Auditorium with a purpose

The existing topography of the land was merged with the design of the auditorium

Agastya International Foundation is a non-profit educational trust. The 172-acre campus is set amongst the rolling hills of Guddivanka district in Andhra Pradesh. The foundation seeks to transform and stimulate the thinking of economically dis-advantaged children by bringing innovative science education to their doorsteps.

“The auditorium project has been envisioned with a clear understanding that all sites havestories. So if we designers understand the language of the land, we would be able to designsustainably, meaningfully, economically and contextually to the cultural determinants of thecommunity around and finally have a lighter footprint. So the questions in our mind were, howdo we capture the essence of the strong character of this beautiful site? Will our interactionmake or break the landscape? What we ultimately decided to do was to build along the lay of the land. Cut and fill became the process of integrating our structure to the slopes, hence the idea was eventually to merge the structure with the existing profile of the earth,” says the Mistry Architects team.

The large span, roof profile, construction timing and overall economy determined the necessity to propose and adopt a structural steel system and roofing. There is also the added advantage for adding and altering spaces for future requirements considering the flexibility of the material.Considering that the steel that supports the pod also, came out of the same earth lent a larger meaning to the architectural statement.

The skin of the structure was built from locally available brick and stone which served as a good insulation for heat and sound. The shale rock available in the terrain is used in combination with random rubble masonry, which in-turn adds character to the exterior.

Acoustical performance was achieved by the judicious use of local bricks along a curvilinear profile without any use of costly materials. Inherent properties of bricks became the material that satisfied our purpose.

Natural stone boulders were integrated in the structure and in landscape elements. Traditional methods of forging steel was used for bending smaller steel plates to profile.