Arthshila–a Cultural adaptation Re-using private
Niveditaa Gupta

Arthshila – a Cultural adaptation Re-using private infrastructure

Abin Design Studio as Architects

Santiniketan is the cradle of the Bengali Renaissance, primarily because of its close ties with Rabindranath Tagore. This is the place where the red soil and the air breathes music, art, and, culture. Inspired by this unique setting, a center amidst nature emerges as a cusp of culture and heritage which resonates with Bengal’s ethnicity in a different spectrum. Arthshila is a first-of-its-kind confluence of workshops, exhibition spaces, as well as indoor and outdoor art galleries.

photo_credit Niveditaa Gupta
Niveditaa Gupta
photo_credit Niveditaa Gupta
Niveditaa Gupta

A 22-year-old architect, with the help of his professor, sketched a vision of a residential building with a sloped concrete roof. Decades after, when the founder of Takshila, an Educational Society, approached ADS to restructure a 3BHK residence into a cultural epicenter, it was a dream that came true. Definitely, it is a unique dream for any architect to subsume a different function onto the same building footprint.

The strategy taken was simple: to retain the profile of the old residence, an additional extension to the same slope of the house is introduced. This creates an elaborate shading device for the open plaza to protect it from the harsh summer sun and torrential incessant monsoon rain. The extended roof serves a dual purpose by also becoming the unique feature that narrates the language of the space and adds a cultural scale to the building – it transforms a humble home into a grand pavilion for public gathering.

photo_credit Niveditaa Gupta
Niveditaa Gupta
photo_credit Niveditaa Gupta
Niveditaa Gupta

The internal rooms in the Ground Floor are converted into galleries while the top floor rooms and terraces witness their transformation into a library, a gallery, and guest rooms.

To pay homage to the immediate surroundings, this project after extension has restored all the existing full-grown trees and yet navigates the roof for a higher extension to cast long shadows & bring light through the skylight.

Terracotta tiles on the roof and MS structure are the primary elements of this project. Pandomo flooring is seen in the interior whereas the exterior is cladded with black Kadappa stone.

photo_credit Niveditaa Gupta
Niveditaa Gupta
photo_credit Niveditaa Gupta
Niveditaa Gupta

The exterior landscape becomes a part of the building as it is used as a “sculpture court” – a multipurpose lawn to showcase displays. The peripheries also accommodate a pantry and outdoor seating which can be repurposed as a performance space or as seating for the audience that attends an event held in the AV Room. A soft threshold has been established through the playful arrangement of seating blocks that sits at the juxtaposition of the indoor and the outdoor.

photo_credit Niveditaa Gupta
Niveditaa Gupta
photo_credit Niveditaa Gupta
Niveditaa Gupta

With such subtle design interventions throughout, it is attempted to only tweak the scale of the previous house into a space that accommodates more users at any given time, without losing the charm and essence of a home when one enters the space.

Today, Arthshila acts as Santiniketan’s vital part of cultural activity since it acts as public forum. It is that one project in which a redo of an age old residence is transformed into a center that was born from a desire to fit into the soft rural landscape and pay homage to the site’s unique architecture. This is an exemplary rendition of a true “ Adaptation “ .

photo_credit Niveditaa Gupta
Niveditaa Gupta
photo_credit Niveditaa Gupta
Niveditaa Gupta

Team:
Architect: Abin Design Studio
Lead Architects: Subhasish Dey 
Photography: Niveditaa Gupta
Design Team: Abin Chaudhuri, Subhasish Dey, Mayank Nigam, Sreemoyee Ray, Rukmini Mukherjee
Ceramic Artist: Partha Dasgupta
Structural Consultant: Subhranaryan Shil
Structural Fabricator: Pinax Steel Industries pvt ltd.
Glazing Consultant: Aesthetik Engineers pvt ltd.
Furniture Designer & Consultant: Ananya Berry Design

photo_credit Niveditaa Gupta
Niveditaa Gupta
photo_credit Niveditaa Gupta
Niveditaa Gupta

Material Used:
1. Construction System: Brick, Metal, Glass
2. Finishes: Concrete, Ceramic, Stone

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