Context, climate and tradition come together in Sanjay Puri's upcoming projects

These projects by Mumbai-based Sanjay Puri Architects, due for completion in the coming years, are innovative, sustainable and climate-sensitive design solutions.

by Meghna Mehta Published on : Jun 15, 2020

Sanjay Puri Architects, based out of Mumbai in India, has received recognition over the years through the efforts of the firm to bring climate responsive architecture and traditional Indian architecture to the forefront of contemporary discourses across the world. STIR delves into the ongoing works of the firm, which is led by architect Sanjay Puri, and lists down five of their upcoming projects, currently on the drawing board.

Ventilation voids in Learning Curves, Raipur | Learning Curves in Raipur by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
Ventilation voids in Learning Curves, Raipur Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects

1. Learning Curves, Raipur

The Learning Curves in Raipur has been designed as a series of learning spaces interspersed with small open courtyards located along the site perimeter to create a large focal open garden and playground in this school. Each space within the school is indirectly lit, thereby reducing heat gain in response to the hot climate of Raipur, a city in Chhattisgarh in central India, which has temperatures in excess of 35 degrees Celsius for eight months annually.

Conceptual sketch of Learning Curves, Raipur | Learning Curves in Raipur by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
Conceptual sketch of Learning Curves, Raipur Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects

Minimising openings to the peripheral road, the built volumes have been designed to appear monolithic from the external sides with large curvilinear scoops defining the intermittent courtyards between classrooms. Organically curving on the inner side facing the internal garden, each space opens into sheltered terraces and patios creating spaces for social interaction.

  • The aerial view of Learning Curves, Raipur | Learning Curves in Raipur by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
    The aerial view of Learning Curves, Raipur Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects
  • View from central courtyard towards the south of Learning Curves | Learning Curves in Raipur by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
    View from central courtyard towards the south of Learning Curves Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects

With a focus on creating spaces that engage children and promote social interaction, the Learning Curves is contextual to the site and the climate. The design of the school follows an organic flow of learning spaces amid landscaped areas of varying scales.

Learning Squares, Aurangabad | Learning Squares in Aurangabad by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
Learning Squares, Aurangabad Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects

2. Learning Squares, Aurangabad

The Learning Squares, also a school, is located in the centre of a rapidly growing city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, India. This school has been designed for a plot of 3960 sqm with a permissible construction area of 8118 sqm. Imbibing the traditional forms of Indian architecture, the school creates a large open-to-sky courtyard oriented to open towards the playground.

The view of Learning Squares in Aurangabad from the internal courtyard | Learning Squares in Aurangabad by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
The view of Learning Squares in Aurangabad from the internal courtyard Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects

Brick screens envelope the built spaces externally, mitigating sound from the roads as well as reducing heat gain in response to the climate of the region. Circulation spaces skirt the courtyard with open bridges across, allowing students to be visually connected to the landscaped court and the playground whilst moving within the school. All the common facilities including laboratories, library, arts room and cafeteria open into landscaped terraces that punctuate the building to facilitate natural cross ventilation throughout the building.

  • Cross ventilation in the internal courtyard of Learning Squares, Aurangabad | Learning Squares in Aurangabad by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
    Cross ventilation in the internal courtyard of Learning Squares, Aurangabad Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects
  • Central courtyard of Learning Squares, Aurangabad | Learning Squares in Aurangabad by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
    Central courtyard of Learning Squares, Aurangabad Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects

Designed for a charitable trust, the Learning Squares is a school that imbibes the elements and planning principles of traditional Indian architecture to create a contextual design solution alluding to the location and climate, to generate sheltered open spaces for social interaction within a restricted site.

Prestige University, Indore | Prestige University in Indore by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
Prestige University, Indore Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects

3. Prestige University, Indore

Prestige University is to be situated within a 32-acre university campus, where the main administration offices along with an auditorium, seminar halls, library and cafeteria form the functions of the building. As opposed to creating an imposing edifice, the building gradually steps up from the approach direction belying its 20-metre height. Stepped up from the northern direction, the entire terrace of the five-level building is accessible to the students and faculty of the university, transforming it into an open auditorium. The multiple functional spaces within are interspersed with naturally lit landscaped courtyards that allow indirect light to infuse the internal volumes at each level.

