The unadorned materiality of Ramai Boys Hostel by adaa in Aurangabad, India

Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects (adaa) designs the Ramai Boys Hostel with the minimalism of Indian architecture to portray spaces encouraging interaction.

by Sunena V MajuPublished on : Sep 01, 2022

While the presence of a new building on a vacant plot tends to change the whole identity of the place, Ramai Boys Hostel designed by Maharashtra-based adaa (Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects) blends into its urban setting, imparting a sense of belongingness to the land it stands on. Nestled in Aurangabad, a historic city in Maharashtra, India, famous for its heritage structures, the boy's hostel confers to be a physical entity extending much familiarity and congruence to its contexts. The architects chose to design the building as a local motif co-existing with the context without uprooting the existing trees. Incorporating the surrounding nature with a design that revolves around the materiality of raw finishes, the hostel aims to imbibe the colloquial architectural language connecting it to its context.

  • In the historic city of Aurangabad, the Ramai hostel rests as a local motif reflecting the raw finishes of brick and exposed concrete | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    In the historic city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, the Ramai Boys Hostel rests as a local motif reflecting the raw finishes of brick and exposed concrete Image: Courtesy of PHX India
  • Exposing the facade of the hostel in brick architecture, the architects reinstate a sense of familiarity for the building with respect to the surrounding neighbourhood | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    Exposing the facade of the hostel in brick architecture, the architects reinstate a sense of familiarity for the building with respect to the surrounding neighbourhood Image: Courtesy of PHX India
  • Forming an inward-looking environment, the architecture balances interaction, openness and privacy | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    Forming an inward-looking environment, the architecture balances interaction, openness and privacy Image: Courtesy of PHX India
  • The hostel tends to create spaces that balance interconnection and privacy for its users | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    The hostel tends to create spaces that balance interconnection and privacy for its users Image: Courtesy of PHX India

Creating a haven for the students in a bustling residential neighbourhood, the architecture is directed to form an inward-looking environment. Amid the common practice of modular replications of plans for residential units, the Ramai Boys Hostel seems like a bricolage of experimentations. With an aim to create significant niches for interaction, the hostel tends to create spaces that balance interconnection and privacy for its users. While perceiving every user as an individual and providing non-repetitive spaces, the layout of the rooms in the hostel differ from one another. However, the locus of the rooms and lobby remains to be the courtyard. Covered in a pivoted roof, the courtyard design is bedecked by a triple-storey brick jaali on the external south facade. Allowing ample natural light and ventilation to enter the interior spaces, the jaali acts as a source of airflow and thermal comfort.

  • Planning has been simplified by placing rooms and lobby overlooking the courtyard | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    Planning has been simplified by placing rooms and lobby overlooking the courtyard Image: Courtesy of PHX India
  • Exposing the facade of the hostel in brick architecture, the architects reinstate a sense of familiarity for the building with respect to the surrounding neighbourhood | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    The mild steel pergola in semi-covered terrace, rooms and balconies help in the play of light and shadows Image: Courtesy of PHX India
  • Through the jharokhas and balconies, the spaces connect vertically to establish a link between the higher floors | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    Through the jharokhas and balconies, the spaces connect vertically to establish a link between the higher floors Image: Courtesy of PHX India

Balancing the client's need to have a cost-effective building and the architects' approach to prioritise interaction, the 1020 sq.m. hostel boasts of a unique blend of raw materiality and modern expressions. By emulating the intimacy of residential spaces in the rooms, each room accommodates an informal study area, balconies and recreational corners such as window nooks. The study tables in the rooms are customised on-site with MS joints and a locally available Kadappa stone top.

