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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Looking Within

Ezine Special

Text & Illustrations: Ar. K. R. Jaisim



Ar. Jaisim retraces his footprints to a little over a decade ago, as he fondly remembers the progressing stages of his design for the Indian Institute of Plantation Management (IIPM) at Bangalore.



The site on top of a valley presented me with two hillocks amidst a sloping terrain and the most beautiful view I can remember. It took me all but one walk around and it was as clear as crystal, where the mind – the Learning centre with its library and conference centre would be. Not on the taller hillock, but on the lower one, looking for guidance and gaining confidence. The taller hillock would include rowing spaces – the professors and the other head (including the director), who would guide the destiny of the institute would be stationed here.

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In the valley - a small water body and a naturally existing rock almost cried out to be transformed and thus was born the Leaping Frog, making a endearing centre-piece. 

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I visualized this centre for learning agribusiness and plantation management as a serene dialogue of the rustic environment with its learning process. This induced the huge outcrop of rocks to become enclosed into interesting waiting spaces; also making the abutting lecture halls seem more inviting. 

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Almost a bed full of rocks posed quite a design challenge, as a turn here and a twist there in the plan, helped us retain most of them; but it was indeed a task. 

Red and green –two colours that were extensively used to signify Earth and Nature established the signature of the edifice. The concept for the project - integration of the values that the institute stands for were identified and defined by the design in the built visual form. 

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The cafeteria, an important integrating aspect that binds the student community was located hugging lawn and terraces facilitating camaraderie and relaxation. 

An institute professes to impart knowledge through various approaches – direct and subtle. An environment for such a pursuit must also recognize this factor. It is obvious that the classrooms and lecture halls fulfill the first- direct approach. 

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Consequently, passive and active systems were studied and their incorporation into the project made just not possible but essential. Another aspect evident throughout the schematic was the emphasis on meaningful use of the alternative energy approaches with top priority to various climatic features and their influence on habitation. 

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Overall, the spaces look inwardly into a linear garden surrounded by a verandah; and outwardly the floors leap away from the slopes, for a profound visual treat with a panoramic view around.

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