Studio Lotus-designed Krushi Bhawan in Bhubaneshwar is a sterling example of sustainable architecture in India
We celebrate World Environment Day today with a project by Studio Lotus. Check out our June issue for more about the multidisciplinary sustainable design practice
A modern Government facility in the ancient temple town of Bhubaneshwar, Odisha - Krushi Bhawan is an ongoing project that exemplifies how a structure can, via design exploration and formal understanding, celebrate local context, craftsmanship and sustainability - thereby becoming a cultural landmark for the city.
An institutional space being built for the State Government department, the 1,30,000sq-ft. project was originally intended solely for official use. Studio Lotus suggested incorporating certain public programmes which would enable significant parts of the facility to be included within the social infrastructure of the city. As a result, the entire ground floor has been conceived as a free-flowing stilted area that connects to the pedestrian circulation from the street.
Programmatically, the project comprises a learning centre, library, auditorium, training rooms, garden and a public plaza, while the offices have been moved to the upper floors. The accessible terrace, too, has been opened up to the public as a demonstration of urban farming.
The building has been conceived in three distinct colours of brick, which represent the colours of the local soil of Odisha, especially through the traditional Ikat pattern-inspired expression of its brick-louvered façade. The material palette uses a combination of indigenous materials such as exposed brick and local stones like laterite and khondolite and transforms them through innovative approaches such as pigmented bricks for the Ikat pattern-inspired skin, amongst others.
Designed as a passive-cooled structure with a night purging ventilation system and a high thermal mass, the building exceeds most green building rating parameters. It includes a brick-louvered facade that ensures that all the glazing is externally shaded, thereby reducing energy consumption and cost, making the entire structure highly sustainable. Along with rainwater harvesting, a special anaerobic bio-digestive solid waste management system is being developed where solid waste will be regenerated as compost, and sludge will be treated to obtain water for the landscape.
The collaborative design approach by Studio Lotus, wherein they are consulting and employing local artisans, weavers and craftsmen, lends authenticity and integrity to the institution. The project promotes sensitisation to local materials and explores new ways of integrating regional identity in a contemporary environment.