Swadhyay Reading Room, Gandhinagar
Architect: BandukSmith Studio
Built on an open site within a BSF cantonment campus, the Swadhyay Reading Room building is designed for children of all ages. A beautifully proportioned roof that creates an intimate space on the edges of the structure breaks the crisp, regimental form. The architecture of the building lies in its transverse section.
The angle of the roof helps the architects to create a playful, mezzanine level within, flanked by hammock-nets that serve as a non-obtrusive edge. The books and the reading spaces double up as spaces to play, rest, interact and find solitude. The imaginative interior space is an unexpected revelation. While the building itself is simple, the plan articulates the activity and gestures towards an introvert space on one face while allowing the facing profile to open out with a better connection to the landscape around, especially the trees. An element of play beneath the tree is thus accentuated in the gesture of the roof.
The direct and obvious form of the building in the plan is broken by the sectional interventions. Simple fenestrations and gentle levels characterise the undulating ground-plane that forms the plinth of the structure. The most critical aspect of the place is its duly considered scale. The spatial experience of the interior space is made intimate and exciting while the transition from open to enclosed is designed with a wide threshold that activates the edge of the building.
Intelligently designed public places have a quality of nurturing interaction and activity. It is this essential quality that makes the Swadhyay Reading Room by BandukSmith Studio a space full of wonder and joy and therefore, this project is a citation project in The Merit List.
Photographs by Sachin Bandukwala