VIDYA DEVI JINDAL PARAMEDICAL COLLEGE
BUILT UP AREA:
SpaceMatters was invited to design a paramedical college in the historic landscape of Agroha in Haryana. This building is a gift from a reputed industrial house whose roots lie in the city. The brief was to design a modern state-of-the-art facility within the Institute of Medical Science that would provide affordable healthcare to a predominantly rural population. The architecture of the existing campus is heavily derived from the vocabulary of Corbusier’s Chandigarh. Our site lies near the ‘Mounds of Agroha’ which date back to the glorious Indus Valley Civilization. We took our design cue from these two factors.
The structyre designed by SpaceMatters is a low, horizontally laid out building. The earthy colour palette of the prehistoric landscapes is referred to by using brown-coloured exposed concrete and red sandstone. When one approaches the building from afar, the entire built structure looks like a mound emerging from the earth. A triple height jaali / lattice-wall, made of Gwalior-mint sandstone greets people at the foyer. The white Jaali soothes the eyes in this dry and harsh region, while creating shade and bringing in cool air. The cuneiform symbols of the Harappan civilization make up the lattice wall, which has become a site of tribute to the knowledge and prosperity of ancient India.
At the heart of the building lies a courtyard which was scooped out of the ‘mound’ to create a space for informal discussion and learning, under the open sky - freeing the mind from the physical limits of a room. The building forms have been aligned so that wind flows through this space, creating a shaded oasis that can provide a soothing ambiance, equally conducive to meditation and debates. By situating an amphitheate in this void, we create spill-out spaces as well as formal congregation spaces. Learning happens at any time and place, which is why formal and informal merge at the edge of this void.
Throughout the design, the use of materials has been judicious, and care has been taken to ensure longevity and minimal maintenance. We have designed a lighter structure using autoclaved aerated concrete blocks, thereby avoiding pile foundations demanded by a brick structure of this scale. Moreover, to ensure durability and robustness, the stone on the facade has been fixed with the help of an MS frame and SS clamps using a dry cladding technique instead of a more cumbersome wet cladding one. Silicone coatings over the facade ensure that the sandstone does not absorb water, thereby delaying damage caused due to moisture. The facade has been designed to allow maximum natural light to enter while reducing heat gain. The louvers located in the west facade reduce the harsh glare from the sun. As architects of the project, we at SpaceMatters, have used the site’s grand past to create a serene space of learning which reflects modern ambitions.