International Foundation For Research And Education
BUILT UP AREA:
Ashoka University is a leading non-profit university with a focus on liberal arts. It is located in Sonipat, Haryana, 34 kms from New Delhi. Ashoka has emerged as one of the leading universities offering world class education in India. As a space for learning and imparting education, the design of Ashoka University needed a distinct spatial identity conducive to learning and enquiry. Working on the Ashoka University was an opportunity to reflect upon how the nature of space influences the learning environment and campus culture.
Economising on the properties of stone to maximise its effectiveness in design was a prime criterion in our endeavors. The test of our creativity lay in translating the traditional idea of stonework as slow, laborious and ‘old world’ into its current avataar - one that is contemporary, dynamic and modular. The use of stone in a project driven by economy of cost and time was a task in itself, and involved significant creative thinking from our end, over and above the physical design of the structure. The decision to use stone prevailed due to the fact that its use in a building makes for a thoroughly sensuous experience.
As we demonstrated through the use of project, a thoughtful use of stone can not only uplift the architectural quality of the project, it can create an ‘earthy’ micro-climate. The stone jaali lies at an intersection of the exterior and interior spaces of the building. It is the metaphoric “place in the shade” that Charles Correa considers the essence of Indian architecture. The jaali creates a play of light and shade and maintains a beautiful in-between space where the institution can thrive.
In the hot and dry climate of Sonepat, where there are no trees for great distances, the jaali offers a cool space for the students to linger. Stone as a material can breathe and age with time, although at a far slower pace than an artificial material, making it inherently green.