Sangath is the studio of architect B. V. Doshi designed by him located in the historic city of Ahmedabad. This cluster of white curved vaults with arched openings is one of the most recognizable buildings in India. The studio reflects upon his philosophies on architecture and influence from architects Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. Completed construction in 1981, the total cost of the project was Rs. 0.6 million.
Concept of Sangath
Sangath stands for “moving together” in Sanskrit. Thus, the concept behind this masterpiece is evident through its fluidity and its interaction with nature. Although grounded to its local context, the structure has a modernist approach in its design.
The meandering trail towards the studio projects beautiful vistas on either side. Decorative pots and sculptures adorn the well-maintained gardens. The patterned tiles demarcate the direction while bringing mystery simultaneously.
The environment organically modulates around the sunken vaults as landscape elements and reflective pools. The vegetation is strategically placed to the site conditions yet visually appealing to the visitor. One could easily walk on the terrace and peep through windows, as some of the vault structures are below ground level.
Sangath conceals behind a wall in a serene spot that contradicts the bustling city of Ahmedabad. The site area is 2346 sq. metres while the total built-up area is 585 sq. Metre. The interior spaces are climatically responsive to the hot and humid climate. The orientation of the building facing winds from the southwest and west sides facilitates natural ventilation. Dense trees tackle the intense heat from the west and south facade.
Architectural Features of Sangath
The studios have a double-height volume surmounted by vaults with skylights placed in different corners. They permit natural ventilation into the studio by forcing hot air to rise due to the stack effect. The studio also consists of mezzanine floors where people can work in intimate spaces.
The mosaic china tiles coving the vaults bring texture and simplicity to the facade. The white tiles impact the microclimate within the buildings in two ways. Firstly, the tiles provide the surface area to reflect the light and diffuse the intensity of light entering. Secondly, the white tone absorbs less heat into the building. The pavements and roofs make use of crushed tiles and other waste materials. The smooth white walls for the interiors infuse spaces and bring continuity and harmony.
Vaults And Storage Walls at Sangath
The vaults increase the interior volume to provide space for hot air to rise. However, the radius of the vault structure is about 2.5 meters and has a thickness of about 22 centimeters. Also, its curvature causes light to reflect and redirect within as indirect sunlight. The unplastered walls are about a meter deep and hollow that perform two functions. It is used as storage space for the studio while also cooling the interiors.
The entire interior portion of the building is underground. Moreover, it facilitates natural insulation by using earth masses. The structure sits along the site’s contours, thus the undulating nature of its volume.
Water Channels And Pools at Sangath
The water channels run along the periphery of the terrace. Also, the terrace is slightly curved such that the storm-water collected drains into the troughs. The water passively cools the building while enhancing its visual ambiance and playfulness.
The main spaces in Sangath are as follows:
- Interaction Spaces
- Design Studio
- Conference Room
- Recreational Spaces
Architectural Influence of Sangath
The great masters of architecture inspire and continues to do so through their buildings. A few of the inspirations observed in Sangath are as follows:
- Ear shaped pool – Le Corbusier
- Amphitheater steps – Alvar Aalto and F. L. Wright
- Broken china mosaic – Antonio Gaudi
- Water pool and fountain – Louis Kahn
The climatic responsive architecture has created the following impact:
- A significant difference in temperature of about 8-degree Celsius.
- Reduction in cooling energy by 30-50%
- Water conservation and cut costs on water
- Cut costs on finishing by 10%
- Recycling waste materials
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