Landscape architecture in India and ar. Prabhakar Bhagwat, these two terms just go hand in hand. With many accolades in his name, ar. Prabhakar Bhagwat also known as bade sir, founded the design studio, m/s Prabhakar b. Bhagwat in Mumbai, in 1973 with another branch in Ahmedabad. Ar. Prabhakar was intrigued into the profession of landscape design at the simple age of 15 years as a garden apprentice. He was the superintendent of the empress botanical gardens in Pune, after his father.
An undergraduate from Pune agricultural college, ar. Prabhakar studied landscape design under the tutelage of Brian Hackett. Coming back to India, he mentored in JJ College, Mumbai, and further got a degree in town planning from IIT Kharagpur. Speaking about his accolades, he founded Isola- Indian society of landscape architects in 2003. The research arm of his studio, leaf- landscape environment advancement foundation, commenced work in 2007. All these initiatives for advancement and growth of landscape design in the country got him identification, as one of the staunch figure in the landscape design industry.
Professor Bhagwat has filled the industry with an amazing legacy of his work through design and research. Along with all this, he was one of the initial faculties of nid, Ahmedabad, and headed the landscape design program at SPA, Delhi, and CEPT, Ahmedabad.
1. Timba basalt quarry restoration
Site: timba: gujrat
Site area: 70 hectares
Architecture is about not only built form, the area/space surrounding the built form also is a part of the architecture. This one particular project by ar. Prabhakar Bhagwat, explains the concept.
The timba basalt quarry mined to a depth of 15 m- 20m had completely lost its natural identity. There was no soil coverage so minimal to no vegetation growth. The only growth was some minimal shrubs and a few neem trees. Ar. Bhagwat was called to restore the ecological balance and convert this barren land into a self-sustaining ecosystem. To achieve maximum success, the architect advised minimal human intervention
The land was covered with soil to act as mulch for promoting vegetation. Weeds from around were planted in 30cm x 30cm shallow pits which eventually evolved into plants. The class of trees was decided upon and planted accordingly. The plan was to study the process and make changes if and when necessary for the natural growth of the ecosystem. This attracted birds from around which created a harboring relationship between the flora and fauna eventually giving rise to a full-fledged ecosystem. In addition, the nearby stream was diverted to fill the quarry basin and stoked with fish.
2. Devi art foundation
Site area: 3894 sq.m
Built-up Area: 2100 sq.m
Housed in the commercial complex of Gurgaon, Devi art foundation (Sirpur house) protuberates in a manner that it makes you want to wait and appreciate the power of architecture in our life. Formerly a paper mill, to be converted into this half non-profit art foundation and half this commercial block, the architect has done justice to reflect both the functions of the building in its architecture.
One side of the building is this stoic exposed concrete side, anchoring the commercial space of the building while the art foundation side is designed a little more liberally. With corten steel wrapping the skin of the building and the exposed brickwork along with the suspended wall from the facade creates a nice visual. The material used is the strongest point of this structure and makes it one of kind in the commercial hub of the city.
The proportions also have a more domestic scale, with the narrow plan giving occupants the option to naturally ventilate the space, pre-cooling the exposed concrete floors and soffits. Even the basement is designed to accommodate parking as well as reuse the space for an art exhibit if and when.
3. Halfway retreat
Typology: weekend home
Site area: 2.2 hectares
Built-up area: 850 sq.m
Halfway retreat is a very fluidic design when you look at the layout. The weekend home, has been given a complete artsy look where the architect has merged landscape and architecture very beautifully. There is just this natural flow to the inside spaces with pockets of nature coming in. The use of materials is traditional but the architectural language is so starkly modern that the amalgamation of the two is just superbly visual.
Materials used were stone, concrete, steel, and lime plaster. If you go through the pictures shown, you will see many futuristic elements used all through the layout. Even the contemporary interiors contrast well with the materials used. The entrance itself is quite an interesting walk leading up to the house.
The landscape also changes according to the ever-changing topography. Upright mist fountains are one of the very interesting elements in the landscape design of this house.
