South Asia University
Competition Entry for South Asia University, New Delhi
The South Asia University architectural competition allowed a broad canvas to explore a number of ideas related to culture, education, urban space and community. It provided the participants the specific challenge of identifying a South Asian identity that may seek representation, not only in urban form and landscape, but also methods of education that have been foreshadowed by a western legacy. It also posed the unique opportunity of creating a space of harmony between several nations pan Asia. As potent incubators of world peace and understanding,a large development of this kind, is a rare opportunity in itself that allows for rigorous thinking at the conceptual level without the fetters of other city level interventions.
Rethinking Modern Education: Towards a Built Pedagogy
In order to create a space that upholds cultural values of South Asian countries and promotes debate and discourse, the planners of the campus must also understand the way accepted notions about education are being challenged. The typical assumptions of such a thinking and new way of thinking about education are listed below:
- Learning happens only in the classroom
- Learning happens everywhere- on campus sidewalks, in playgrounds, in cafeterias and bookstores...
- Learning only happens at fixed times
- Learning can happen anytime anywhere
- Learning is an individual activity
- More often than not learning happens through discourse, through collective experience, in an atmosphere of debate
- What happens in classrooms is pretty much the same from class to class and day to day.
- The classroom is a dynamic space that must respond to moods, concerns, climatic variations.
- The classroom always has a front
- The studio classroom is a space where collaboration, co-learning and co-construction of knowledge happens.
- Learning demands privacy and removal of distraction.
- This is not always true. Sterile and silent spaces can be as much an impediment to learning. An environment where learning is the focus of all students is much more important.
As architects we believe that passive solar design is the best way to minimise energy use in buildings. The following steps towards a passive solar design have been taken:1) Longer faces of the buildings towards North and South2) West and East Facades mostly blocked to reduce solar heat gain3) A two meter deep facade protection system has been put in place to safeguard against direct solar radiation and glare.4) Building width kept to an optimum 16 -20 meters to ensure natural light penetration.Additional measures that utlises low-tech mechanisms for effective energy savings or to give back to the environment may be listed as:5) Use of deep recessed windows and fines6) Openable windows wherever possible7) Use of Earth Air tunnels to cool (in winters, warm) fresh air supply to Air Conditioning plant and direct cooling to non-air-conditioned areas. 8) Use of PCM (Phase change materials) in conjunction with earth air tunnel and water cooled screw-type chillers to further effect a 25-30% saving in air-conditioning costs.9) Use of recycled and green certified products wherever possible.10) Use of high performance glass in areas not protected by screens.11) Use of patented 'Soil Bio-technology' sewage treatment plant which utilises 1/10th the energy required to run a conventional FAB/SAFF type STP.12) Minimum and judicious use of grassing in landscaping. Use of indigenous and hardy local species of trees and plants.13) Terrace gardens that can be utilised instead of rooms for a variety of functions with a fraction of the energy costs during several times of the year.14) Rain water holding ponds, overflow harvested.15) We also propose air cooling technologies instead of 100% air conditioning especially in the hostels.