Administration and Research Facility for VSSK
A Storyboard by SJK Architects
Administration and Research facility
Vikas Sakhar Sahakhari Karkhana in Latur, Maharashtra
PROJECT AREA: 1.5lakh sq.ft. | Ongoing
The brief called to create a highly sustainable workspace and training centre, which would include administrative, academic, dining and residential blocks. The vision of the project was to demonstrate local pride through intelligent, sensitive and contemporary solutions to the climate, geology and culture of Latur, summed up as ‘demonstrative of intelligent sensibility and sensitivity for life’. Latur, located in the parched, hot innards of Maharashtra is famous for its sugar production facility and more recently infamous for drought. The clients, a sugar production facility, desires to build a research and training centre for better agricultural practices and better facilities for their staff.
The project requires to be entirely environmentally sustainable - utilising the best practices for building in these climatic and soil conditions. Latur being hot and dry, the design proposes for the openings to be small, walls thick, small courtyards that create convection currents and stone and brick as building materials for high thermal mass. With the soil being largely black cotton and the cost of stone construction being too high, the first quest in the process was to identify the correct building insulation and be procured locally. Thus, the use of locally made fly ash bricks, an industry born out of waste generated by thermal power plants around Latur, as infill in an RCC framed structure seemed contextually most appropriate. Through collaborations with vendors, experiments with local materials were carried out in order to achieve right texture and tone, aesthetically.
Following that came a search for a design language, which also evolved from the solid facades with small shaded openings. However, the historical use of the arch, the scale of shaded courtyards, and streets were also researched in great depth and aided in generating a master plan for a set of buildings that will eventually become the core or the magnet for the 100-acre industrial campus of the sugar factory. The resultant design replete with passive and active energy resources, water harvesting methods and a very careful use of resources relies on form, light and scale to create an environment worthy of the possibilities of building in hot and arid Latur.