4. Drum house
Typology: weekend home
Site area: 8480 sq.m
Built-up area: 850 sq.m
The drum house is a very interesting built form by the architect comprising mainly of three major bodies, namely, the drum, the verandah, and the stockade. The drum made of a customized brick size to create the vaulted space, which houses the living area. The verandah has a glass skinned dining, which opens up to the gardens, and the stockade houses two rooms and a pool at the back. The concrete wall in the front elevation masks the drum to be visible only when you actually stand in front of it. The drum is the central part of the design surrounded by every other space. The layout is such that there is minimal loss of the existing shrubs and trees and the built form created always overlooks the superbly done garden.
5. Beach house
Site area: 4616 sq.m
Built-up area: 756 sq.m
6. Delphi terrace
Typology: commercial landscape
Built up area: 155 sq.m
7. Supremus offices
Location: Mumbai and suburbs
Typology: workspace landscapes
This project is unique in its own way. These are landscape spaces designed developed around urban commercial spaces. There is an increasing need these days to make nature a part of the concrete urban commercial spaces for the overall betterment of the people working. These offices are in Mumbai and its suburbs. The only agenda of this project s to connect the working man with nature. Small pockets of the landscape have been created so meticulously that the whole drama is in the details.
There are these terrace cafes, which have been treated as landscape islands for people to come and interact with nature. These terraces have wooden screenings placed in a way that they shield from the harsh sunlight. Boulders have been used to landscape certain of these terrace areas as an ode to the western ghats. There are seating areas, which have been designed in flow with the landscape around creating interesting spaces.
Typology: podium gardens
Site area: 4 hectares
Kanjurmag is an urban landscape project. This area houses both commercial & residential blocks. The landscape is designed in such a way that it looks whole even when it is separated by design for either of the complexes. It is spread across an area of 40,000 sq.m.
In this project, we learn that the loading of soil also affects the growth of the vegetation and landscape around in different ways. This method has been adopted to cater to the different functions of the complex according to the userspace. The green belt has pockets of different courts and play areas along with pools. Pathways, jogging, and cycling tracks cut through these spaces interestingly.
9. Samode buagh
Site area: 65461 sq.m
Site area: 3.4 hectares
Built-up area: 2910 sq.m
11. Torrent pharmaceuticals
Site area: 16.15 hectares
Built-up area: 1 hectare
A site lower than the road level and altering land levels had this commercial built form standing on it. The architect was mainly commissioned for landscape design and some parts of the built form architecture. It was designed in such a way that the facilities building became the backdrop of the master plan and the admin building became the core. Speaking about the architecture of the built form, the architect made use of corten steel boxes to wrap the buildings externally amongst other materials and also was involved with the refurbishment of existing buildings.
An interesting part of this project is the use of topography and landscape for stormwater management in turn self-sustaining the landscape. Depressions and swales were thoughtfully created on-site to maintain proper management of the stormwater.
Typology: workplace landscape
Site area: 1.32 hectares
Another landscape project in a commercial setting. The architect here has tried to create various small ecosystems that sustain themselves eventually not wholly but sustaining the built form around it too. The soft scape of the design acts as a direction indicator rather than the hardscape. Different kinds of landscape gave rise to different kinds of ecosystems within. The kitchen area in the center is surrounded by vegetation patches, a try towards sustaining the commercial setting on this. The meticulously planned trees and landscapes give warmth to the entire space creating a peaceful environment in the bustling commercial setting.
13. Parikh house
Site area: 512 sq.m
This is one of the simply styled projects. Even though it is a private residence, the house has a dual function of maintaining itself as a residence and a home bakery commissioned to the ground floor. Keeping in mind, the simplicity asked by the client, the exposed brickwork wraps the façade with interesting and big punctures for light and ventilation. The landscape around is also kept simple with planned water body’s which made the space into a gardener’s garden.
14. Blossom industries
Typology: industrial landscape
Site area: 1.35 hectares
A refurbishment of an old brewery along with the landscape design around it. The mango orchard in the site had to be maintained and was done accordingly with the corporate plaza and corporate office surround by it. There is a massive steel drum edging the rear side of the factory housing the finished bottle yard. There are four spigot structures cantilevering on the entrance to the factory. The water fountains spilling out water in still and bubbly manner each conceptualizing the brewery. The landscape here is more horizontal art with vertical tress shadowing the pathways. In addition, the landscape will remain undisturbed of future expansion.
15. Red bricks school
Site area: 33158 sq.m
Built-up area: 11800 sq.m