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Revitalization of Sanskar Kendra

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Thesis Project by Rahul Jadon, an architect and urban planning enthusiast from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee rests onthe revitalization of existing cultural complex and re-interpretation of the fundamental design principles of Le-Corbusier. The project was the winner of NASA – Archi design Award 2014.

Sanskar Kendra formerly N.C.Mehta Museum of Miniatures in Ahmedabad was part of an extensive cultural and education project that Le Corbusier envisioned.The museum, designed in the Modernist style, proposed separate pavilions and areas for different subjects like anthropology, natural history, archaeology, monumental sculptures, workshops and folklore sin open air. It also included a pavilion for theatre called miracle box. But out of the whole planned cultural center envisaged, only the museum was built.

Present Condition of Sanskar Kendra

Since 1992, the museum displays history of city,freedom movement and independence struggle,textile craft, architecture and also Gujarati literature. On the second floor, the museum is partially used for elections and storage area for election commission. The box has become silent (or as expressive) as a cargo ware house in absence of a sufficient number of exhibitions and inadequate maintenance.

Program and its evolution

The Sanskar Kendra campus is located in a fairly populated area and is used for temporary exhibitions and other political and social congregations. The population of the surrounding areas has no place for social interactions in the vicinity which man dates that this site be developed in an extrovert way. There is also a river front development proposed near by, so a muted emphasis has to been gaged along that direction as well.

  • The site is surrounded by hotels and lodges so tourist inflow to the site is well considered
  • A large part of site is left vacant to accommodate exhibitions and other social congregation. The existing office of heritage cell and AMC are retained for the feasibility of project
  • Provide education and training areas to educate the youth about the city and culture
  • Serve as a platform of cultural up gradation and exposure to artists
  • Digital library, media and internet zone for attracting the student sand youth
  • Archive section and art lab for digitalizing the historical data anational level
  • Recreational areas, Haat and open landscaped green space


The basic driving conceptual strategy was the reinterpretation of the concept of the ‘Museum of Unlimited Growth’ as conceived by Le Cor busier.He had envisaged a continuously horizontally growing spiral contained within a grid and a box which would beadle to cater to the growing collection of any volume. The setting of the site and the context inherent therein have also to be in some way incorporated.This context goes beyond just the built and the unbuilt, and veers and ventures towards society, economy, philosophy and culture. The geometry has been retained as puritans which reflect on both the additions on the main building as well as the insertions. Methodology of research follows an analytical framework from the beginning of the project in 60’s and then analyzes those ideas on contemporary and contextual grounds.

Siting and spatial organization

A cube stands on supports with an entrance from below into the midpoint of the structure from which the rooms spin out in an endless spiral. This idea of‘The Museum of Unlimited Growth’ is the notion of a small nucleus that grows gradually as per the future demands into an expanding square spiral plan with parallel halls based on a module.

Retaining dominance of existing masses is achieved by placing office block behind the museum and byorienting the whole complex towards the river Sabarmati. The insertions in front and the right of the museum are subterranean so as not to confront with the existing; also it goes in lieu with LeCorbusier’s philosophy of dominance of the built over the site- central and dominating. The project reinterprets the growth to be vertical so as to save upon land which currently is a much more precious commodity than what it was earlier, resultantly, a lot of space would be saved on the ground which will be put to other usage (also in accordance with his principles).

Grid and structural system

The 7mx7m grid of existing building is followed. The constructions a combination of reinforced concrete frame and free wall system, demonstrating the rational construction system proposed by Corbusier for new architecture of 20th century using concrete. The materials of the insertion over the museum building is in steel,aluminum and glass so as not to challenge the existing brick mass –visibly or physically.

Concept of open court

Le Corbusier’s courtyard was symbolic of openness, invitation,connectivity and climate. The feeling of openness is revitalized by opening it towards the river and making it accessible through the open space. Courtyard and pool were placed in center to invite people from three sides. Built mass was in these directions, creating a functionally relevant space in centre to serve as an entrance lobby to new insertions. It also evokes the feeling of deepness while moving down the staircase. The buildings have been retained in all their mystic glory with no physical or visual aberrations whatsoever. The subterranean connections and galleries are climatically responsive, have a sense of openness, the parasols acting as a mystical play of light and shadow within. The connectivity of the museum with the administration block by a skywalk is inspired by the same interconnections within the courtyard.

Built mass and Massing

Office building is placed in an enclosure defined by a raised platform and concrete wall is placed parallel to visual axis created by facade of Sanskar Kendra. Heightof the new office block is restricted till that of the old structure and the space inside is veiled behind a mildly translucent wall so that the emphasis remains on the museum building. The massing of extended block is reduced-as compared to existing as a respect to the existing building. Lightweight and translucent materials are used in facades to retain the dominance oft he existing built mass.

Landscape and Design features

The golden ratio has also been used to space allocation in office building, to identify and locate the openings and open to sky part.Office block has separate entry,exit, and parking space to avoid disturbance to public inflow and their functioning. Roof garden above the museum compensates for the lack of the same on the ground and in lieu with the Corbusier philosophy of roof as asocial element.

In landscape, maximum retention of existing trees and green spaces has been done so as not to disturb the existing ecology. Trees have been retained and scattered plantation has been done along the boundary to create an inquisitiveness or curiosity with regard to the built masses inside.

A slightly sub grade sculpture garden connects the Museum complex and the Tagore Hall. It is depressed inside the ground to create a mystical enclosure within itself and such that it doesn’t compete visually with the surrounding. Water body is added at the side exits of the Tagore hall. The flow is symbolic of the orientation of the site towards the river as conceived by Le Corbusier for the museum building. The pool and its edges also act as congregation spaces where people can sit, relax and socialize.

Vast open spaces have been left in the site for various functions and activities which are congregational in nature and goes with the Coriolanus philosophy of minimalistic ground coverage and maximizing open spaces.

Mounds have been created near the boundary to exemplify the builtin built within the site. These not only create a beautiful sitting space but also mystifie the scenery as seen by a passer by.


Site terrain and assets are utilized to create subterranean spaces with optimized cut and fill,land management, earth cooling and efficiently used resources Controlled fenestration towards south and west

  • Large opening towards SE to harness cool winds
  • Subterranean structures for earth insulation
  • Terrace gardens and water body in direction of wind, to reduce ambient temperature of campus
  • Landscaping and semi covered areas suitable for city climate
  • Controlled dynamic facades with louvers
  • Double glazed systems for passive cooling and will harness solar energy
  • Intense Plantation on site and also inside the building
  • Hard paved areas are minimized to mitigate urban heat island effect
  • Solar panels are used for energy generation
  • Water harvesting system and water bodies are located on lowest lying areas of campus

Visual elegance with modern technology

A second-skin facade is a reversed climate facade with a ventilated air cavity between an inner sheet of insulated glass and an outer sheet of single layer glass. The distance between the two skins can be between 0.2 and 2 meters depending on the concept and system detailing. Sunscreens are usually fitted in the air cavity directly behind the outer sheet, and the cavity can be naturally ventilated utilizing the Venturi effect to supply air to inside windows. Facade provides a semipermeablemembrane that allows thebuilding to breathe, while keeping outthe elements. Modern alternative for the climate of Ahmedabad.

The lighted gallery provides the building with a new envelope and establishes a visual relation with the people that will increase the foot flow into the campus which is required for campus revitalization. The building utilizing the principles of bio climatic architecture in facade, looks for real ways to exploit climate or, more specifically,the ambient energies available in the form of light and heat.



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