The Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies in Lonavala is solidly environment-conscious, and has been built with the belief that all the cadets who graduate will carry that message forward.
How can a training institute best ensure that its students learn for life? Of course by setting up examples of its lessons everywhere on the campus. At the Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies, located in Lonavala, Maharashtra, and designed by Pune-based Christopher Charles Benninger Architects (CCBA), its 480 cadets internalise the vision of environmental-consciousness on a daily basis.
Completed in 2007, this award winning project arguably led the way in showcasing the green potential of modern educational structures. The institute was envisioned as a statement, and grooming grounds, in favour of a safe, efficient and environment-conscious maritime industry by Executive Ship Management (ESM) Pte. Singapore. The suitability of this vision has found constant resonance in today’s times of deep-set natural damage and the resultant disasters.
From the word go, this institute has shown the way forward. Its classrooms and halls are redolent with natural light and ventilation. Lush green patches punctuate the glass and concrete sub-structures in good measure.
It surprisingly manages to look über modern and traditionally earthy at the same time. Spread across a generous expanse of 38.6 acres, it encompasses multiple structures of varying degrees of boldness of form. The overall look and feel of the place is consistently clean and efficient, with a certain elegant bareness to it that can grow on you.
Naturally, the truly green elements of the institute are to be found beyond the aesthetics of the façades. The stand-out element of this project is a 300 ft-long photovoltaic solar wall. Located in the Maritime Workshop, it produces 60KW of electricity, and is one of the largest such structures in Asia. Another photovoltaic set-up is found in the south-facing Administration Building, which produces 30KW of electricity. All the clear glass walls let in brilliant amounts of natural light and warmth, paring down the need for non-renewable energy sources dramatically.
The campus also boasts of solid water-conservation credentials. Grey water from the premises is directed to the gardens by 2 bio-sewerage plants. The water-heating needs are entirely taken care by solar panels. Water management is ingeniously managed by a 28 metre tall central tank, through whose 4 vertical levels bore well water passes and is purified. Gravity-based distribution then takes over from the topmost level.
Temperature is regulated at the hostel with the means of aluminium louvers. The glass façade ensures substantial natural illumination yet cuts out the heat and cold swings. The dining halls are large airy spaces that face the gardens. The walls and roof here conjure up images of the ocean through murals of sea creatures in exposed RCC, and keep the diners good company. The amphitheatre, with its great views of the Western Ghats, and manicured and natural greenery, has the auditorium wall as a stage backdrop.
The design of the Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies was influenced at every step by three key inspirations – ‘efficiency, environment and safety’. That, coupled with the dedicated pre-sea and post-sea training, aims to ensure that the future of the maritime industry will remain in the hands of professionals whose environment-consciousness is evergreen.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs A.Ramprasad Naidu