Taking off from the belief that development and progress must proceed without straining the cultural and historic environment, underlines the work and practice of Brinda Somaya, a veteran architect and urban conservationist. Her body of work extends from large corporate, industrial and institutional campuses to public spaces, which she has rebuilt, and at times, reinvented as pavements, parks and plazas. She has developed a distinct architectural vocabulary consisting of common spaces, courtyards, high ceilings, jaalis, etc. in conjunction with contemporary elements. Restoration and adaptive reuse projects form a significant part of her repertoire.
Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani
Characterised by the composed structures of its walls, the campus project was a master plan for the expansion, conservation and redevelopment of an existing 225 acre campus.
A complex phasing plan was derived by the firm to undertake the execution of the master plan followed by the conditional mapping of each of the existing structures, some of which were over 50 years old. With its straightforward and functional design language, the project displays a sensitive balance in the symphony of spaces and the volume. The concept evolved into structures, accommodating myriad functions and blending spaces with each other. The plan is a simple geometry adhering to the segregation of activities and use of space.
Goa Institute of Management, Goa
Endorsing that the architects have a responsibility towards the society, the GIM campus is an apt precedent, where ‘green’ and ‘climate’ come to the fore. The simple arrangement of the building along the two axis of the site is demarcated through angles walls with large openings.
The integration of indoors and outdoors has a crucial role to play in maintaining the balance between nature and structure, creating spaces for students to have informal interaction. The plaza flow out into the contiguous landscape providing a striking view of the hills beyond. Several passive and active energy conscious strategies have been adopted to make the campus sustaining.
Nalanda International School, Vadodara
The design of this brick and concrete school building displays cautionary sensitivity of the architects towards the immediate and the experiential context. The courtyard acts as a multipurpose place for groups to interact and assimilate.
It also reflects the light inside the classrooms making the spaces within naturally lit throughout the day. By adapting a vernacular material palette, the architects have made the interior spaces of the building thermally efficient and passively cooled. The formal rigidity and sequential hierarchy of the built mass renders this institute a distinct sense of discipline and functional clarity.