This project was to be one of the earliest and the largest in India in the upcoming field of floriculture. The choice of site close to Pune was due to the climatic, topographical, and proximity to the highway leading to Mumbai international airport. Primarily for cultivating roses for export the site had to be close to the assured water supply which came from the river Indrayani at village Jambhul, Vadgaon, Taluka Maval, Pune. It measures 20 hectares sloping down to the river Indrayani towards the north. The client was very keen that the Vastushastra (the traditional Hindu concepts in architecture and planning as per the various scriptures) norms were strictly observed in locating various facilities as well in detailed planning of buildings. Functionally the project consisted of designing playhouses over 10 hectares, cold stores, office-administration area, welfare centre, staff dining hall and a small family temple for three deities- Durga, Ganesh and Hanuman.
The location of the polyhouses was given maximum priority. These had to be located on land that would be even or with minimal stepping down necessitated by the contoured site. Structures of polyhouses had to be economically designed to keep the overall cost as low as possible. These had to be lightweight steel structures with polyethylene skin and curtains on both ends planned. Systems of drip-irrigation, fogging etc., were planned with the help of experts/ consultants. Buildings were located to be convenient for all phases of polyhouses, as well as, the movement of refrigerated vehicles and other delivery-supply vans. When the campus was being planned polyhouses were not imported from different countries. We had to therefore re-invent the wheel as it were. The entire design had to be evolved which could be fabricated locally and arrangement to fix polyethylene be devised by initiating manufacturing of uPVC grippers. As the project progressed the fabricators wizened up learning from the experience and soon became big suppliers of polyhouses all over the country.
The Welfare Centre was located away from the polyhouses, temples and the main building to avoid any interference with the polyhouses which were supposed to be extremely clinical and hygienic work spaces.
A small temple for the use of the family was also one of the requirements. The temple design adopted the ‘angan’ (courtyard) from the historical Maharashtrian temple-style of the region achieving two objectives; one was to demarcate the sacred space for the temple in its micro-context and the other was to ensure security. This small temple or shrine has the most essential elements of the Hindu temple viz. the garbhagriha (literally the womb or sanctum sanctorum). This is where the deity would be installed; the circumambulatory which one walks around after the worship; and the columns evoking the historical Hemadpanti syle of temples- in square – octagonal – square style. The rural context of the village prompted selection of simple materials such as the Deccan trap stone, exposed concrete and the Mangalore tile, giving rise to a simple, unpretentious form. The roof was made in Ferro-cement over steel frame. The skylight at the apex was in translucent fibre glass. The flooring was machine cut rough tandoor laid to pattern. The Shikhara from within the Garbhagraha facilitated the trapezoidal ascending planes converging into the skylight.
The temple also have mythological paintings by a well-known painter Mrigank Joshi, showing similarities to a traditional temple, which would have walls painted with the narratives from the mythology associated with the deities. The paintings were done on canvases and mounted from within on the trapezoidal inclined planes of the roof. Natural light falls filtering down upon these paintings from the skylight above at the apex.
The Main Building which houses the cold stores, holding areas, and stores are located on the ground floor. The administrative offices are located in one wing of the first floor while in the other is located an apartment for the owners’ family who would visit the site often coming down from Mumbai.
Besides the Main Building there are workers’’ welfare centre, wash rooms for the staff, canteen facility and infra-structural buildings for electoral rooms, generator, etc. Large size water tanks had to be built atop where water from the river was pumped up and supplied to all polyhouses.