This project is a Research and Awareness Centre on Gangetic Blind Dolphins, they are India’s national Aquatic animal and also a major health indicator for the river ecosystem. The population of these beautiful creatures is declining at an alarming rate with only about 1500-1800 left. Site was chosen near a small city in Bihar named Bhagalpur, as Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary is set up there as a 60 kms stretch of protected waters.
Project Name: National Dolphin Research and Awareness Centre
By: Sakshi Jaiswal
Location: Bhagalpur, India
Total site Area is 28.3 Acres, and it is divided and developed in multiple gardens, to let the user experience indigenous forest types of the state and activities related to it. It also helps in restoring the natural riparian edges of the river bank. There is a Grassland garden for butterfly watching, Fruit orchards for bird watching, Marshy riparian edge for dolphin and bird watching, also it acts as a transition space between the upland and the river and a kids garden with farm patches to teach children about the same.
There is a big waterbody also planned on the site, to help researchers with breeding program for the mammal and also to bring in injured dolphins and treat them. A Relationship with water has been tried to inculcates in the project.
Maximum area of the project is made accessible to public to spread awareness about the dolphins, river and its ecosystem; this creates a transparency between the researchers and normal public/Visitors. A Curved shape for the building was chosen as it helps in creating a very free flowing environment without any sharp corners.
All the functions of the project are placed in one monolithic structure, this helps in creating a free flowing space and also acts as a microcosm of it’s own where the research and tourist blocks are separate but none of it becomes a hindrance for each other and helps in clear division of spaces. Research block is visually connected at multiple points from the Awareness block.
There are over 400 species of fishes and 90 species of Amphibians found in Ganga, in 4 states. So as ganga starts at higher levels from the Himalayas and ends at Sundarbans, in the similar way as a visitor you enter the main block at a higher level, where you can see the aquatic life from that region displayed, and further we go up in the block, we have multiple similar display with fishes from different region, and a few other activities.
Then the visitors starts coming down and ends his journey at the below the ground level which is the sundarban level and then further exists the building at ground level. In between on the other side of the block is the research centre planned with different facilities at multiple levels.
The main block uses Space frames are its structure system to give it the perfect curves. Other built space consists of a smaller visitors block where one can see the details of aqua farming and the other one is a guest house for the researchers and scientists working there.