Finale of the Design

Time for presenting the final design for the institution that developed above my existing childhood home! The iterations and progress made through the last few weeks had to be culminated to arrive at a better resolved space that caters to the functioning of the institution- a space for making and selling of packaged snacks to the neighbourhood and beyond.

The program of this institution itself was arrived at after many different alternatives and trying to decide on for whom this would truly would be associated with and for. Finally, it was decided as I began to recognise the relevance of the context and memories that I associate it with. The vast stretch of agricultural fields that begins from just beside my plot or the various snacks made by elderly people of the neighbourhood, including my grandmother, had influenced this choice. Thus, the super structure of the building held within it the space to run a small scale cooking of traditional snacks using the nearby harvested crops like rice, groundnut, green gram etc. It is sustained by co-operating spaces of a store to display and sell it to the others along with a semi open café that looks at the surrounding flat lands from the top storey.

Exploded View of the Entire building (from -6m of the house to the roof)

The advantage of modifying the surrounding space of the area was taken to create a setback for the building to accommodate a footpath along the street. In the attempt to create a sequence of experiencing the entry into the building from the road, the plot was setback with the footpath branching into the entry of the house and institution. The natural ground left unpaved in between these two pavements spring out short trees that screen the façade. But, its serves a purpose beyond- to create a shaded spot for the elderly along with my grandparents to gather and chat on the plinth along the entrance, as is seen under the shades of trees in the rural neighbourhood. Though the house and institution shared this common link at the front through the long plinth that invites the gathering of people, the presence of the home below and its need to be separated from the more busy part was not forgotten. While both the spaces open and bring in people from the same side, modifications in scale were ensured to distinguish the entrance at the two ends of the façade, with the narrower width of pavement and opaque door leading to the house, while the institution reveals itself through glass doors and windows. The entrance of the institution further establishes the idea of the transparency in the functioning of the institution, which allows people to accommodate people to rest and see the functioning of the cooking process and how the food that they would be eating at the café is prepared.

The ground floor plan and entrance façade: The threshold to the entrance to the building holds people within it by offering a space of gathering, going beyond being a transition space.

The building does not sit within its allocated space to only occupy a volume, but has to be efficient and necessary for it, while responding to life around and the elements of ground and sky. I believe the entrance itself becomes an important example of it. The plinth becomes an invitation for the people and offering a space for the society to spend their leisure time, by recognising a routine that is followed around but not present in close vicinity. Further, the choice of roofing at nearly 6m also reflects the potential to have a panoramic space that looks around at the surrounding single storey houses, green lands and clear sky from the slighting sloping roof.

The roof of the building provides the opportunity to view the surrounding from a higher point
Site Model: Depicts the type of neighbourhood around the institution

On the account of the roof, I was able to discover the character of interaction of different materials with one another and how that can be offer a particular experience for the space. The building being structurally of concrete columns and infilled with bricks continues upto the ground floor of the store in the entrance side, but the distinction in material for the above café breaks the monotony of it. The need for a pitch roof system with mangalore tiles to bring back the traditional building practices of houses resulted in a wood encased café area. But, the colonnades of wood columns along the periphery to support the roof do more than that for the space within it. Their repetition at shorter intervals defines frames of view for the tables arranged close by it while taking in the natural cool breeze and the foliage of the trees growing in front of the house.

Façade of house: The closely spaced wood columns on the top floor controls the openness of the café while bringing in the cool breeze at the same time

As I looked back at the project and its presentation, it was surprising to notice how the house has different approaches towards its elevation on its three faces, with the boundary wall being shared with the nearby house along the fourth face. The entrance and east façade of the house invites people in to not just the house and the institution but also creating a threshold in between it, or rather layers of it with the trees, pavement and the plinth for gathering. Further, it exhibits its café space right at the entrance but being unreachable, evoking curiosity to enter into the institution and see what it offers. The north elevation which looks on to the flat agricultural lands responds to it by opening the building to take in the pleasant view and breeze from that side. Relatively the west elevation has smaller scale of opening to reduce the harsh sun from entering into the working spaces of cooking.

The journey of arriving has been full of ups and downs, giving the first experience of engaging in a long process of design in the past four months. It gave first hand experience of not just the wonders that architecture can bring to a place but also the need to imagine them as not clean, pristine spaces that would operate in a set sequence or flow. The tendency for humans to follow different courses or activities going out of course, different scenarios of using the space would bring strong character and associativity to it. While I may have not been successful in implementing it, it provided an important lesson and opportunity to realise it, which I look forward to develop through practice in the coming years.

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