An adaptive reuse project of architect Abin Chaudhari manages to revitalise the living and social fabric of a listless rural community on the outskirts of Kolkata.
Located in Bansberia, which is a peri-urban area outside Kolkata, Abin Chaudhari and his team created an architectural intervention which called for adapting an old two story structure into a vibrant lounge and Located in Bansberia, which is a peri-urban area outside Kolkata, Abin Chaudhari and his team created an architectural intervention which called for adapting an old two story structure into a vibrant lounge and community center.
The design team did not approach this project by examining the surroundings of the building in terms of typology, instead they aimed at a more contextual understanding of light, ventilation, lines of sight, shadows and the ilk to showcase how architecture should be experienced!
They created a dwelling inspired by Bamboo screens of rural villages in Bengal which provide a fencing, filters air and light and its louvered arrangement allows for the appreciation of the the sun path creating fantastic shadows within internal spaces.
The intervention on this old buiding was done by a meticulaous effort of stitching steel onto the existing structure. Keeping factors like maintenance and the building life in mind – where the design and structure remains relevant even 20 years down the line – steel was chosen as the primary material. With steel it became easy to manipulate and fuse the envelope with the existing concrete structure. Steel as a material offered more flexibility when compared to concrete. The edifice with its screen exemplifies pursuit of light.
It ingresses the right amount of natural light creating dramatic chiaroscuro across the floor planes and the walls within. In a few years, the firm foresees the screen to function as a green wall when covered with climbers. The porosity of the screen eventually facilitates natural cooling. S-W breeze that passes over the pool will result in evaporative cooling.
In terms of design, the sun’s movement (sun path) was monitored, prototypes were made to examine how the screen behaved and responded to external factors at different times of the day and seasons.
Almost every detail of the metal structure was designed by the studio with no structural engineer involved. Step by step, each detail for the joists, joinery, deck slabs, louveres, sheet folds, etc was created by the studio with the intent of exploring the core value of architecture.
The two floors are connected with MS steel folded plate staircase which is supported by a stringer beam. The lower floor holds the health and spa facilities, while the upper plane houses entertainment space and washrooms. The open louvers allow for the verandah to stay well ventilated while keeping the harsh south- western sunlight at bay by breaking it up into softer tendrils of light.
Designed as a curved, slatted surface, the crafted metal facade casts mesmerising shadows in the interior spaces. Rectilinear punctuations, crafted using sheet metal, strategically open out the spaces to the idyllic views outside. The changing shadow pattern animates the indoor space.In this project, Abin digressed from conventional concrete and conceived a sturdy concrete-free, all metallic envelope that’s attached to the old building. All the details were meticulously carried out in the studio – no structural engineer was engaged in this project.
Abin Chaudhuri recently shared a keynote at the Roca Think Turf event in Gurgaon. Partnered by Design Owl, Roca Think Turf is a series of architectural conversation that takes place across India. These exchanges aim to create a fellowship of thought leaders to deliver a better environment through a process of inquiry, dialogue and action.