Kamath Design Studio was established in 1981 as a partnership company by Revathi Sekhar Kamath and Vasant V. Kamath. They are based in Delhi and have maintained their studio at the forefront of ecological and socially sustainable design in India for the past thirty years. This is made possible by their pioneering work in the use of sustainable building materials and techniques. Although India is not at the same level of standardization and industrialization of building as the western countries, for them, they feel that there is no need for it to achieve the same level either-they see human potential as the country’s greatest asset. With this philosophy, they have more than 150 projects to their credit, three of which have been nominated for the Aga Khan Award.
Location: (Katchi Kothi) and Anangpur, Faridabad
The Mudhouse is located on land that was once a quarry. The landscape of the area had been devastated by the mining and firewood. The project is an attempt to heal the wounds inflicted on the land and establish a niche in the ecosystem that expresses emerging ecological values. The architecture of the house is based on the premise that the goal of human culture is to respect all life forms and the environment and to value its regenerative and self-healing capacities. The design process was actively guided towards the evolution of an ecological architectural vocabulary inspired by indigenous building practices. Extensive use was made of natural materials found on the site and its surroundings.
Location: Imphal, Manipur
This cathedral, built-in 1999, is intended for the Christians who constitute the second-largest religious group in the state. Its architecture is an Anglo-Manipuri fusion. The roof of the building echoes the hills in the background. Minor peaks define the baptistery and chapel on the transverse axis, while the bell towers rise like towers on either side of the altar. Smaller skylights highlight the baptistery, chapel, and altar. The main body of the cathedral is defined by an octagon whose sides are 96 feet long, and which can accommodate a congregation of 1,500 people. The functions and supporting spaces are axially symmetrical additions to the sides of the octagon. The juxtaposition of the traditional forms of the Manipuri roofs as dormer windows and the forms of the Naga roofs as secondary entry points creates a varied skyline.
3. Akshay Pratishthan
Location: Delhi, India
The Akshay Pratishthan School Annex in Delhi by Kamath Design Studio has been designed to respond to the evolving educational and technical needs of the area’s disadvantaged children, to enable them to learn and live together. The structure was designed and built-in two months to accommodate five classrooms during the construction of the main school building. Later, it hosted extra-curricular activities such as a craft center, a gymnasium, a play area, and an amphitheater. The usual rectilinear construction module was abandoned in order to create a structure much more suited to the children’s imagination. The corrugated sheet roof was covered with thatch and creepers to improve thermal performance and blend in with the terracotta brick walls. The building was nominated for the Aga Khan Award in 1995.
4. Wellness Centre & Spa by Kamath Design Studio
Location: Kundli, Sonepat, Haryana
Naad Wellness is a holistic wellness center designed by Kamath Design Studio, located in Sonepat on the outskirts of Delhi, offering a wide variety of healing and fitness therapies. Part of the healing effect has to be attributed to the physical space. Indeed, the building was designed with the skillful use of natural light and environmentally conscious materials. Everything in the design is oriented towards the promotion of tranquility. The rooms are well spaced from each other, making them elegant sanctuaries in their own right. There are soothing bodies of water everywhere, including a beautiful water wall in the lobby. Discreet green dominates, highlighted by Rajkot’s custom-made tiles (they are eco-friendly and made with 60% recycled materials). The landscaping, carried out in strict accordance with the architect’s vision, has created a veritable Garden of Eden.
5. The Transit Flats by Kamath Design Studio
Location: Anangpur Village, Faridabad, Haryana, India
The Transit Flats provide one and two-bedroom units for government employees and their families while they await the allocation of permanent housing. They are intended to demonstrate that low-rise, high-density housing is a viable alternative to towers. The program consists of distinct housing projects designed by five different architects as part of an integrated urban fabric. The buildings are organized around interconnected courtyards. There are six cores connected by corridors to the individual apartments. The corridors are structurally designed as Virendeel beams that extend from one block to the other. In addition to common terraces on each level as seen from the building, a library, café, community room, and community solar kitchen were included in the design.
6. Nalin Tomar House
Location: Hauz Khas, New Delhi, India
Area: 40 Sqm
Early in the 1990s, the economic activity of Hauz Khas village in the heart of South Delhi boomed. This was achieved through the creation of exclusive handicraft shops, boutiques, restaurants and art galleries. The client settled in this village in the hope of creating a new precedent by building an architectural structure adapted to the context of the region. The Tower House by Kamath Design Studio is built on an irregular 40 square meter “L” shaped plot. It overlooks the monuments of the village and a storage tank. The six levels of the entrance arm of the “L” are treated as a minaret topped by a dome, while the building descends towards the monuments. The masonry arches, wooden columns and brackets, and metal grills attempt to create a contemporary architectural vocabulary while recognizing the living traditions of the masons and artisans who built the building.
Localization: Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, India
The amphitheater of Raigarh is situated in a natural continuum of rhythm and order with the local context. It includes stone and grass seats, a pond, and a musical fountain. The amphitheater functions as a place for meditation every evening before sunset, followed by a musical fountain show at night. It is sometimes used as a venue for corporate events and political gatherings, as well as cultural events such as dance, theatre, and musical performances. The water from the fountain is used as a projection screen at these events. A small building with a green roof behind the stage houses a control room. The materials used are Kharsiya stone, grass and soil available locally.
