Viksat Knowledge & Training Center

The site identified for the ‘Viksat Knowledge and training center’ is located to the northwest of the existing Viksat buildings. The existing buildings are circular forms with conical roofs arranged in groups of three and are approached from the east and south east, linked to each other by pedestrian walkways.

We found the land north of the existing administration area to be a more immediate and compelling natural setting for the new facility for Viksat.

The decision to limit sprawl and contain the built form within a definite zone was central to the organization of the plan. A circular retaining form holds earth better. The same wall as a shear structure into which the new building anchors itself for stability against lateral forces was the next pertinent decision towards a sustainable approach to resolving structure. This wall performs multiple functions both as a unifying feature on site and in setting the direction of the architectural response. Its position, tangential to an existing bund that holds water to the north is the generator of the curve effective in guiding water gently away from the building that flows from the higher slopes to the southwestern lower reaches of the site to a detention pond.

The lower floor is at grade with the existing contour that causes minimum disturbance to the existing topography and balances the cut and fill.

The area defined by the retaining wall and the new building is sensitive to all existing trees on site. The architectural gesture composes all the trees to the south as part of the open courtyard outside the training hall that becomes a deeply shaded spillover area. The existing clusters of large Ardusi trees define plinths and become natural markers for the courtyard between the existing and the new building.

We have proposed a simple method of erosion control wherein small shallow trenches about 15 cm wide and 45cm deep are dug almost 45° to the direction of runoff. These are filled with gravel or brickbats and covered with chicken wire mesh. The rate of flow of water along the slopes during rains is significantly reduced resulting in water percolation in the topsoil. Root structures of grasses and other ground cover species develop well because of the mesh resulting in better erosion control. The trenches also relieve excessive moisture buildup in the ground that can cause slippage of earth in the event of excessive rains. This is a minimally invasive method of erosion control along unretained slopes pertinent to preservation of existing flora on site.

Water – First use and second use of water- Decentralized methods

First use – The current primary source of water is a bore well mainly for use in washing and landscaping. The added component considered as part of the new building is ‘Rainwater’ using roof top collection and surface run-off from the hard landscape. Rain water harvesting (Blending with bore well water to increase potability and eliminate dependency on R.O or bottled water systems) for the entire facility. This is proposed in the north court outside the training halls using the existing retaining wall as one face of the tank- Capacity 93,000 litres.

Second use of water (water from bathrooms, kitchens, toilets and other uses to be used for landscaping with some treatment)

Second use
Decentralized wastewater treatment (located within the paved south court).

After the first use, the waster water from kitchens and toilets would go through different channels for detoxification as follows.A small septic tank to remove solids is lead to an anaerobic baffled tank reactor to digest degradable substances. The anaerobic reactor is fitted with an anaerobic filter that deals with nearly 90% of the treatment and makes the water fit for leaching into a planted gravel filter. The water that emerges from the planted gravel is leached through a bed of planted ‘fragmites’ species and other root zone species along the western slopes and collected in a detention pond to the south west corner at the lower most contour. The detention pond has plant species like water hyacinths, lilies and umbrella palms to name a few along with a stable proportion of fishes and tadpoles to control mosquito and insect larvae. Second use water is an excellent source of nutrients for vegetation and shall satisfy the water requirements for the landscape during the dry months thus completing the intended cycle.

The site lends itself appropriately to such methods of decentralized waster water treatment, which must be explored as part of this development.

Orientation of long axis of the building SE-NW with southwest openings. Gravity vents over upper floor roof to facilitate continuous air change. Desert cooler assembly integral to building in office areas. Cut outs for air change between floors of the office and training facility to create a stack effect for passive cooling.
Training areas and offices orient to NE and SW for maximizing day-lighting. The building section is designed for harnessing reflected light using horizontal planes at the lintel levels to deflect light into training areas.

The training hall, which is seen as the main feature of the center, is located on the ground level along with utilities and is approached from the upper level using an internal staircase. The upper level houses offices spaces, waiting and reception areas, as well as the guest suites to the far west end of the floor. Easy connectivity to existing buildings is possible from this level. All the functions are contained within a single rectangular floor plate and a curvilinear roof. The building has a linear functional organization juxtaposed with the curve of the retaining structure resulting in interstitial spaces that allow for punctuations of light and airflow within the building. The location of the new building guides movement from different areas to its core to define a center, an aspect that was lacking in the current organization of buildings on the Viksat campus.
The roof is composed of hollow terracotta modular roofing modules (traditionally known as ‘Huradi’ blocks. in the south) These blocks are arranged between pre-cast terracotta modular units cast together with nominal steel reinforcement to make beams that rest on a three dimensional lattice truss. This is a cost effective thermally stable and sustainable roofing alternative.
Display screens and partitions between spaces are proposed using perlite impregnated concrete panels to reduce weight encased in aluminum frames and M.S supports making it an economical, acoustically sound, and thermally stable solution.

Client : Viksat NGO
Location : CEE campus, Thaltej, Ahmedabad
Architects : indigo architects, Ahmedabad
Design Team : Uday Andhare, Mausami Andhare, Mitesh Panchal
Consultants : -
Site Area : -
Building Area : -
Completion Year : Un-built
Civil Engineers : -
Photo Credits : Uday Andhare