The process of imparting knowledge in ancient India was simple yet proved to be the most effective in terms of innovation and birth of new ideas. The reason why the Vedas are considered to be book of great knowledge even today is because it takes cues from Nature. Nature is effortlessly ingenious. And so when the Architects of Creative Group were bestowed upon a challenge of designing an educational campus sprawled across 100-acres of Greenfield in the South of India, they kept the traditional methods of interaction between faculty and student pivotal to their design philosophy and conceptualized a contemporary 21st century smart-Eco campus of DSU.
With previous experience in master planning of India’s most prestigious Institutes like Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur, and the Smart-city of Jamshedpur, Architects at Creative Group felt lucky to have a chance to conceptualize the DSU campus tells Mr. Prabhpreet Shah, Executive Director at Creative Group. The goal to be achieved here was to incubate a sustainable environment which fosters creative and dynamic interaction between the faculty, the students and the Nature. The campus at DSU strives to impart a learning experience to students reminiscent of their childhood. Curiosity has always been the best catalyst on the path of learning. The sustainable framework integrated with visual aesthetics throughout the built environment brings out latent creativity of the students.
Ar.Gurpreet Shah, the Principal Architect explains, to satisfy the Client’s requirement of an iconic building in the campus he imagined the Library to be the focal point of the Landscape. The Library at DSU is revolutionary and is conceived as a “bridge of knowledge and innovation” that spans between the Academic block and the Medical block. The main Library block features amphitheater, green vegetation and storm water swales. An evolving double skin facade defines the library building and encapsulates aesthetic and sun control, as well as a variety of micro climate ecologies around the building that are suited to control their function and orientation. The facade is more than a second look and uses its core structural V-Columns as the outer skin. Terracotta slats are arranged along the length of the facade to prevent the direct sunlight from entering into the interactive spaces.
Taking the aspect of sustainability and over-all heat reduction in the campus further, the master planning is done in such a way that the edge of the academic units overlooks the green carpets and water stream, present in plenty throughout the landscape of the site. In an attempt to enhance the experience at the cafeteria, it is positioned in front of the water body. In order to maximize the daylight and minimize the heat gain and energy consumption, in depth studies regarding the sun- path diagram is carried out, based on which the buildings are oriented in the north - south direction eliminating the heat of harsh west sun. Prof. Charanjit Shah, the Founding Principal of Creative Group highlights the north - south adaptation also optimizes the exposure to natural winds blowing along this axis. He further cites how the topography of the site plays a major role in rain water harvesting. The drainage across the site is planned according to the topography of the site in order to maximize the amount of rain-water captured. The presence of natural contours allows the storm water to drown itself, recharging the ground water table and forming natural storm water swale in the southern end of the campus. Every corner of the DSU Campus is designed in a way to re-energize its users. The 100-acre site surrounded by farmlands, maintains similar shade of the landscape even around the academic blocks thus seamlessly merging the interior with the exterior. The Architectural aspect of the concrete blocks has been inspired by Dravidian Architecture. Ancient South Indian Temples were typically composed of pyramid shaped towers, porches and communal areas for mediation. On a similar note the massing is done using combination of horizontal and vertical blocks. The horizontal blocks called the podium is comprised of two or three levels and maintains a two-fold purpose. One it acts as multi-functional space capable of accommodating classrooms, computer labs, study areas, libraries, and student gathering space. Two it forms the ecological corridor, connecting sky-walk between various departments. The vertical element of the built environment which rises from the podium level harbors academic specific courses like College of Engineering, School of Architecture and Planning, Building Technology and so on. These vertical educational blocks take inspiration from the shikharas which forms the places of worship in typical South Indian Temple.
The ecological corridor forms tunnel of sustainability as it eliminates the use of vehicles to do department hopping. In fact the circulation of humans has been given paramount importance and thus the DSU campus is one of the most pedestrian friendly campuses. Bi-cycle enthusiasts wouldn’t feel any less welcomed in the DSU Campus. Such improvisation reduces the carbon footprint by a significant amount. The central boulevard which stems out from NH-209, runs down straight to the Stadium and also segregates the Academic district from the Medical District. An arterial road around the periphery of campus gives an excellent access between academic units, residential units for faculty and students, cafeteria, stadium and library.
Academic campuses have always been a melting pot of knowledge, culture, and innovation. Through the combined efforts of various disciples of planning, architecture, urban design, infrastructure and the various aspects of educational, cultural, workplace and residential architecture Creative Group has integrated their comprehensive approach and creative spirit. A timeless, contemporary campus environment has been planned for Dayananda Sagar which is at par with major global academic institution.