State Government of Bihar



455 acres


Snohetta, Space Design Consultants

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The proposed campus sought to combine the pursuit of knowledge with the ideals of inclusivity and accessibility, reflective of contemporary society and its quest for equity and progress. While a clear sense of universal space was to engender the academic community within the campus, the site's inherent openness was to engage the wider local community. We sought an expanded idea of community that includes humans and other species, thus integrating the campus with surrounding communities as well as nurturing the local flora and fauna.


The proposed landscape was both self-defining and permeable. The water defined the master plan, was a connector and the central island of knowledge linked the programmatic components of the University. The central core formed the island of knowledge, forested with structured planting of trees and plants chosen for their form, symbolic importance and fruit and flower characteristics.


The historic Nalanda University was the embodiment of the idea that the pursuit of knowledge should not merely be a part of life, but a way of life. The architecture of the University, harnessed the forces of nature to create a powerful imprint of this idea, on time and space. 


 'The Singular in the Plural'- a framework for integration and interaction rather than boundaries. The master plan was imagined horizontal in form and spirit and was to become the instrument through which the University would build community

Finally, sustainability was proposed to be embedded in the design of the Nalanda campus at multiple levels- Economic sustainability was imagined through the management of appropriate building technologies and materials in an incremental approach to build-ability; environmental sustainability was to be achieved by utilizing high thermal mass, insulation, principals of natural ventilation and shading to reduce the requirement for mechanical cooling and ventilation; the implementation of a complete water management strategy to reduce water requirement for irrigation and to facilitate flood prevention; and finally a social sustainability was to be advanced by developing communities, both within the campus itself and in the local context.