. The built-to-open ratio of 33% for both types ensures visually balanced form and massing.
Block entrances are accentuated by a perforated facade and large scale, their orientation mindfully organised to engage users and develop a transitional space at the base of each block for a more intimate gathering space that the users can utilise.
Level differences enhance the experience of the building, with stepped terraces articulating the circulation in certain regions. The open spaces are self-shaded through a clever massing in response to the sun, serving as key pause points.
“The idea behind the layout is borrowed from the concept of a chawl wherein rooms occupy the external periphery, circulation takes place via corridors, and courtyards in the center become a space for extended living.” say the architects in the October 2017 issue of Home Review.
The complex includes four blocks. Organizing the private accommodation along the extremities of the block affords each occupant a view of the courts beyond, with circulatory corridors located centrally. Vertical circulation is punctuated by open spaces in the form of stepped terraces.
Located adjacent to the central path, the common areas throughout the complex are visually connected. This is a passive surveillance measure of “eyes on the street”, lending greater awareness of the common areas. Providing a court within each block adds greater usability, making it an enriching part of both daily and occasional events.
The building orientation is the foremost climatic-responsive feature, with the sun path and wind directions dictating the massing choices. Adequate light and channeled prevailing winds reduce dependence on external resources. The use of RCC and brick, the latter comprising a majority of the façade, is in response to the demand for economical design solutions. Besides the aesthetic appeal, the perforations afforded by bricks add to building performance acting as a passive cooling mechanism for incoming air.
Additionally, the jaali walls interconnect the various courts provided with water bodies, lending ventilation to the built spaces. The self-shading orientation reduces dependence on external shading devices, while deeply recessed windows and the façade treatment further limit heat gains by providing insulation.
All these contribute to the performance standards the building has achieved, which were demonstrated by the cooling within the structure, evaluated following its occupation.
The cooling achieved throughout the building is a testament to building performance standards achieved by the structure. ©https://www.morphogenesis.org
The subterranean courtyards with greenery complement the brick structure, with avenue trees and ornamental plants lining the pathways. The soft boundaries created by hedges along the block streamline the circulation, and serve as visual barriers providing privacy.
Shading provided by the trees extends the function of these open spaces for spill-out and place-making regions that create regions of social activity. This also reduces the requirement of additional built spaces for activities that are alternately conducted in the open, especially the different courts where annual functions and festivities occur amidst the greenery.
The IILM Campus was awarded the FuturArc Green Leadership Award for innovative ecologically responsive green architecture in Asia.
The project is an interesting example of building performance and indoor quality achieved in a highly economical fashion. The explorations in morphology and climate-responsive features yield a building enhanced through temporality, providing a forum for interaction and harmonious dwelling.