Mangalayatan University, Aligarh by the Pavna Group

Project head: Lokus Design Pvt. Ltd.

Spring-boarding off our previous collaboration with Lokus Design Pvt. Ltd. we decided to work together on an invited competition to prepare a Campus Master Plan and Conceptual Design for a new university in Aligarh, India. Since the brief provided by the client was quite general we took it up on ourselves to develop the complete conceptual model for the university. The proposal included an entire business model, right from the re-interpretation of the basic philosophy of the client up to developing brand and tentative press campaigns. The architecture became part of a much larger strategy toward the holistic success of the university.

‘Today, market requirements and university education have no apparent common direction’. The central question we put forth was framed between the two poles of academia and industry. What is the role and responsibility of education toward industry? Is this even a valid question? Several models were prepared based on contemporary scholarship and  guidelines put forth by the government of India. We felt very strongly about developing a model that relied on the collaboration of industry and academia. Students should be prepared for industry without compromising on the principles and ideals of academia. For this, university education must encourage teamwork, seminars, group discussion and presentations as pedagogical methods, methods that would better prepare the student for life ahead. Furthermore, interdisciplinary work must be encouraged by emphasizing it in curriculum and teaching method. The project created yet another opportunity to explore architecture as a formal and spatial response to curriculum and pedagogical method.

Our proposal stressed on making a continuous environment, a fabric of sorts, where different disciplines within the university lose significance. Hierarchically, exhibition and presentation space (grey), formal and informal meeting space (white) structure and actually modulate the scale, type and form of the otherwise non-hierarchical built-scape. The clarity of disciplines was not our primary concern, in fact we exaggerated mode of teaching and learning. At the core, the university provides an intimate, inward environment conducive to one-on-one interaction with its periphery dissolving into landscaped areas allowing isolation or group activity. The structure of the university master plan is revealed from within a seemingly disorderly graphic once these relationships are understood. We presented the conceptual design on a square site to emphasize its idealistic nature.

Conceptual Design for the Mangalayatan University

A continuous fabric

Bird's eye view of the university campus

Presentation, exhibition and meeting spaces structure the built-scape

An intimate, inward core

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