There are a few firms that work and excel in multidisciplinary fields. Serie Architects, an international firm concentrating on architecture, urban design, research, and landscape, is one of them. This renowned firm established in 2008 was endowed by Kapil Gupta from Mumbai and Christopher Lee in London. While this firm needs no introduction because its work speaks for itself, let us get to know this firm better. 

Serie Architects have a simple, effective strategy for their design. This firm puts rigorous emphasis on the use of geometry, minimalism, resourceful use of materials, effective construction techniques and human comfort in their designing and construction stage.

They have set high standards for other firms and offices by their work in various sectors.

Image Sources: Image 1 _ View of satsang hall. _©www.serie.co.ukprojects847shrimand-rajchandra-ashram-satsang-hall

While all the projects are worthy, we shall discuss the Shrimad Rajchandra Ashram Satsang Hall which is a part of the whole Shrimad Rajchandra Mission and is set to complete in 2021.

About Shrimad Rajchandra Ashram Satsang Hall

This serene ashram is nested in the town of Dharampur, Gujarat which is the international headquarters of Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur. The beautiful ashram is spread over the expanse of 223 acres with numerous facilities and is of spiritual importance for the devotees. Within this lush expanse, is the proposal of Satsang Hall by Serie architects. It acts as the focal point to the whole site and enhances the whole site with it. The Satsang Hall is proposed to have an auditorium which would hold around 5000 seats.The form, concept and idea of the hall add a sense of spiritual calmness to the whole site. The drama of the design grabs everyone’s eye.

Image Sources: Image 2 _ Lobby in the satsand hall.  _ ©www.serie.co.ukprojects847shrimand-rajchandra-ashram-satsang-hall

Image Sources: Image 3 _ Ariel view of site _ ©www.serie.co.ukprojects847shrimand-rajchandra-ashram-satsang-hall

Image Sources: Image 4 _ Progress in construction _ ©www.serie.co.ukprojects847shrimand-rajchandra-ashram-satsang-hall

Concept 

The concept was to create a space for the devotees where they feel connected to their inner self, experience peace, serenity and can concentrate on their well being. It can be seen in the pictures how the plan blooms like a flower showing growth in the character. The architects describe the concept to be adapted from the religious ideologies of Jainism. The inspiration for the structure was the concept of samavasaran. It is a building that represents the vast expanse of knowledge which brings you closer to your inner self. They also have shikhara – seen in most Indian temples – a pyramid type structure at the heart of the temple towering to the sky. Because of the concept chosen and the method of designing, the structure creates a very welcoming ambience.

Image Sources: Image 5 _  Meditation Hall. ©www.serie.co.ukprojects847shrimand-rajchandra-ashram-satsang-hall

Design

The main thought while designing was to create an environmentally conscious structure that could be accessible to all. The design also concentrated on following the beliefs of traditional temple architecture in India. The surrounding context and views surrounding the hill were given prime importance. The auditorium will be the major landmark on the site which would hold around 10,000 devotees on the site. One major feature of the building is the way it overlooks a valley and provides an alluring view.

Image Sources: Image 6 _ Auditorium _ ©www.serie.co.ukprojects847shrimand-rajchandra-ashram-satsang-hall

The structure is an interlocked building with 13 rooms at an angle of 45 degrees. The walls are curved, thin and perforated for ventilation and also create great shadows with the movement of the sun. The auditorium has a drum of 56m diameter at the top. The drum towers till 4 storeys. This makes the orientation and wayfinding intuitive. The arched wall helps to balance the weight of the structure and shift it to the central drum. The arches are clad with timber for acoustic purposes. To promote the traditional Indian way of sitting, there is no fixed furniture for seating. 

Image Sources: Image 7 _ Ground floor plan _ ©www.serie.co.ukprojects847shrimand-rajchandra-ashram-satsang-hall

The floor above the auditorium has multiple spaces  – museum, library, classroom and viewing gallery. The main foyer is approachable from all sides. The entrance foyer has dedicated space for the people to deposit their footwear safely. Other spaces include a library, classroom, exhibition spaces, multipurpose halls – all on the floor above. 

Image Sources: Image 8 _ Progress in design 1_©www.lera.comsatsang-hall           

Image Sources: Image 9 _ Progress in design 2 _©www.lera.comsatsang-hall         

Image Sources: Image 10 _ Progress in design 3 _ ©www.lera.comsatsang-hall       

Image Sources: Image 11_ Progress in design 4 _©www.lera.comsatsang-hall

Materials –

The choice of materials was such that it followed the context of the site and gave a sense of calmness and minimalism rather than being loud. The thought while importing the materials was to be as environmentally conscious as possible and to reduce the waste or use the wasted materials. Hand-cut marble bricks from Rajasthan were used for the facade to give the desired look. The marble strips are the waste of the famous mines in Rajasthan. The arches are clad with perforated timber panels for acoustic purposes. To support the long span, steel has been used.

Image Sources: Image 12 _ Materials on facade _©www.serie.co.ukprojects847shrimand-rajchandra-ashram-satsang-hall

Facade – 

The facade gives a very dramatic look to the whole site. The colour of materials, the scale and the form give an enigmatic feel to the whole area. The exterior is covered with 75mm marble of varying lengths. The materials are obtained from the mines of Rajasthan. This promotes environmental consciousness as the marble is the waste from the mine.

Image Sources: Image 13 _ Perforation on facade _©www.serie.co.ukprojects847shrimand-rajchandra-ashram-satsang-hall

Even though the project is still under construction, there is already a lot of buzz around it. From all the pictures that have come aboard, the project looks enticing just like any other Serie Architects’ projects. It will surely be an unusual experience for the users.

References

2020, Shrimand Rajchandra Ashram Satsang Hall. 

Available at – https://www.serie.co.uk/projects/847/shrimand-rajchandra-ashram-satsang-hall

Kat Branady ( Feb 2020 ), serie architects’ Satsang hall is an assemblage of perforated, curving white volumes.

Available at – https://www.designboom.com/architecture/serie-architects-satsang-hall-perforated-curving-white-volumes-02-05-2020/

Shrimad Rajchandra Ashram, Dharampur 

Available at – https://www.srmd.org/en-IN/ashram/shrimad-rajchandra-ashram-dharampur/

Available at – https://www.lera.com/satsang-hall

 

Author

A keen observer and nature enthusiast, Pranita is a final year architecture student. She believes architects need to be empathic and compassionate to acknowledge users’ obstacles and comfort. She relishes reading about urban design, art, aesthetics, spaces, people, countries, culture and craves to learn more. Barring this, she squanders her time overthinking and anticipating the worst aftermath.

Write A Comment