Gurgaon-based r+d studio works on the principle that collaborative design is a better approach than one right solution. Their endeavour with every project is to respect the client’s aspirations, without compromising on the creativity aspect.
And, partners Shikha Doogar & Shridhar Rao believe that the best way to achieve this is through “a strong dialogue with the client which results in architectural solutions of greater eminence, precision and performance”.
In a bid to redefine established norms and explore new possibilities, the studio goes beyond traditional architectural tools and engages cutting-edge technology. The firm’s attitude is reflected in their motto – to blur boundaries by feeding into art, media, sociology, sustainability, technology, fashion, and graphic design.
Multipurpose Block for Delhi Public School, Noida
One look at the Delhi Public School building on Noida Expressway and you wonder if it is the creation of a giant baby stacking blocks. The structure which resembles a tower of blocks, caught mid-tumble helps create a friendly, fun ambience for the young students. The prominent constraint in this project was the constricting area and the task at hand for r+d studio was to maximise efficient use of space.
The result is a structure which houses a swimming pool, a 400-seater auditorium, multipurpose halls, squash courts, a cafeteria and a library within the academic school block. The monochromatic exterior is in stark contrast with the use of vibrant reds and oranges in the interiors. The use of colour in the furniture, floor and the structure is the binding element that ties the building together in a central theme.
The plaza surrounding the multi-purpose block pulls the children out to experience the amphitheatre, play areas and the grounds. The swimming pool, auditorium and cafeteria are each accessible through separate entrances, which ensures that the circulation indoors is restricted.
For Shikha Doogar, the auditorium is one of her favourite spaces in the building. She says, “There is rawness, a playful quality to it which is very appealing. We were able to generate the wow factor despite working on a stringent budget.” Another interesting element to the building is the peek-a-boo like effect that has been created by cutting out atriums from the building from which one can peep out and look at the courtyard, etc.
Primera House, Gurgaon
While designing the Primera House for designers Shivan and Narresh, r+d studio had two key considerations to keep in mind – one, the lifestyle of the clients meant that the house had to perform the multifunctional roles of live, work and play. And two, their brand’s fashion philosophy, that is colour blocking, needed to be reflected in the interiors.
The plan accommodates for segregating the house to serve multiple purposes – from a cosy family den, to a design studio to spaces to exhibit their love for art and a space for hosting soirees. The universal monochromatic colour scheme ensures that the flow between the various spaces is seamless.
The interiors are minimalist, thus providing an ideal backdrop for the owners’ expansive art collection. A play of volumes, materials and interplay between light and shadow has been incorporated in the architecture of the house. The use of contrasting materials further accentuate volume blocking – for instance the use of corten steel against stark whites as well as the aluminum grooves to break the monotony of white blocks. Colour-blocked carpets and brass highlights bring a subtle touch of glamour which resonates with the brand’s image.
The Primera House is a true collaborative effort between the studio and the client. While the interior design and planning has been the handiwork of the team at r+d Studio, the interior décor was largely conceptualised by the designer duo, Shivan and Narresh. The knowledge and understanding of design adds a unique touch to the interiors.
Victory Heights, Dubai
Victory Heights, a primary school in the Sports City of Dubai, came with a minimal brief – a space that is conducive to a child’s evolutionary development where he/she is driven to act, explore, discover, invent and be inquisitive. The team at r+d Studio had the freedom to interpret the client’s vision and conceptualise the project accordingly.
The result is a cluster of squat buildings, which give the school the appearance of being a little children’s village. The complex is divided into two broad wings – primary school and kindergarten. A courtyard between the two becomes the space for the two age groups to converge and interact. The common spaces that act as an extension of the classrooms and string together the various clusters represent the ideology that learning should be seamless.
The purpose of each space and interdependence between the spaces was analysed to ensure efficient planning. Clusters have been strung together around different pods of interaction depending on their functionality. Colour played an important role to bring about playfulness and a childlike exuberance to the school complex. Bold primary colours have been incorporated in the glass walls, the canopies in the playground and carry on into the interiors as well.
The layout ensures that maximum natural light floods into the interiors to help create an environment that is conducive to learning. An interesting feature is the traditional mashrabiya that is carved with the familiar Islamic geometric pattern. Flanking the bridge and the staircase, this design element anchors the school to its geographical and cultural setting.
Text by Himali Kothari
Photographs Edmund Sumner (Multipurpose block for DPH and Victory Heights, Dubai),
Nivedita Gupta (Primera House)