The architectural firm Footprints E.A.R.T.H. is coordinated and managed by architect Ar. Yatin Pandya in Ahmedabad. The firm’s key design philosophies include making their projects sustainable and environmentally friendly through drawing inspiration from local vernacular architectural features. They also value and incorporate elements of design that ensure their contemporary architecture is contextual and influenced by traditional Indian architecture and make the structures socially and culturally engaging.
Policies regarding energy-efficient architecture and utilising renewable energy sources are being enforced throughout India, as an incentive to create a more sustainable built environment. Eco-friendly architecture has taken the forefront of architectural design; however, it poses a challenge in integrating the structures with the Indian context and climate. Vernacular architectural methods and features have also started to be implemented within designs as they effectively respond and prioritise the time, place and needs of the surrounding community.
The environmental management and functions of these forms are also solely dependent on the architecture rather than on machines or electrical parts—highlighting that the lifestyle of the inhabitants is a key factor in designing and creating appropriate buildings for all clients. Now, let’s look at some projects designed by Footprints E.A.R.T.H.:
1. Environmental Sanitation Institute
The main aim of this project was to demonstrate the possibilities of environmental sustainability and highlight the importance of maintaining the ecological balance of the context on site. The design has been specifically orientated to reduce solar gain and to increase natural ventilation throughout the building by regulating the breeze. The insulated brick cavity walls prevent the heat from exposure to the sun from entering the interior and increasing the atmospheric temperature.
The overall form and certain features of this project were designed and incorporated to control the entry of sunlight as well as to provide maximum shade within the interior throughout the entire building. The spatial experience created by the architectural forms of this structure also interacts with the users, presenting them with various paths for exploration.
Global Mission School
The campus of the Global Mission School in Ahmedabad has been designed and built as an interactive learning environment, with nature interspersed from the exterior into the interior of the building through an interplay of courtyards. The multiple courtyards of the project are themed and detailed with features inspired by the five elements of the natural world.
These different themes help characterise certain areas of the campus as well as keeping a central visual connection to all the courtyards.
3. Shukla Villa
The design of Shukla Villa by Footprints E.A.R.T.H. is based around creating an experiential journey throughout the built form. Vegetation, as well as multiple courtyards within the design, allow for light and air to move freely through the building, with the surrounding landscaping also creating a comfortable micro-climate. Skylights on the roof and windows on the façades both create friendly atmospheric conditions as they allow for cross ventilation and the smooth exit of hot air.
The building’s orientation creates more shaded areas during the day facing north-east for living activities with the south-west area of the villa utilised at night time. Water and vegetation are key features of this project that make it climate-responsive for the hot and dry climatic nature of Ahmedabad.
4. Gandhinagar School
The general layout of this school designed by the architects of Footprints E.A.R.T.H. incorporates a courtyard themed typology, allowing the students to learn from nature as well as the natural world stimulating the intellectual growth of the young children. The intermediate areas between key spaces are mostly terraces with landscaping which are effective in reducing the negative impacts of a hot and dry climate. The mixture of voids and solid spaces throughout the design allows for natural light and areas of shade as and when required in the design.
5. Gandhi Gyan Parab
This particular project is aimed at utilising existing natural resources to serve humanity while simultaneously engaging in work and construction. Footprints E.A.R.T.H. designed this in order to connect with other international firms and communities worldwide in trying to create new methods of efficiently providing the necessities and main resources for all of humanity. A major water tank at the Ashram supplies the water needed for the activities of the residents, with this building situated right under this water tank in Ahmedabad.
Most of the architectural projects by Footprints E.A.R.T.H. hold sustainability and ecological balance at the heart of their designs, leading to these efficient and inspiring buildings characterising the built environment of Ahmedabad.