A curtain of sandstone red against the backdrop of a light blue sky - the geometric outlines of the Thapar University of Patiala paint a compelling picture. |
The University is the result of a remarkable collaborative effort between Dublin’s McCullough Mulvin Architects and Delhi’s Design Plus Associates. Planned to embrace the context, reflect culture and inspire students, the design of the 250-acre masterplan follows a specific brief – contemporary and iconic. The campus is designed to include student residences, a sports centre, and a learning centre - equipped with a library, lecture theatre and a computer science building.
The masterplan envisions the campus to be a landscape, where juxtapositions of the structures create a new natural topography accentuated by the connecting walkways; where extending parts of built forms converge visually when viewed from different angles, to recall rocky heights and shaded valleys.
The first phase, now constructed, comprises of student accommodation buildings that house 1200 students. Conceived on a grand scale, the towers position themselves boldly and distinctly, in different directions on a rectangular turf, yet foster interactions of the smallest level. At both ends of a block, large staircases rise from the ground. Steel and concrete podiums linking the towers house the reception, gym and dining spaces below; while the resulting series of walkways coerce the user to walk across the campus through a restful environment.
Incorporation of these sustainable elements - the floating podiums, covered walkways and the walled gardens, offer cool and shaded spaces and bring to mind traditional Indian methods of architecture.
Although the design is contemporary, the use of materials and patterns is contextual. Wrapping the towers externally is a GRC screen, matched to the colour of Agra’s red sandstone. Adapted from the old-style stone ‘jaalis’, it is suggestive of traditional architecture, while the extensive use of exposed concrete is a nod to the modern architecture of India.
This striking project, shortlisted for the prestigious World Architecture Awards, stands true to its context and yet, makes a powerful statement in solidarity to India’s advancement. The second phase of works will complete in 2019 with the masterplan fully complete in 2020.check out the images on indiaartndesign.com
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