The project is an interesting typology where a public structure intervenes in a public park in a very subtle way. In Indian urban culture, mainly parks near residential buildings are often used by every age group for various activities at different times. Inserting a structure without disturbing the current activities, is a mammoth task for the project.
Project: Library, Study Hall at Pune
Location: Pune, India
Status: Project completed in December 2019
Principal Architect: Sheel Powar
Associate Architect: Parimal Murdale
Structural Consultant: Kalyani Chavan, Dhanjay Jamdade, Tushar Patil
Contractors: R T Date
Photography: Sudhir Sukale
The biggest challenge of the project was to fit the building in the plot without disturbing the tree plantation areas. So, selection of area was done considering minimum damage to the existing tree plantation. We could successfully transplant three trees & could able to maintain the garden ambience with a small structure in a half acre public park. The structure is a compact cuboid, with minimalism as the design philosophy. The entire building exhibits a subtle grey cement like textured surface with reflective glass windows.
The building is a simple box, with punctures on south side, which create buffer space. Those punctures play with the mass and softens the volume of the building. The serene ambience flows in the structure through those punctures. Against this cement textured surface, stands the bright red entrance canopy along with the tall rectangular column like tower that stands out with red capping. The projection used for the canopy and the hollow space created to house the ramp, creates a great contrast to the solid plane surface.
The entry of the building is designed as a cantilevered canopy supported by two pillars at south end. Its wrapped with striking red covering on wall, ceilings, sides and pillars. The idea of using red was to make a bold statement in a simplistic way. It also invites the people using the garden. It creates some interest for the park users to participate in the activity of building. The building mass designed as if it floats on garden by cantilever floor projections all around. The gentle ground line vanishing in the building soften structure’s impact on the public park.
The ground floor encompasses a double height reading area with glass window along the periphery. The spaces between the windows have been smartly used to house book shelves, creating a wall of books, Intervened by glass panels. The glass windows staggered throughout the periphery of the building bring in abundant sunlight, creating a perfect reading experience. The building is a double storeyed volume in the north west, which has overlooking reading and computer areas on its south and east.
The south east corner has a stair which connects the entry passage directly to the upper terrace, upper reading area and computer section. The entry vestibule area of the building is a like a buffer zone between upper reading areas, lower reading areas and the librarian. The double volume space and upper reading space accommodates formal seating with quiet zone. The building has semi open space with informal seating and also a few seats designed around tree in the outdoor space. The toilet and washing facility structured in a small building as a detached unit, hardly seen because of thick plantation.
The building is built with recessed windows all around the building in a pattern to create an alternate opaque mass. The floor height window is designed to provide maximum light with profile less reflective grey glass. The reflective glass reflects the greenery and hence become part of the park. The opaque mass has textured paint with grey colour, to keep the presence as subtle as possible.
Functionality, simplicity, minimalism through intelligent creativity have been an integral part of the design process. Being a public funded project, a lot been thought about the materials and its costs. The public participation was done to explain the idea of project and assure the co-existence of the structure along with the public park.
Unitecture is an international award winning multi-disciplinary firm believing in ‘intelligent creativity’ headed by Dhairyasheel Powar. Unitecture believes architecture is process of evolution. It can bring more to the building along with aesthetics and the form. It believes to work with an evolution science which can merge arts and technology in a balanced way to create an impact on human behavior.
Like human beings, every building that unitecture designs has a unique character and a personality. These are based on the region, defined use and the needs of the habitants. It believes that the habitants of any building perform better, then the design of that space contributes to the experience it offers.
Sheel, having several years of experience in the International geographies, he brings his expertise in design from his global experience and knowledge of built environment. Before starting his practice in India, Sheel has studied and worked in Europe for seven years with Architects Bjarke Ingels, Julien De Smedt, Andrias Kipar in Copenhagen, Milan and London. He has studied in Shivaji University, Kolhapur, The Royal Danish Academy of Arts in Copenhagen, Denamrk and Domus Academy, Milanm Italy from where he brings his know how in architecture, technology and urban design.