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Generous Architecture

August 15, 2012

The exploration

The inception of the process was marked by a visit to the Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo for identifying the generous quality about that space which made the physical encounter with it an overwhelming experience. Moved by the varying light intensities that characterized its spaces, I investigated the various tools and strategies for achieving and controlling indirect light through the medium of working models, leading to the ‘artefact’—an abstraction of this physical connection. The scheme was then expanded by means of repetition, multiplication and grouping to give the ‘Assembly’.

Further schemes in search of the light generated ‘generosity’, and the subsequent alterations and refinements corresponding to the incorporation of the spatial brief, circulation, and a suitable urban volume led to the non-programatic building model.

Final Proposal- Student housing

Finally the major adaptations due to the much later injection of the program, which was a Student’s Hostel, yielded the Final Building Design where in the intentions and the results achieved in the working models are seen in unison, as one physical entity.

The final proposal creates spaces with atmospheres distinguished from each another by their varied light intensities and qualities. The main tool employed for achieving this has been the light well, to which the individual spaces are either opened up or blocked on any particular level giving different depths of penetration. At places, the light well terminates into a space thereby providing top light and hence a brighter area than the ones above—which derive their light from the side. Also, some light wells merge others, either creating a wider light path or wrapping a space on more than one side. Finally, the glass faces adjoining these light wells vary in their heights. As such all these strategies which are used to control the light conditions, together help every space to extract a different amount and quality of light from these light wells, creating a contrast in the array of spaces that flow across the plan as well as the section. The light conditions thus achieved create a sense of ambiguity as on the one hand they give the users a factual measure of their position relative to the top, and on the other hand, they sometimes deceive them in that respect.

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