The Thapar University project in the Indian Punjab completes the campus grid with two ‘bookends’, the student residences and a Learning Podium with library, lecture theatres and a computer centre, two hubs linked by shaded pergola walkways. The main student residences are made up of seven towers; like chessmen, the towers establish a series of geometric relationships with one another in a walled garden, with a web of floating walkways above. They provide an innovative new model of high-density student living with bedrooms and social spaces - a mini-city - in an environmentally controlled environment, with extensive shading, water and green space.
Phase 1 of the student residences has now been completed and the buildings are fully occupied; four large L-shaped towers contain bedrooms for 1200 students around an ascending network of interlocking double-height common rooms; each tower is clothed in a red jaali screen surface - the other three blocks are due to be completed in 2019; a separate white block of student housing stands adjacent to it. Thapar University represents Irish architects working in the wider world; the unique design has been achieved through profound collaboration with the University, with our partners DPA Architects in Delhi and in the context of the great tradition of contemporary architecture in India such as the work of 2018 Pritsker winner Balkrishna Doshi; an Irish ability to listen, to become involved, is a part of this process. India is experiencing a massive expansion in its infrastructure - not least in education - and our practice is honoured to be participating in this development. Everything in India is made through a process of discussion and agreement, finding sustainable ways to build, to live and to make architecture in a very particular climate and culture.
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