Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies is an institution located in Lonavala, Maharashtra, that provides pre-sea and post-sea maritime studies. The campus stands on a 33-acre plot between the Indrayani River and the Mumbai-Pune Highway and houses a fleet of over 60 ships.

Conceived by the Balaji Singh Teeka, Executive Ship, the project is designed by ccba designs and executed by Shapoorji Pallonji Construction Ltd. and Bakale Construction. Built between the year 2004-2007, this project truly sets a mark in the direction of ecologically conscious architecture.

Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies by Christopher Charles Benninger: Possibilities of sustainable energy - Sheet1
Site Plan_©A. Ramprasad Naidu

The campus accommodates an administration building, a hostel housing 500 students, an Amphitheatre, a building housing classroom, a maritime workshop, a science building, and recreational facilities that include an Olympic-sized swimming pool used for training mariners.

The holding pond has a ‘ship in the campus’ which is a real depiction of an 8-story and includes all the various components and spaces a ship has, that is the engine, desalination plant, sewerage treatment plant, generators, ventilating, and air conditioning plants, tanks, Firefighting and other related pumps and navigation deck.

The site is planned in such a way that the student’s residences become the main center of focus. This building is shaped in the form of a longship and is elevated on concrete pylons, connecting five houses with a canteen on one end and the Amphitheatre on the other. Each house has its separate entry stair, common areas, and double-seated rooms with attached toilets. 

The space under the structure turns into a recreational space during monsoon season. The circular central stairwell jutting out from the existing building also houses circular hot water tanks on top.

Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies by Christopher Charles Benninger: Possibilities of sustainable energy - Sheet2
Student Hostel_© CCBA Designs

The administrative building is located near the entrance. The orientation of the building allows it to exploit the ambient northern light through the wave-like façade on one side and at the same time generates 30 kilowatts of electricity through photovoltaic cell places on the south-facing façade.

Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies by Christopher Charles Benninger: Possibilities of sustainable energy - Sheet3
Administration_© A. Ramprasad Naidu

The academic building contains four large classrooms connected by a passageway. It has a linear, two-level atrium under a skylight. The atrium puts together all the structures into one single composition. The east, west, and northern walls of the building have aluminum louvers that provide ambient shade and ventilation to the interior spaces of the building.

Academic Block_© A. Ramprasad Naidu

The maritime workshop is a 90 meter long, sustainably driven building that has a photovoltaic wall on its south façade. This wall generates around 90 kilowatts of electricity. The wall has a matrix of transparent and opaque photovoltaic cells that allows natural light to filter into space. The floor space is enveloped by a light-weight steel structure and the north-facing wall rests on bow trusses that allow light to penetrate the space.

Workshop_© A. Ramprasad Naidu

The water management system is another unique and remarkable aspect of the building. It has rainwater collection channels and catchment canals built across the site to capture groundwater and rainwater. The collected water is stored in the two-acre pond on campus. The water-holding pond near the river supplies an adequate amount of water to the campus. The hostels also receive hot water which is heated by the solar panels placed on hostel roofs. A 28-meter central water tank provides potable and fire-fighting water across the entire campus. The campus also has two bio-sewerage treatment plants that feed greywater to gardens and water sinks. 80 percent of water utilized in the campus comes from recycling.  

This project has also received numerous awards that include Excellence in Architecture- Indian Institute of Architects Award 2008; Runners up for best steel structure in India- Institute of Steel Development & Growth (INSDAG) 2008-2009; J.K. Cement-Architect of the Year Awards, 2009; World Architecture Festival Award, Barcelona Spain in the category of education; ArchiDesign Architect of the Year Award 2009 and A Celebration of Architecture – The Inside Outside 2011

This project is an exemplary example of how a building could be made sustainable without compromising on the various needs of the users. In Michael Reynold’s words: “If every building was to consume its sewerage that’d be huge. Then if every building made its power, and heated and cooled itself, and caught its water rather than sucking water out of the aquifers – the ramifications of how people live in their units could unbelievably affect things. Ultimately it would affect the minds and hearts of people.” 

Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies holds up very well to the above quote.


Falvo, R., Akkisetti, R. and Benninger, C., n.d. Christopher Benninger.

ArchDaily. 2021. Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies / Christopher Charles Benninger Architects. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 31 March 2021]. 2021. CCBA Designs. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 31 March 2021].

Stubbs, P., 2021. Michael Reynolds quotes. [online] The Environment Show. Available at: <> [Accessed 31 March 2021].


Currently pursuing her Master's degree in Conservation, Ramiya is keen on becoming an Academician, a researcher, and a writer. She is always eager and excited to explore new ideas in the field of architecture, history, society, and culture.