Won through a limited architectural competition, the commission was for adding a new floor to the academic block of IIIT-B, India`s premier institute for advanced studies in Information Technology. Program included classrooms and research incubation labs for industry. Brief required minimum disturbance to existing structure, which remained occupied and in use during the construction phase.

Studio Name: Flying Elephant Studio, Bangalore
Project name: International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore, Phase 1
Location: Bangalore,  India
Year of completion:  2014
Area: 70,000 Sqft
Typology:  Institutional
Team:   Rajesh Renganathan, Iype Chacko, Panidan SM, Kiran Chandra
Structures:  Manjunath & co
MEP:  Yash Consultants
PMC: Rohini Project Management Solutions
Contractor:  KNK Nexgen, Accelere Development Solutions, Shankar Electricals, Comfort Cooling Systems, Bion Fire Alarm Systems.
Photographs: Manoj Sudhakaran

IIITB - Rooftop extension By Flying Elephant Studio - Sheet2
©Manoj Sudhakaran

Bangalore’s equatorial location, 900m altitude and rolling topography dotted with small lakes, combine for a unique local weather noted for it’s sharp daily fluctuations. It’s relatively mild climate has also fostered an active horticultural tradition, giving it the name ‘Garden City’. The project is located in a suburb reserved for the flourishing global Information Technology industry. Existing campuses here are planned as collections of hermetically sealed glass buildings in green park-like settings, chasing an elusive Silicon Valley dream.

IIITB - Rooftop extension By Flying Elephant Studio - Sheet4
©Manoj Sudhakaran

The new intervention presents a nature friendly, climate responsive counterpoint to it’s local precedent – the sealed glass box. Open terraces, tied to three existing light wells, are left along the periphery of the extension floor. Newly planted green edges of the extension floor merge with distant old trees of the site, drawing the exterior landscape seamlessly into the building. An interior street, with raised perforated roof and clerestory ventilator, meanders through; admitting daylight and letting the building ‘breathe’. A vineyard type green layer shades new roofs of workspaces, reinstating former land use of grape cultivation common in the local region.

IIITB - Rooftop extension By Flying Elephant Studio - Sheet6
©Manoj Sudhakaran

The interior street is an ‘in between’ space with urban sensibility, promoting human interaction and exchange amongst academia and industry. Remnants of the old roof are improvised here as ‘ground’ elements, and absorbed into the streetscape as layers from the past. On the other hand, the street is immersed in nature, recording dramatic daily changes in weather so characteristic of Bangalore -interspersed with episodes of landscape coming in. The dappled light effect, pervading the interior, abstracts quality of space under a tree- an ancient symbol of education and enlightenment in India.

IIITB - Rooftop extension By Flying Elephant Studio - Sheet7
©Manoj Sudhakaran

The project negotiates old and new, exploring  an inventive play of contrasting characters : nature and urbanity. This recalls oppositions of traditional Indian landscape types ; of ‘aranya’-wilderness, ‘kshetra’-field and ‘nagara’-city. While doing so, the rooftop extension also presents a critique of prevalent corporate architecture promoted by the Information Technology industry.

Flying Elephant Studio

Flying Elephant Studio is an architecture design studio based in Bangalore, India.

We try to choreograph evocative layered experiences through architecture while answering pragmatic needs of program, site and locale. Our approach employs bottom-up and top-down design strategies; moving in parallel from detail to whole and vice-versa. Aspects of materiality and making occupy a significant space in expressing our architectural sensibility. A thematic interest underlying projects promotes intimate engagement with nature, while facilitating a sense of urbanity-community. Flying Elephant Studio brings to the table fresh, inventive and sensitive ways of looking at and shaping our environment; subconsciously dissolving boundaries of architecture, urbanism, landscape and infrastructure design.

Our strength lies in innovative conceptual thinking backed by demonstrated experience, skills and technical expertise to competently translate ideas into reality. The diverse nature, in building type, scale and geographic location, of commissions secured over the past 21 years gives us a distinct professional versatility.


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