Balaji Temple
Edmund Sumner

Balaji Temple

Sameep Padora & Associates (sP+a) as Architects

The brief was to design a temple for the residents of villages around Nandyal. In the dry terrain of Nandyal, the main concern was to provide a space which would marry the socio-cultural expectations of a temple with the ecological framework and dynamics of and around the site. The immediate context of Cotton and chilly farms in the region were fed by a natural canal system which had dried up.  

 

The ecological strategy for the temple, thus began with recharging of groundwater. Water overflow from the limestone quarries was led to a low-lying recharge pit or ‘kund’: the banks of which was imagined as a social space, in the manner of a traditional ghat;a flight of steps leading down to a waterbody.This negotiation of land and water with steps is a significant part of India’s architectural heritage as is seen in the ghats of the ancient city of Benaras. 

 

The planning of the temple itself was based on a 10th century temple for the same deity at Tirupathiin Southern India and similarly includes the Balaji &Varahaswamy shrines and a Pushkarini(water tank). 

 

The construction process uses locally available black limestoneslabs corbelled to form the main body of the temple. The same corbelled profile also incorporates soil and planting in the lower half of the temple body to buffer against the heat and finally this stone corbelling turns into  aghati.ethe steps that access the water.

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HAUS 18
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HAUS 18

Private Houses
Chiang Rai, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai, Thailand - Occupied in 2020
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