The world’s largest platform for architecture, ArchDaily, announced its Building of the Year awards recently, in which two Indian projects have emerged winners in ‘Housing’ and ‘Educational Architecture’ categories. Voted by the readers of ArchDaily across geographies, the winners were selected from over 4,000 entries, presented by leading design firms across the world.
While Dutch firm MVRDV won the award for Future Towers in Pune, Mumbai-based Sameep Padora & Associates (sP+a) were lauded for their “material and technical mastery” in the Maya Somaiya Library in Sharda School, Kopergaon, Maharashtra. The two firms had to contend with different challenges. While the former had to make room for 5,000 people in a residential building, sP+a had to engage students with a library in this fast-paced technology-driven world. From the future of a library to the future of a high-density residential apartment, both firms found solutions through active research.
Delving into Uruguayan engineer and architect Eladio Dieste’s minimalist masonary and 16th century Catalan tile vaults, sP+a used Rhino Vault software to emerge with the funicular form of the library. The site was a narrow strip between existing buildings and the boundary wall. “We questioned the future of libraries. How will children interface with such a building? That’s why we wanted the building to be the landscape. It’s like an earth mound,” says architect Sameep Padora of sP+a.
The brick-tile building can be accessed through multiple sides as children criss-cross through the grounds, making it possible to walk through or over the building. While indoors, the library is highest in the middle at five metres, it has varying spatial systems that allow students to sit in groups and as individuals when they read. Not too far from this site, is sP+a’s other award-winning project, Jetavana Buddhist Learning Centre.
Working with similar binaries is MVRDV’s Future Towers in Pune, where nearly 1,068 apartments have diverse demographics, from 1BHK to 5 BHK options. From 45 sqm to 450 sqm apartment sizes mixed together, the shifting floor plans generated the building’s mountainous shape, with its peaks and valleys. Jacob van Rijs, Principal and Co-founder of MVRDV, says, “With our design, we made an effort to offer more variety and bring people from different backgrounds together. The team researched modern Indian housing and came up with a system to create a mix of different types of apartment inside one building.”
Among its other projects, MVRDV is known for Markthal Rotterdam, the arched, hybrid structure of a market hall and housing, all in one.