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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A landscape of traditional and contemporary impressions

By Vinita Wagh
Photography: Christian Richters; courtesy McCullough Mulvin Architects
Read Time: 2 mins
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A curtain of sandstone red against the backdrop of a light blue sky - the geometric outlines of the Thapar University of Patiala paints a compelling picture.

The University is the result of a remarkable collaborative effort between Dublin’s McCullough Mulvin Architects and Delhi’s Design Plus Associates. Planned to embrace the context, reflect culture and inspire students, the design of the 250-acre masterplan follows a specific brief – contemporary and iconic. The campus is designed to include student residences, a sports centre, and a learning centre - equipped with a library, lecture theatre and a computer science building.

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"McCullough Mulvin DPA Thapar University indiaartndesign"
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The masterplan envisions the campus to be a landscape, where juxtapositions of the structures create a new natural topography accentuated by the connecting walkways; where extending parts of built forms converge visually when viewed from different angles, to recall rocky heights and shaded valleys.

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"McCullough Mulvin DPA Thapar University indiaartndesign"
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The first phase, now constructed, comprises of student accommodation buildings that house 1200 students. Conceived on a grand scale, the towers position themselves boldly and distinctly, in different directions on a rectangular turf, yet foster interactions of the smallest level. At both ends of a block, large staircases rise from the ground. Steel and concrete podiums linking the towers house the reception, gym and dining spaces below; while the resulting series of walkways coerce the user to walk across the campus through a restful environment. 

Incorporation of these sustainable elements - the floating podiums, covered walkways and the walled gardens, offer cool and shaded spaces and bring to mind traditional Indian methods of architecture.

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"McCullough Mulvin DPA Thapar University indiaartndesign"
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"McCullough Mulvin DPA Thapar University indiaartndesign"
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Although the design is contemporary, the use of materials and patterns is contextual. Wrapping the towers externally is a GRC screen, matched to the colour of Agra’s red sandstone. Adapted from the old-style stone ‘jaalis’, it is suggestive of traditional architecture, while the extensive use of exposed concrete is a nod to the modern architecture of India.

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"McCullough Mulvin DPA Thapar University indiaartndesign"
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"McCullough Mulvin DPA Thapar University indiaartndesign"
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This striking project, shortlisted for the prestigious World Architecture Awards, stands true to its context and yet, makes a powerful statement in solidarity to India’s advancement. The second phase of works will complete in 2019 with the masterplan fully complete in 2020.

Fact File:
Client: Thapar University, Patiala, Punjab, India
Architects: McCullough Mulvin with Design Plus Associates, Delhi
Landscape architect: Integral Landscape, Delhi
Façade Consultant: K. R. Sureish, Axis Façade Consulting, Mumbai
Location: Patiala, Punjab, India





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