Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) in Ahmedabad is an autonomous institute that aims to build institutes for entrepreneurs through intensive training programs. That is designed by Hasmukh C. Patel architects. They also arrange provisions for research into entrepreneurship and training for tutoring on the same. EDII keeps an open mind towards all businesses and experiments with new models and target groups. In other words, EDII is a “research institution, training institution, and institute building institution”.
The institute started in 1969 as a night school under the guidance of economist Dr V. G. Patel. The project was initiated as an experiment with a small fund, with a slight hope of being successful. He developed a body of knowledge to test different models of approach, which arose from critical questions. In 1983, Ford Foundation offered to fund EDII if they could build institutes in other states, especially those inactive in entrepreneurship. Thus in four years, several other states established institutes and decided to construct the main campus. EDII achieved national recognition by 1983. A committee put forward a proposal for a competition, from which the selected architect was Bimal Hasmukh Patel.
Concept of Design of Entrepreneurship Development Institute
The main idea behind the design adheres to the brief provided by the committee of EDII. The brief mentions a well-landscaped campus with minimal use of artificial energy. It calls for a modernist approach with elements of traditionality. Thus, the design resulted in a vernacular structure with influence from Islamic and Colonial architecture prevalent in Ahmedabad.
The design has influences from the architect’s thesis study in California on Indian-Islamic architecture. As a firm practicing a modernist approach, the campus is an exemplar of Indian Modernism. The area of courts is in proportion to the height of the campus with interconnected courts and corridors. The structure follows a brick-concrete construction similar to the campus of IIM in Ahmedabad.
Context of Site
The location of the campus is adjacent to the national highway connecting Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar. The site is a flat plot that was once farmland later acquired by the government. The vegetation is sparse with clay loam soil. Situated in a hot and arid region, a structure climatically responsive to the site is one of the crucial challenges. There arises a need for proper shading devices as the light is strong and harsh on-site. The area of the court and height of the building is proportional as such a scale is typical in traditional architecture and helps to ventilate the building. The vegetation that grows within the courtyard further cools the campus.
Function of Various Blocks of Entrepreneurship Development Institute
The campus consists of seven blocks interconnected by axes on two axes on the east. Block A and B are hostel blocks that are similar in design. Block A is one-storeyed with ten rooms, whereas Block B is two-storeyed with twenty rooms. The rooms have attached bathrooms and air-conditioned. The planning of each room is modular, with an area of 29.16 sq. m. Block C is at a corner point between A and B. It consists of two dining halls with kitchen and catering facilities. All blocks except Block E shares a large courtyard, whereas blocks D and F share a smaller court with Block E. Block J is a library and forms another court with blocks E and F. However, the classrooms follow modular planning arranged to achieve maximum ventilation. Apart from the seven blocks, an auditorium functions at the rear end of the site.
Indoor spaces Openings
The interplay of light and shade brings a unique feeling of the known and the unknown. Although modular with rigid walls, the spaces interlock one another in a fluid-like pattern. Also, the courtyard forms a small niche that passively ventilates through the verandah and upper floors. The essence of Indo-Islamic architecture beautifully incorporates contemporary style. The planning and circulation spaces within the campus resemble the cul-de-sacs and the streets of Ahmedabad. The windows recess inwards to tackle the harsh heat directed on the site.
Outdoor Areas and Materials of Entrepreneurship Development Institute
The exterior walls are mainly load-bearing, with a few being reinforced concrete in spaces with larger spans such as lecture halls. Also, a steel truss roof covers the entire campus. The exterior brick walls are left unfinished except for a few doors. The walls, ceiling, and columns are exposed brick, whereas floors use well-polished Kota stone.
In addition, landscaping is an essential requirement from the brief. It follows two different outlooks on the same site. Firstly, the areas near the buildings sufficiently planted with trees as it requires the least maintenance.
The trees planted are evergreen and follow a grid pattern that is characteristic of Islamic architecture in India. Secondly, the courtyards make use of larger trees such as Batam to provide more shade. The courts are stone-paved on one side and patch with grass on the other.
Entrepreneurship Development Institute in Ahmedabad is one of the greatest tributes to indigenous Indian architecture. Every nook of the campus is reminiscent of the traditional architecture of a past that once flourished. However, the project reached completion in two years from 1985-1987 with a total cost of 17.4 Lakh Rupees.
Moreover, the jury panel appreciates architect Bimal Patel “for his confident use of formal elements growing out of the Indo-Islamic architectural heritage. A series of geometrically structured courtyards and loggias are the primary organizing framework. The variation of open, closed, and transitional spaces provides light and shade, and creates an inviting environment for work, interaction, and repose.”
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