Shashi Prabhu & Associates (SPA) is a 50-year-old multidisciplinary firm based in Mumbai. They work on large-scale proposals ranging from sports stadiums, residential complexes, hospitality, healthcare, education, and cultural-based projects. They are driven by their passion for innovation in construction and technology. One such project is Symbiosis University Auditorium in Indore.

Symbiosis University Auditorium, Pune by Shashi Prabhu: Inspired from Flower - Sheet1
Symbiosis University Auditorium
Symbiosis University Auditorium, Pune by Shashi Prabhu: Inspired from Flower - Sheet2
Site plan of Symbiosis campus

Context and Surroundings 

Symbiosis University of Applied Sciences (SUAS) held a competition for the design of the auditorium. The project was hence commissioned to SPA after their proposal won the competition. The auditorium is located on barren land on the far north-east of the campus. The auditorium has a direct visual connection from, along the upcoming Super Corridor region of Indore. Moreover, it is surrounded by lush landscaping that livens up the place. 

Symbiosis University Auditorium, Pune by Shashi Prabhu: Inspired from Flower - Sheet3
Roof to floor junction
Symbiosis University Auditorium, Pune by Shashi Prabhu: Inspired from Flower - Sheet4
Palash flower

Project brief and Conceptualization 

“We have meticulously strived to make the design a visual wonder while being a functional delight. We hope that this structure will certainly create a unique identity in Indore and a design statement for this institution.” – Atul Prabhu 

One of the main purposes of this project was to create an iconic building within the cityscape of Indore which is made difficult given the restricting programmatic requirement of the auditorium. An auditorium by its function is a dark, introverted space that does not require external sources of light. However, in lieu of creating an enclosed box, the form of the building is a series of parametric roofs which are derived from the local flower of Indore: Palash. 

The bold orange color and the structure of the roof folding onto the floor acts as the petals of the flower. This shape is strategically designed to enclose the auditorium within it and accommodate all the functional requirements of stage lighting, acoustics, air conditioning, and the tall prop backdrop curtain. (Shashi Prabhu and Works, 2021)

The auditorium is also intended to be used by the local business to host public events, and hence, it had to be designed to accommodate audio and video playback. 

Structural Design of Roof

Symbiosis University Auditorium, Pune by Shashi Prabhu: Inspired from Flower - Sheet5
N-trusses of the auditorium 

The roof is the feature that makes this building so iconic and also structurally challenging. The concept of a roof turning into a facade is widely used among many public buildings, especially airports. However, it is applied for a project of this scale, and for an auditorium is what makes it a notable affair.(Sarim, 2021)

The building spanned from about 70 to 80 meters, and the curvature in the form adds to the complexity of it. The elevation is roughly a semi-circle which makes it a more stable form with respect to the transfer of loads as compared to an arbitrary curve. (Sarim, 2021)

Symbiosis University Auditorium, Pune by Shashi Prabhu: Inspired from Flower - Sheet6
Cladding of trusses
Symbiosis University Auditorium, Pune by Shashi Prabhu: Inspired from Flower - Sheet7
Construction of trusses_Jindal

SPA collaborated with KPM Construction Ltd. to resolve the building’s structural conditions. The initial proposal was to use 1M depth N trusses of steel box sections. However, during construction, there was a difficulty to bend such deep trusses into the desired shape, and hence, built-up plated sections[1] were used to achieve the intended curvature. 

The in-situ built-up truss was assembled and connected by cover plates that were punctured at intervals to provide access holes. The roof was fabricated in 7-layered insulating standing seam metal[2] for thermal and aural insulation required for the air-conditioned auditorium without the need for a false ceiling. These petals that are created are then cladded in double glazed units to provide thermal and acoustic insulation on the facade. (Symbiosis College of Applied Science, 2021)

  1. Cover-plated rolled beams are used when the required bending capacity is not available in a rolled standard beam or when depth limitations preclude the use of a deeper rolled beam or plate girder. It is ordered to multiple widths for flame cutting or stripping to the required width.
  2. Standing seam metal is defined as a concealed fastener metal panel system that features vertical legs and a broad, flat area between the two legs. It’s also described as having raised seams, or vertical legs, that rise above the level of the panel’s flat area. In this, the fastener is hidden, whether the panel is attached to the roof using a clip or is directly fastened to the decking material. 

