Vipassana is one of the most ancient techniques of meditation which got lost centuries ago and was reintroduced in India in the 20th century. Vipassana is a way of self transformation through self-observation and thus we have aimed that the architecture of the center follows these principles and makes it easier for every student to go on an individual journey. The technique is taught at a ten-day residential course where one observes noble silence during which students learn the method, and practice sufficiently to experience its result. Experienced students/sadhaks can further opt for 30 day or 60 day long courses.
We approached the design such that it's sustainable and ensures minimal carbon footprint and maximum thermal comfort.
The set of structures in the campus are:
1. Separate Female and Male housing
3. Main Dining and Kitchen centre
4. Two structures for collective Meditation: Dhammahalls
5. Two structures for individual meditation: Shunyagaar
6. Teachers residence
7. Office structure
The meditation spaces are placed along the central axis of the campus to divide the male and female student housing which fall on either sides of it. The main entry to the campus is from one corner of the site which part is most public. A depression in land next to that which is also the lowermost area of the site forms a natural water reservoir. As one moves inside the campus, the spaces start getting lesser public and more inward looking.
The housing, the meditation hall and the solitary meditation units are all designed keeping the basic needs in mind, trying to be as sustainable as possible, using building materials that are natural, using natural ventilation methods to reduce dependency on artificial cooling techniques.
The Dhammahall was the most challenging yet interesting design problem where the light, the wind and the sanctity of the space has to be maintained through the architecture, the positioning of the building, the opening sizes, the opening directions etc. The series of inclined walls with openings used in Dhammahall was crucial to achieve a lot of what is stated.
Preliminary design team :
Hitarth Majithiya, Naomy Parikh, Netra Bafna
Execution team :
Hitarth Majithiya, Richa Panchal