8. Jspl Auditorium
Location: Jindalgarh, India
The JSPL Auditorium is the cultural center of the industrial city of Jindalgarh and its surroundings. It has a capacity of more than 2000 seats to cater to these needs. The stage is designed for the presentation of major events as well as the screening of the latest Bollywood films. The mild steel structure is made up of beams, plates and rods, manufactured in the adjacent steel mill by local welders. It creates a shaded buffer space that protects the interior while significantly reduces air conditioning loads. The composite trusses create a column-free space measuring 55m x 55m, 22m heigh to accommodate the main body of the hall. This structure gives the building its fundamental aesthetic, while the form and relationship with the surrounding land, softens its monumental scale.
9. Tribal Museum by Kamath Design Studio
Location: Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
One of the best projects by Ar. Revathi Kamath, the Bhopal Tribal Heritage Museum was commissioned by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in 2004 for its tribal population (more than 30% tribal origin). The aim was to create a built fabric inspired by their rich culture with which the communities could identify, and develop it as a space for the expression of their ideas. Its architecture is inspired by the rhythms, geometries, materials, forms, aesthetics and spatial awareness of the tribes, allowing it to integrate harmoniously into its context. The complex trusses of steel rods and crenelated beams rest on walls made of local brick and stone. The roofs are made of tiles, slabs of galvalume and concrete with a covering of grass and earth. This work today plays a key role in the work of tribal artisans.
Location: Chhattisgarh, India
Area: 45 hectares
Urjanagar is a 45-hectare residential township organized around a central park and attached to an industrial complex in Chhattisgarh. It includes a shopping center, a temple, a health center, and other social facilities, in addition to housing for employees. The project included the planning of the commune, the landscaping and the architectural design of the buildings. Each residential group is crossed by a green space that serves as a gathering place for the community. Run-off water is collected in a lake at the northeast end of the township. The buildings in the township are constructed of structural steel (manufactured in the adjacent industrial complex) and fly ash bricks (made from fly ash waste from the same industrial processes). These ingenious techniques reduce the ecological impact of industries and buildings.
11. Gnostic Centre
Location: Gurgaon, Haryana, India
The Gnostic Centre is a spiritual and academic learning campus located between Delhi and its suburb Gurgaon. Its landscape and architecture act as an oasis of contemplation and unity with nature. It includes a conference center, a tea pavilion, a guesthouse, cottages for residents- all organized on multiple interconnected plots of land, surrounded by farmland and suburban “farms”. The buildings are equipped with decentralized anaerobic wastewater treatment systems that release water used for irrigation. The conference center is a renovated building covered by a double brick dome. Its veranda is adjacent to the bamboo tea pavilion semi-covered by a hyperbolic paraboloid pergola, built with bamboo. The guest house was created by retrofitting an existing two-story brick structure. Cottages for long-term campus residents were subsequently built on a site adjacent to the guesthouse.
12. Tal Chappar by Kamath Design Studio
Location: Churu, Rajasthan, India
Tal Chappar is a sanctuary for black antelope located in the Churu district of Rajasthan. In 2007, an innovative project was launched to improve its facilities and initiate development programs to provide sustainable livelihoods for women in neighboring villages. The first phase of the project involved adapting and expanding three pre-existing buildings on the site: a caretaker’s dwelling, the district forestry officer’s office, a VIP guest house and the addition of the interpretation center. Local traditional architectural additions were made to reverse the colonial domination that shaped these buildings. This was done through the use of local resources such as fly ash bricks, old recycled bricks, stone, bamboo, grass which are also part of the ecological and logistic perspectives.
13. Laxman Sagar resort
Location: Via Raipur, District Pali, India
Lakshman Sagar Resort, located at the foot of the Aravalli Range, is built around Lakshman Sagar Lake on the site of a 19th-century hunting lodge of the Thakur of Raipur. The original structures consisted of a colonnaded verandah and a “haveli”. The buildings have been restored with minimal intervention and used as the public spaces of the station. A swimming pool has been dug into the rocks adjacent to the original haveli. The materials used for the construction were all of the local origin (slate, sun-dried mud bricks made locally, local sandstone, “kikar”, eucalyptus logs and local marble). Clients were fully involved in the implementation of the project-sourcing materials, understanding the design and the drawings, and providing information to the site.
14. Community Center
Location: Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, India
This community center located in Fort Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, houses a small library, nursery, clinic, and courtyard for community meetings, plays, lectures, film screenings and occasional weddings. The building is transparent so that its activities fit into the street. The construction technology incorporates local building skills and materials. Detailed construction plans have been drawn up to enable the building to be continuously modernized in the future while preserving its architectural character. The project was nominated for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Today, the building serves as a cafe for tourists.
15. Jivagram (Jiva Wellness Center) by Kamath Design Studio
Location: Faridabad, Haryana
Client: Jiva Ayurveda
Architectural construction is the expression of an event in an ecological continuum. In the context of the JivaGram, Haryana, ecology, space, and built form encompass both nature and culture, and it is from the amalgamation of the two and their balance in the physical dimension that the building derives its architectural expression. The qualities of beauty, harmony, and timelessness are clearly established by the architectural vocabulary. The center offers its guests a wellness experience that will enable individuals to establish a true and lasting union between the inner and outer worlds.