Photography: Andre J Fanthome

By thedesignvillage, July 31, 2017

The concept of intervention

The derelict, defunct, economic and industrial landscape of the erstwhile factory that manufactured Kattha-an ‘add on’ to Paan (responsible for the theatrics of the red colour imparted to the palate and lips)-a reality of the past has been transformed into a dynamic educational landscape, with a vision for the present and an aspiration for the future.

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With the premeditation that students would never learn in a conventional atmosphere, but would gravitate towards explorations and discoveries that constantly provoked out-ofthe-box thinking, instigated questioning and facilitated seeking of answers , its concept was founded on creating permanence out of make-shift spaces without losing the essence-that of architecture in continuum. Abundant light was brought in, cellular voids were collated and tied up in a narrative to make large, open and multiple interaction-spaces. The many big, small and almost always grotesque machines were installations in space; they would become companions to students-bearing testimony to technology as well as hand driven processes, they would find themselves playing a new role as ambassadors of industrial aesthetics. The true colours, surfaces and forms of materials were retained; even imprints of emissions, stains of chemicals and by-products celebrated as textures of the past with stories to tell. The minimalistic vocabulary created a frugal material palette- pine wood, glass, cement-plaster, steel. Existing structures were propped up, unsafe ones completely redone, deconstructed columns and beams reused in the spirit of adaption and frugal economics.

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The program of the reuse was similarly designed to optimise circulation, to segregate areas that had less to do with each other or unite areas that had much in common. The niche of the condensation room-its double height volume, the skylight that accentuated the verticality of the machines made it suitable for the founder’s room. The twin rooms comprising the computer lab and the library, manned by a central desk are positioned in the cold storage spaces where the refrigeration enabled the crystallisation of the Kattha. The mere corridor where a machine that repaired other faulty machines was placed nonchalantly is now a spacious and well lit gallery for the mentors to redirect their thoughts after a rigorous session with students. The now silent boilers where wood chips were burnt to give the extract can be seen poised dramatically punctuating the core space of the campus-the cafeteria. The machines where the remaining wood was burnt, keep them company here.

Interestingly, the journey through the tdv campus is like a flashback in time and space; reversing the journey of the assembly line process.

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