Sunken courts and crisscrossing bridges feature in a hostel in India by Charged Voids

The Chandigarh-based studio designs a student accommodation where large volumes and simple materials combined with Le Corbusier influences create an experiential space.

by Zohra KhanPublished on : Dec 29, 2020

Indian studio Charged Voids has designed a 500-capacity student accommodation space inspired by the architectural vocabulary of Chandigarh – a city conceived by great modernist architect Le Corbusier. The 10-storey building is located within the 25 acres campus of Chandigarh Group of Colleges in Landran, a peri-urban area in the city’s satellite town Mohali.

  • Exteriors of the Student Hostel for Chandigarh Group of Colleges designed by Charged Voids | Charged Voids | Chandigarh, India | STIRworld
    Exteriors of the Student Hostel for Chandigarh Group of Colleges designed by Charged Voids Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla
  • Hostel Entrance | Charged Voids | Chandigarh, India | STIRworld
    Hostel Entrance Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla

The project reveals an array of public spaces that contribute to an enhanced character of the campus, which previously had immense shortage of covered recreational spaces. The hostel is designed as a simple triangular form with a central atrium abstracted by crisscrossing bridges.

  • Central atrium is abstracted by a series of crisscrossing bridges | Charged Voids | Chandigarh, India | STIRworld
    Central atrium is abstracted by a series of crisscrossing bridges Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla
  • Circulation within different levels | Charged Voids | Chandigarh, India | STIRworld
    Circulation within different levels Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla

As per Charged Voids, the idea was to deviate from the built language of the campus in which gated compounds enclose all living spaces. A triple height sunken court was thus designed in the hostel’s basement as the core public space for the entire campus during the day and an outdoor space for resident students at night. The court, as well as the overall basement which comprises a gym, a multi-purpose hall, sports area and various entertainment rooms, is accessed via a flight of stairs going down at the building’s main entrance.

  • Steps leading to the basement’s triple-height sunken court | Charged Voids | Chandigarh, India | STIRworld
    Steps leading to the basement’s triple-height sunken court Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla
  • The basement level is designed as the core public space for students | Charged Voids | Chandigarh, India | STIRworld
    The basement level is designed as the core public space for students Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla

The ground floor houses another public space in its front half in addition to a reception area, and an adjoining dining and kitchen facility. Laid on the smallest floor plate, the first floor features a reading room, an administration office, and the warden’s room.

Programmatic Diagram | Charged Voids | Chandigarh, India | STIRworld
Programmatic Diagram Image: Courtesy of Charged Voids

While the lower levels - the basement, ground and first floor – are programmed as public spaces, the upper stories constitute student accommodation. These seven stories have 23 rooms on every floor and each room has a capacity to accommodate three students. A covered balcony attached to each room open the living spaces to the outdoors while the overall façade in grey grit finish remains in sync with the rest of the campus’ 100ft high academic buildings.

Geometrical atrium | Charged Voids | Chandigarh, India | STIRworld
Geometrical atrium Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla
The architecture is not only functional but experiential in nature. – Aman Aggarwal, Charged Voids

Students’ interaction within the various floors is facilitated via bridges that double as spill-over spaces bisecting the atrium at every level. Aman Aggarwal, the lead architect on the project and the principal at  Chandigarh-based Charged Voids, describes the architectural intent as the duality of simplicity and complexity. “The space,” he says, “epitomises something that you design very simply but you experience a complexity when you are inside that space. The architecture suffices that very purpose of intellectual stimulation, discovery, and a sense of joy…”

Primary colours inspired by the architectural style of Le Corbusier feature on walls | Charged Voids | Chandigarh, India | STIRworld
Primary colours inspired by the architectural style of Le Corbusier feature on walls Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla

The architecture employs a simple material palette, which constitutes grey grit finish and white painted surfaces for walls and local Kota stone for flooring. Primary colours on basement walls, sunken courts and at the entrance take reference from the architectural style of Le Corbusier.

The interaction between light and space | Charged Voids | Chandigarh, India | STIRworld
The interaction between light and space Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla
Light plays its magic when it pierces through the skylights and just moves through the space. – Aman Aggarwal, Charged Voids

“The interior spatial quality is very tranquil yet dynamic in character,” adds Aggarwal. “The tranquility is because of large volumes and an overall monotonous material palette while the dynamism is caused due to people’s circulation through the corridor and the movement of light entering through the large skylights above”.

As per Aggarwal, the hostel was previously to be designed on an existing green area within the college campus where the client had wanted a linear block but due to the odd shape of this piece of land, Charged Voids decided to relocate the site and shifted it to the campus’ bus yard.

Aggarwal, who has previously worked under Indian Pritzker Prize-winning architect BV Doshi, explains the project’s key inspiration, “What you experience in your early life as a kid is something that’s so deeply imbibed in your sensibilities that it can never just go away. Being in Chandigarh is like being at the Mecca of Le Corbusier. The deep sense of understanding of how architecture has a spiritual root or a spiritual background, is a philosophy that we are chasing in this project”.

  • Floor layouts | Charged Voids | Chandigarh, India | STIRworld
    Floor layouts Image: Courtesy of Charged Voids
  • Section illustrating passive cooling mechanism within the building | Charged Voids | Chandigarh, India | STIRworld
    Section illustrating passive cooling mechanism within the building Image: Courtesy of Charged Voids

Project Details

Name:Student Hostel Landran
Location: Landran, Punjab, India
Architect: Charged Voids
Design Team: Aman Aggarwal (Lead Architect), Rahul Vij, Sugandha Wadhawan, Javed Akhtar Siddiqui
3D Visualiser: Haneet Khanna
Structure Consultant: Dr. I.C Syal
Area:
Site Area: 27,400 sq ft
Built-up Area: 1,35,000 sq ft
Completion: 2019

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