New Delhi based Architecture Discipline is a firm that strongly believes in using local materials and traditional design ideas to build projects that are beautiful, modern and sustainable.
Architecture Discipline was established in 2007, and since then it hasn’t been shy of using Indian building materials and know-how to build structures that are eminently modern and in line with contemporary standards of functionality.
This has resulted in a repertoire that features projects that are minimal, sustainable, earthy and sturdy enough to survive the vagaries of time. Their project statements talk of ‘architectonic intervention’ and express great sensitivity to the culture and built legacy of site locations.
Led by Akshat Bhatt, Architecture Discipline is one of the rare Indian architectural firms that rely on traditional Indian styles and designs not as pretentious add-ons but as genuine inspirations. The following three projects well display this predilection.
Discovery Centre, Bengaluru
The Discovery Centre is a 37,000 sq. ft. town hall that sits at the heart of the 125-acre Bhartiya City township. The brief required the Architecture Discipline team to build a structure where the site and sales office could be set up, and people could mingle and explore information about the various initiatives of the client.
It had to be sustainable in design and execution, on a strictly tight budget, and also distinctive in form, befitting its purpose. Additionally it had to be easy to move, as the structure is scheduled to be moved to another spot after 6 years.
But the design team’s imagination was unhampered by these heavy demands. Red was picked as the stand-out colour to paint the egg-shaped auditorium that sits amidst a lotus pond, and also the granite staircase.
To stretch all limits of modularity, an earth-fill plinth, a truss system, water-based paint, frit printed glass, local stone and flora, a photovoltaic power set-up, and lots of natural light and air infusion were brought together to good effect.
The project is a demonstration of the team’s ingenuity with cost-effective green ideas for construction.
The Indian Fashion Store, Gurgaon
This store is as smartly crafted as the apparel it displays. Neelsutra: The India Fashion Store in The Oberoi, Gurgaon, stocks pret collections in a suave shell of muted blackboard sweeps, and glorious timber.
Taking a cue from the design label’s inspirations, the team from Architecture Discipline has created a high-end space using traditional Indian timber and design ideas instead of exotic elements. Planks made out of 11 Indian timbers – Padauk, Neem, Babool, Rosewood, Teak, Sheesham, Deodar, Spruce/Pine, Mango, Hollock, and Eucalyptus – seem to zip through the place like shooting stars, enhancing the 2,200 sq. ft. area’s linearity.
The timber was finished using Neem Tree oil, and the planks were separated by the width of a five rupee coin. In keeping with the name, there are auras of enigmatic blue breaking through the wood and kohl-polished blackness.
Adding to the elegance are the many spots of distressed zinc detailing. Admittedly, the demeanour of the store was fashioned after the experience of being inside a hut. The team took a unique idea and executed it with remarkable expertise, which overall manages to only complement the clothes.
Mana Banakpur, Udaipur
This Mana Ranakpur project perfectly captures the principles that Architecture Discipline holds dear. It embraces all the charms of its location, it uses local materials and labour, has put in place many green features, and has still managed to build a beautiful structure that meets all client expectations.
Mana Ranakpur is an elegant homage to its neighbours – a river, a well-known Jain temple, and an old haveli – and Udaipur in general.
The abundance of sandstone and stone masonry work employed here keeps the spirit of the desert resonating through the hotel. Its aesthetics are kept up by rubber wood furniture, vinyl jaalis, roomy spaces, tons of natural light and air, many water features, and glass jharokhas.
Structural steel and trusses keep the structure solid, while rainwater harvesting and grey water irrigation seal its sustainability credentials. Admittedly, the team wanted to rise above kitschy, shallow representations of traditional Rajasthani motifs and build something more genuine and long-lasting. They have succeeded in impeccable style.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photos Akshat Bhatt and Jeetin Sharma