Nestled securely at Vytilla in Cochin, amidst a peaceful grove of tall trees resounding with bird calls and the whistle of bamboo leaves, is Silversand Island; a gorgeous expanse of land cradled by the Kaniyampuzha River.
Resting on this scenic island is the Asian School of Architecture and Design Innovations or ASADI, which translates to ‘freedom’. Co-existing superfluously with its surrounding natural elements, the campus is a far cry from the hectic bustle of the nearby Vytilla Hub and the Kochi Metro. Echoing its abbreviated namesake, the architectural institution upholds itself by the motto — “Freedom to Design”.
Crafted under the meticulous vision of Ar. B.R.Ajit, the Principal Architect of Ajit Associates; one of the most successful architectural and design consultancies in South India; ASADI is the culmination of his life-long dream of establishing and heading an educational institution that perfectly grooms numerous young dreamers to become socially and environmentally promising architectural designers.
The Commencement of a Life-Changing Journey
As aforementioned, ASADI is situated in a show-stopper destination. With all basic amenities available both within and around the campus, ASADI does attest as an epitome of extreme standard with its quality program that is carefully curated and its affiliation with a tested-and-proven architectural consultancy. As an initiative of the ABR Foundation, ASADI has marked its beginnings conceptualized as a Charitable Trust.
The commendable feats of the institution do not solely rely on its backdrop or history but rather the virtuous ideologies that are the driving forces behind every staff and student. ASADI believes in true freedom to design. In tune with the contemporary practice of learning to thrive on the shoulders of the Greats, ASADI does let its students be driven by inspiration from the works of masters whilst always conditioning them to stay true to the ideologies and the uniqueness that they discover on their long journey of five years.
With alluring initiatives like ASADI Think Architecture Club (ATAC); which urges students to excel and innovate and ASADI Conversations; which exposes them to great minds from all walks of life; ASADI has always stood for innovative ways of learning, experiencing, and most importantly, thinking outside the box.
As a testament to its ideologies, ASADI boasts a campus that is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The campus, by itself, amalgamates neo-eclecticism, modernism, traditional and tropical regionalism, and on the forefront, green and sustainable architecture.
The main building offers a polished and chic outlook with a soothing landscape. Every year, the first years embark on their architectural journey by conducting analytical studies and live sketching sessions around the building. The interior hosts a play of heights—some of the first lessons that a student receives—how level differences and heights can alter the feel of the space, and how one can make a space appear regal and spacious with the single exercise of the space playing with volumes.
The rear facade of the building features numerous large openings which keep all studio blocks and labs well-ventilated. This area also features an array of Saracenic balconies that displays Ar. B.R. Ajit’s signature style of blending traditional architecture with modernism. These openings also provide great views of the Kaniyampuzha River, which is a refreshing element when juxtaposed with the seriousness of a studio environment.
The Campus also boasts a ‘Koothambalam’ which translates to temple theatre. Such a space is typically used to stage Koothu and other ancient ritualistic art forms of Kerala. Regardless, the grand space serves as a reminder to the youngsters of the majesty that traditional architecture has to offer and instills a sense of sanctity to the roles that they will have to uphold on such a platform. The hall features an intricate roofing system with traditional Kerala wooden trusswork.
Asian School of Architecture and Design Innovations is an institution that is IGBC platinum-certified. As opposed to a mere theoretical base, ASADI proves to its students that a sustainable alternative is always viable. Much of the building uses sustainable furnishings made of jute and recycled materials.
The building also houses a green studio that is mostly clad in bamboo trunks topped with large openings providing ventilation as well as a clear view of the surroundings, paired with a cozy tensile fabric roof.
ASADI revels in its connection to nature. Most spaces are speckled with green, so much so that a bird’s nest in a studio is not an uncommon sight but a well-welcomed one! With many studios and classrooms open to nature, the students enjoy clean air and a sound environment in addition to quality education.
The Gurukulam System
ASADI gives immense importance to the traditional Gurukulam system of learning. Under the same, every student will be assigned a mentor to guide them throughout their academic journey. Mentorship is not just reserved for the faculties and staff. Senior students are encouraged to guide the freshers to maintain healthy relationships and to build a common ground for sharing knowledge.
At ASADI, the students are allowed to routinely indulge in the hands-on training experience. From masonry to parametric workshops to farming, the students are taught intrinsically to become well-guided and grounded architects.
From rigorous hands-on practice sessions to leisurely sketching and indulging with the constraints of a site, a student is taught to actively take part in every facet of architectural designing.
A Unified Whole
At ASADI, there is the common motif that one would hear regularly, “a part of a big family”. From avant-garde dress-ups, traditional festivals to pulling collective all-nighters on a competition or a class tour; the team is always in it together!
A Concrete Memory
An architectural course is never an easy ride, it could be the most menacing rollercoaster ride that you’d ever deal with in your life, given its excessively demanding nature. Regardless, there is a sense of relief that comes with being yourself in a course of this nature. Be it deadlines, redos, or a culture festival, ASADI always helps in leading a student toward self-discovery with encouragement to keep striving for excellence. Regardless of their backgrounds or ways of life, it can be best assured that at ASADI, every student comes to know themself and their values better at the end of their academic journeys.
ASADI (2021). Available at: < asadi.edu.in > [Accessed 23 March, 2021].