  • Stepped terraces at the Prestige University, Indore | Prestige University in Indore by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
    Stepped terraces at the Prestige University, Indore Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects
  • View of the atrium at the Prestige University, Indore | Prestige University in Indore by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
    View of the atrium at the Prestige University, Indore Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects

The north lighting and courtyards are inspired from traditional Indian architecture, which in turn create an energy-efficient sustainable building with minimal dependence on artificial lighting and air conditioning. A continuous diagonal indoor street in addition to the numerous open courts facilitate natural ventilation in the internal areas.

Overlooking spaces and landscape at the Prestige University, Indore | Prestige University in Indore by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
Overlooking spaces and landscape at the Prestige University, Indore Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects

The Prestige University in Indore, a city in central India, is a large open public space with accessible ground floor and landscaped roof. The building is designed as a series of interactive spaces of different scales to foster engagement at various levels amongst the users as well as integrating functional and open landscaped areas intrinsically.

Shree School, Raipur | Shree School in Raipur by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
Shree School, Raipur Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects

4. Shree School, Raipur

The Shree School in Raipur is designed with curvilinear volumes to create a sheltered open street as the focal circulation space in this low-rise school that opens up towards a large playground. All the classrooms are north oriented to mitigate heat gain. The classrooms and corridors are cross-ventilated and naturally lit to reduce the dependency on artificial lighting and air conditioning, and make the building energy efficient.

  • Central circulation spaces at the Shree School in Raipur | Shree School in Raipur by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
    Central circulation spaces at the Shree School in Raipur Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects
  • West view overlooking the bridges at the Shree School in Raipur | Shree School Raipur | Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
    West view overlooking the bridges at the Shree School in Raipur Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects

The central focal open landscaped street facilitates the southwest winds to permeate the internal spaces of the school to enhance the wind movement by the tunnel effect. Designed in response to the region’s climate, the Shree School creates a series of open sheltered spaces to facilitate interaction among students and engage them in multiple ways.

Stone House, Nokha | Stone House in Nokha by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
Stone House, Nokha Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects

5. Stone House, Nokha

The Stone House is a large villa of 36,000 sq ft in the Nokha village of Rajasthan on a plot area of 80,000 sq ft. Private and public spaces are planned around a large triple height central atrium with clear openings on all sides. Every room transitions from the large ventilated central space into a private verandah before opening onto a lawn. Large terraces on the floors above, both semi-covered or open to sky, establish the visual continuum between the dwelling and the vast expanse of the surrounding desert landscape.

The spatial planning seamlessly integrates enclosed, semi-covered and open spaces of varying volumes to help reduce dependence on energy consumption. At the very onset of the design conceptualisation, it was agreed to have a dwelling which is energy-efficient and built on the traditional principles of passive cooling. Taking the cue from the ancient forts of Rajasthan, thick cavity walls of 20 inches with insulation filling constitute the external walls.

Traditional lattice work and semi-open spaces at the Stone House, Nokha | Stone House in Nokha by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
Traditional lattice work and semi-open spaces at the Stone House, Nokha Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects

Large vertical natural stone jaali screens reminiscent of old Rajasthani havelis prove to be an effective screen and a privacy buffer. The screens act as secondary skin to the main building and not only prove to be formidable during a sandstorm but also help transform the direct harsh external sunlight into a dialogue between light and shadows within the living spaces.

Locally sourced Jodhpur stone constitutes the walls and screens. Rain water harvesting tanks, recycling plant for water and solar panels contribute towards making the project self-sufficient and sustainable. The Stone House makes the best possible use of the locally available materials, and incorporates traditional Indian principles of passive cooling to render it contextual in multiple ways.

Overlooking terraces and screens that protect from sandstorms, at the Stone House in Nokha | Stone House in Nokha by Sanjay Puri Architects | STIRworld
Overlooking terraces and screens that protect from sandstorms at the Stone House, Nokha Image Credit: Courtesy of Sanjay Puri Architects

These five projects by Sanjay Puri Architects demonstrate the adaptation of context, climate, materials and culture to create structures that gel with nature, combine sustainability with modern designs, and gives much importance to the surrounding landscape.

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