Within the expansive 100 acres of IQ City lies the 45,000 sqft nursing college. The challenge for the college was, says Abin Chaudhari, principal, Abin Design Studio, to find an architectural language that harmonises with the surrounding that was built over time by various architects. “An unassuming architectural expression that doesn't compromise on the spatial quality was required,” he says. So, he chose a design that led to a courtyard-style, introverted planning with minimalistic facade expression. Chaudhari describes the built form as a “language of solidity and emptiness, delicately balancing strength and fragility,” juxtaposed to create an environment that fosters healing through its spaces.
The building’s cuboid form, punctuated with stepped zones, houses the nursing college’s diverse programme. Within the stepped portion, an entrance plaza appears in continuation with the internal courtyard, while also ensuring the different rooms opening towards it are not boxed in and are in harmony with the outdoor surroundings. “This plaza corresponds to the entrance to the Medical College building and its double-heighted foyer in the opposite side. Also being adjacent to the grounds of the temple complex on the southern side, the plaza is thus designed as an extended public space,” elaborates Chaudhari.
The structural system is kept as simple as possible, avoiding any needless organic forms and bends in the planning. “The building’s robust and unassuming character is punctuated by deliberate voids. This interplay of void and solid becomes a key element. Planned around a central courtyard, the idea was to create a public space that flows at many levels. Ample terraces overlooking the central courtyard are created at all levels as an extension of corridors,” notes the architect. The design intent was to transform routine spaces into social ‘places’ for interaction and in creating a continuous connected network of gathering places not only in the horizontal plane but also vertically.
Ensuring maximum penetration of daylight and natural ventilation, the courtyard and terraces play a significant role in passively cooling the building. The voids are fashioned in response to the sun’s movement, ensuring that the spaces enjoy shade and brightness year-round.
Even the interior follows a similar restrained design language, where materiality and construction are kept minimal and simple. The material palette on the exterior is predominantly in plaster and paint finish, with the coffered slab at the entrance plaza adds textural dimension. The resourceful use of Yellow Kota Stone only in the entrance plaza and courtyard elevates the outdoor, interactive spaces as essential to the design. “The success of the project can be exemplified when its monochromatic base palette of colour is used in existing buildings to create an image of the campus,” says Chaudhuri.