Material and Details 

Symbiosis University Auditorium, Pune by Shashi Prabhu: Inspired from Flower - Sheet8
Interior view of auditorium

The roofing is spread across 30,000 sq. ft. area. KingZip Linea aluminium is used to attain the flexibility of the complex roof since it is lightweight and strong. The panel extends from the roof to part of the wall. While the material can be used to easily achieve the geometry, the end junctions of the sheet profile need to be designed and resolved. The architects were involved throughout the process and hence, were able to overcome the challenges early on through BIM modeling. 

The need for multiple shafts for PHE (water supply) and HVAC (air-conditioning) services was avoided by splitting the centralized AHU (air handling units) with one half placed in the individual lobby and the other half at the stage level. This helped reduce the shaft sizes for a clean geometry in the auditorium. (Symbiosis | KPM Engineering, 2021)

References

Sarim, M., 2021. Exposed Insulated Standing Seam Roof. [online] Mgsarchitecture.in. Available at: <https://www.mgsarchitecture.in/architecture-design/projects/1856-more-than-just-a-kitchen.html> [Accessed 9 March 2021].

Jindal. 2021. Symbiosis College of Applied Science. [online] Available at: <https://www.kingspanjindal.com/en-in/case-studies/symbiosis-college-of-applied-science> [Accessed 9 March 2021].

Kpm-engineering.com. 2021. Symbiosis | KPM Engineering. [online] Available at: <https://kpm-engineering.com/views/projects/Symbiosis.html> [Accessed 9 March 2021].

Shashiprabhu.com. 2021. Shashi Prabhu and Works. [online] Available at: <http://www.shashiprabhu.com/about.html> [Accessed 9 March 2021].

Image Citations 

Image 1: Symbiosis University Auditorium: Sciecnes, S., 2021. Infrastructure: Best Infrastructure and Facilities – SUAS Indore. [online] Symbiosis University of Applied Sciences, Indore. Available at: <http://www.suas.ac.in/about-symbiosis-indore/infrastructure/> [Accessed 10 March 2021].

Image 2: Site Plan of Symbiosis University: Sciecnes, S., 2021. Contact Us: Best University of Applied Sciences in Indore, India | SUAS Indore. [online] Symbiosis University of Applied Sciences, Indore. Available at: <http://www.suas.ac.in/about-symbiosis-indore/contact-us/> [Accessed 10 March 2021].

Image 3: Shashiprabhu.com. 2021. Shashi Prabhu Works. [online] Available at: <http://www.shashiprabhu.com/work.html> [Accessed 10 March 2021].

Image 4: Palash flower: indiamart.com. 2021. Palash Teshu Flower Butea Monosperma. [online] Available at: <https://www.indiamart.com/proddetail/palash-teshu-flower-butea-monosperma-11807196962.html> [Accessed 10 March 2021].

Image 5: N-trusses of auditorium: Jindal. 2021. Symbiosis College of Applied Science. [online] Available at: <https://www.kingspanjindal.com/en-in/case-studies/symbiosis-college-of-applied-science> [Accessed 10 March 2021].

Image 6: Cladding of trusses: Facebook.com. 2021. 更新浏览器 | Facebook. [online] Available at: <https://www.facebook.com/unsupportedbrowser?locale2=zh_CN&_rdr> [Accessed 10 March 2021].

Image 7: Construction of trusses: Jindal. 2021. Symbiosis College of Applied Science. [online] Available at: <https://www.kingspanjindal.com/en-in/case-studies/symbiosis-college-of-applied-science> [Accessed 10 March 2021].

Image 8: Interior view of auditorium: Shashiprabhu.com. 2021. Shashi Prabhu Works. [online] Available at: <http://www.shashiprabhu.com/work.html> [Accessed 10 March 2021].

Author

A fourth year architecture student from CEPT University, Nechal uses the literary world as a medium, to delve into every nook and cranny of architecture.

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