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Sharanam – By Award Wining Indian Architect Trupti Doshi

Based on Pondicherry’s rural landscapes, Sharanam is a local NGO’s cultural institute for rural development. The institutional building is built on the remains of illegally quarried landscapes. Read on as we explore Sharanam by award-winning Indian architect Trupti Doshi. 

Image source: auromaarchitecture.com

The project is set in a rural background; it encourages the involvement of local materials and labor. As an environment-conscious NGO, the client required an ecological design to reflect the cultural and sustainable aspects of the site. Trupti Doshi, one of the best Indian architects in sustainable strategies, completed Sharanam in May 2014.

  • Building Name : Sharanam
  • Location: Pondicherry, India
  • Architect: Tripti Doshi
  • Building Type: Cultural Centre for Rural Development
  • Primary Building Material: Earth

The building complex includes a large multipurpose hall with a vaulted roof and meeting spaces, studios, and other miscellaneous spaces under a 5-acre plot. In an attempt to heal the damaged landscape, you might find abundant plantations like eucalyptus and palmyra trees.

Thi article shall discuss all the sustainable aspects of Sharanam and its ecological designs reflecting the cultural part of the space. So without any further ado,

Let’s dive in!

Trupti Doshi Design Approach

Trupti Doshi is a Mumbai-based architect with over 15 years of experience in ecological designing, environmentally friendly materials, and sustainable strategies. As a co-founder of Aroma Architecture groups, she expands her expertise in various types of buildings. The Sharanam Cultural Centre in Pondicherry is an example of her famous works.

Trupti strongly believes in nature as the ultimate teacher and highest inspiration. Her work styles include

  • Eco-friendly designs and materials
  • Innovative and appropriate building techniques
  • Rainwater harvesting technologies
  • Waste control and management
  • Energy efficiency 
  • Thermal balance and comfort,
  • Implementation of renewable building materials

Design Challenges

Image source: auromaarchitecture.com

Sharanam is an inclusive institutional facility that accommodates a primary multipurpose hall (500 people seating capacity), reception, meeting rooms, administrative office, computer room, kitchen, dining, and restrooms. 

Every site and project has its challenges. Even Sharanam had its own!

Some of the main difficulties it had to address were,

  • Ecological flexibility– The design had to withstand the ecological conditions and add a positive impact to the space. The highest standards of sustainable design strategies were the need of the hour.
  • Climate responsiveness– The site is located in a scorching and humid climate. In summers, the temperature rises over 40 degrees Celsius and ranges with humidity over 80%.
  • Cultural significance– Being a cultural institution, Sharanam demanded a cultural relevance that can relate to the roots yet impact an inspirational future. 

But wait, the challenges don’t end here.

The project also weighed the significance of being the iconic representative headquarters for its other 400 branches worldwide. 

Can you feel the urge for a significant and inclusive design outcome?

However, it’s needless to say, Trupti Doshi and Jateen Lad handled these challenges with strategic sustainability and cultural principles.

Features of Sharanam

Some of the strategic design features of the culture center include-

Natural Lighting

Did you know transitioning to sustainability can increase your building efficiency on multiple levels? And one such way to increase efficiency is by incorporating natural lighting to reduce the operational cost of the building.

Funnels for Breeze

To amplify the airflow within the building structure, Trupti Doshi oriented Sharanam perpendicular to the breeze flow. Strategic placement of walls and columns invited better air circulation. To improvise it further, they designed the surrounding landscapes to regulate airflow within the building at lower levels and hot air to escape through apertures in the higher levels– instantly cooling the building.

Enhanced Cooling System

Sharanam explored different cooling techniques to increase the airflow benefits and avoid air conditioning. A radiant cooling system reduces the internal temperature by circulating cooled water through pipes below the floor level. Other than this, you can find cooling options like courtyards, water bodies, cavity walls, roof gardens, angled columns, and ideal building orientation. 

Natural Acoustics

Since multipurpose halls require ample electric supply to regulate sounds, Trupti Doshi adapted natural Acoustics by strategically planning the vaulted roofs. Thanks to this expert guidance, Sharanam is now working efficiently without a microphone for seating up to 300 people. Can you feel the drive to reduce energy consumption? 

Zero Waste Technologies

The thirst to optimize sustainability within the structure encouraged using zero waste technologies. You will be spellbound when you realize that the reduction in the vault thickness from 150 cm to 9cm reduced cement usage from hundreds of bags of cement to mere 33 bags. The entire building works on zero waste principles and is entirely recyclable.

Image source: auromaarchitecture.com

Material and Construction 

When you build the most Ecologically resilient structure out there, what will be your choice of material? Well, Trupti Doshi opted for the very Earth where the building was erected as its primary material. However, the team utilized it in two ways, such as 

  • Rammed Earth Foundation and
  • Compressed Stabilized Earth Block 

Rammed Earth Foundation

Image source: auromaarchitecture.com.

The structure surpassed its sustainable structural troubles by incorporating rammed earth foundation pits. They built these pits by neatly digging out the existing earth and layered them back in layers by mixing them with cement. 

Even though the foundation lacked any concrete or steel for reinforcement, it excelled in its performance. The resulting foundation pits were 3 feet deep and strong enough to hold seven storeys over them.

Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB)

Image source: auromaarchitecture.com

The soil dug out is evenly sieved and mixed with cement to shape and stabilize the blocks. The team included local labor to curate these CSEBs. As an exciting accomplishment, the CSEBs were more potent than the market-made varieties, almost double in strength.

Economically, the blocks cost 1/10th of the standard bricks. And as for the environmental benefits, they used no transportation cost or fuel since the locals made the blocks from the site’s earth. These blocks didn’t require burning, thus saving energy and avoiding excessive carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere.

Conclusion

As a cultural institute built on the damaged landscape, the sustainable aspects of the structure add glory to its environmental vision. The strategic planning and designing of the project increased the efficiency of the building and reduced its operational cost. Whether breezy airflow, well-light interiors, or acoustical strategies, Sharanam by award-winning Indian architect Trupti Doshi assures the best. 

By Hajara Banu

Hajara Banu is a professional architect, content writer, and strategist. She is on her journey to share her love of architecture, design, and content creation. Besides writing, Hajara loves coffee and often experiments with cooking and organizing in her free time.

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