  • The Jharokas overlook the courtyard acting as a node of connectivity within the building | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    The jharokas overlook the courtyard acting as a node of connectivity within the building Image: Courtesy of PHX India
  • The fenestration of rooms is planned according to existing trees framing the outdoors in a visual canvas | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    The fenestration of rooms is planned according to existing trees framing the outdoors in a visual canvas Image: Courtesy of PHX India

The jharokha, a type of cantilevered balcony which draws influences from traditional Indian architecture, wraps the courtyard thereby looping the internal connectivity of the spaces. At the convergence of jharokhas, balconies and cut-out spaces, the landscape around the building supplements the interior design as well. Taking into account the existing trees, fenestrations of each room was planned as a picture window, framing the visuals of the outdoors. Furthermore, balconies of every room overlook the streets and indulge in extended means of visual and vocal communication. Abiding by the character of the fenestrations, carefully placed cutouts enrich the form of the hostel and guide the facade design to present itself in unique identities in each direction. In the portrayal of architecture and landscape that unwraps throughout the building, the unpolished rawness of the materials and the lively interference of the greenery collate as a catalyst to activate the internal spaces.

  • Every room is provided with a balcony overlooking the streets providing visual and vocal connection to the user | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    Every room is provided with a balcony overlooking the streets providing visual and vocal connection to the user Image: Courtesy of PHX India
  • The outdoor space attached to rooms has been carved out around the existing tree in the building for balcony and inbuilt seating | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    The outdoor space attached to rooms has been carved out around the existing tree in the building for balcony and inbuilt seating Image: Courtesy of PHX India
  • Abiding by the character of the fenestrations, carefully placed cutouts enrich the form of the hostel | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    Abiding by the character of the fenestrations, carefully placed cutouts enrich the form of the hostel Image: Courtesy of PHX India
  • The study tables in the rooms are customized on-site with MS joints and locally available Kadappa stone top | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    The study tables in the rooms are customised on-site with MS joints and locally available Kadappa stone top Image: Courtesy of PHX India

Special attention is given to facilitate social interactions; louvres adorn the pivoted slit windows and doors. To break the monotonous rustic effect created by the exposed materials, illustrative paintings frame the lobby spaces along with a play of colour in selected furniture. While talking about the mood board of the design and the brick architecture of the facade, the award-winning interdisciplinary architectural firm, led by founder and Indian architect Amruta Daulatabadkar, mentions, "The project captures the gazes with its adornment of locally available clay bricks, whose design in its essence is the fruition of the local material to give a rustic effect."

  • Within its reflection on an informal blend of private and semi-private spaces, the interior design of the hostel seems to draw inspiration from vernacular expressions | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    Within its reflection on an informal blend of private and semi-private spaces, the interior design of the hostel seems to draw inspiration from vernacular expressions Image: Courtesy of PHX India
  • The architects state, “The project captures the gazes with its adornment of locally available clay bricks” | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    As per the architects, "the project captures the gazes with its adornment of locally available clay bricks” Image: Courtesy of PHX India
  • By creating jhaalis on the exterior facade, the architects not only provide ample natural light and ventilation in the building but enlivens the relation between the indoors and outdoors | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    By creating jaalis on the exterior facade, the architects not only provide ample natural light and ventilation in the building but enliven the relation between the indoors and outdoors Image: Courtesy of PHX India
  • The unpolished rawness of the materials and the lively interference of the greenery collate as a catalyst to activate the internal spaces | Ramai Hostel | Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects | STIRworld
    The unpolished rawness of the materials and the lively interference of the greenery collate as a catalyst to activate the internal spaces Image: Courtesy of PHX India

Though the building contrasts the context, it is presented as an architectural edifice in exposed concrete and brick. The tranquillity reflected through the encompassing of the landscape through its carefully crafted opening merges the built environment with nature. Amid the many glimpses of modernism in the Indian context, the minimal aesthetics of vernacular architecture seem nostalgic and familiar. While exploring and experimenting with materials and construction techniques, can contextual architecture find a balance between vernacularism and modernity?

Project Details

Name: Ramai Boys Hostel
Location: Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India
Area: 1020 sq.m.
Principal Architect: Amruta Daulatabadkar
Design team: Mitali Jain, Sangramm Ambhore, Gargi Jadhav, Shivani Mandhane, Smruti Mahatole
Structural Designer: Anil Datar
Civil contractor: Raj Vakil

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