Gandhinagar, Gujarat 2018
** Received The Merit List Citation for 2018-2019 **
In the BSF campus of Gandhinagar, the Swadhyay Reading Room, designed for the children of BSF wards, sits nestled amidst a beautiful green canopy. Mimicking the ancient ashram tradition of studying under the trees, the simple, relatable form, both in terms of its spatial arrangement as well as its structural form, adds a layer of cover to the vibrant setting.
The 160 square meter project was constructed in a short span of ten weeks, made possible by the efforts of a dedicated construction team, and a design that is optimised for speed.
The building comprises of two parts: a heavy, articulated ground and a light, traditional yet modern eccentric shade perched upon it. The undulating brick plinth clad with kadappa stone holds users close to ground, merging with built-in tables and benches. A ventilated roof sits atop a steel framework, with extended eaves to protect the plinth, and a series of geothermal earth tubes draw air in through the ground, maintaining the structure's coolness. In addition to that, a mezzanine floats above brightly coloured bookshelves, accessed through a camouflaged stair. Planks of pine wood, hemmed in with rope nets for relaxed reading, adds to the playful vibe. As the dusk approaches, the vivid space inside reveals itself through the sheltered glass, inviting the children in, to read.