The project for a Buddhist Learning and Skill Development center in Sakharwadi provided an opportunity to investigate the criticality of the notion of the regional whilst engaging with the local community. Collaborating with the Hunnarshala team of experts from Kutch sP+a Architects evolved construction techniques that attempt to leverage a local materiality of stabilized earth and thatch with a pedagogy of knowledge that is globally informed.
Volcanic stone dust was used to build the walls of this Buddhist education and meditation centre, designed by Sameep Padora & Associates for woodland clearing in rural India. Sameep Padora's architecture firm wanted to revive outdated building traditions in the construction of the Buddhist Learning Centre, also known as Jetavan, so chose a palette of natural materials to suit. The six buildings that make up the complex all feature walls of rammed basalt dust – a material created by combining the leftover stone dust from a nearby quarry with waste fly ash from a local factory.
Wood repurposed from old boats provides the roofing framework, topped by clay tiles reclaimed from demolished buildings. Other features include a mud and dung floor – believed to offer antiseptic properties – and an insulating substructure made from mud rolls, which were created from recycled gunny bags.
"Our approach looks to extend the idea of the regional paradigm whilst separating it from the pervasive image of what defines the local," said the studio.
"The construction process also sets out an approach that looks to further construction techniques, based on local materiality not necessarily used natively but appropriate for its context."
These buildings are arranged around two courtyards. Instead of typical gables, the buildings all features V-shaped roofs. This makes it possible for occupants to look out at the trees and sky during activities and enables cross ventilation.
"By inverting the roof profile, with a centre valley in the middle and rising edges, the interior spaces were visually connected with the foliage outside," said the team. "The separation of the roof from the walls, while providing much-needed cross ventilation, also scales the building towards the courtyard."
Sameep Padora & Associates is a Mumbai-based independent architecture studio led by founding principal of Sameep Padora . The multidisciplinary team works together in the fields of interiors, architecture and urban planning. The studio engaged in projects of multiple scales, all planned within a larger interest in typological research, collaborations and collective models. Sandeep, the founder of sP+a, post-graduated from Cambridge University and received his Master’s Degree from the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University in 2005.
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