Program: To design a Hindu temple complex for the ISKCON Trust at Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Site characteristics and Location: The site is located in the Ahmedabad City of Gujarat in India where temperatures are in excess of 40°C for 8 months of the year. The plot with an area of 2,80,000 sq.ft. is owned by a religious trust ‘ISKCON’ and the this temple would be the only cultural project in the vicinity.
Design description: In response to the hot arid climate, the numerous facilities that form the requirements of the trust that wants to build it are all located under a large grass covered roof.
The facilities include meditation rooms, prayer halls, a library, a museum, priest rooms, a free food restaurant and ancillary spaces.
Through centuries temples built in India of different scales constitute of similar design elements. One of the most important of these is the “shikhara” which is a curvilinear conical high roof above the main deity in the temple. The shikhara allows the temple to be visible from afar being the highest part of any Hindu temple.
The main temple space is designed to cater to over 5000 devotees who will be visiting the temple on all auspicious days and festivals of the Hindu religion.
The large space is comprised of numerous dematerialized two dimensional planes derived from the basic shape of the shikhara which gradually move upwards towards the centre above the deity.
The spaces between the planes have traditional “jali” screens that increase the flow of air whilst casting interesting shadow patterns within the space.
The circulation is only a straight spine that traverses levels while being flanked by water pools, progressively passing all the temple facilities before reaching the main temple hall where prayers are offered.
This large temple is designed in response to the climate of its location. While the temple facilities are flanked by earth berms to keep them naturally cool, the main temple hall is cross ventilated through the spaces between the planes.
The facilities are naturally lit through the progressive central linear courtyards and he temple hall is lit by silver of light on the northern & southern sides.
The temple’s basic plan & configuration is derived from traditional temples alluding to the past with the deity facing east as is mandatory.
Its volume is expressed by fragmenting the traditional ‘shikhara’ shape into a series of planes that allow the large structure lightness in perception.
Construction system: The structure is an RCC framed one. The traditional ‘shikhara’ shape is dematerialized into 2 dimensional planes of concrete which gradually move upwards towards the centre above the deity, creating natural ventilation gaps that are screened using GFRC (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete) Jalis.
Sanjay Puri , the Principal Architect of Sanjay Puri Architects, India has been a speaker and a judge at numerous international architecture events including the LEAF & WAF.
His firm founded in 1992, has won 100 international architecture awards including 4 Chicago Athenaeum Awards, 8 WAF Awards, 12 World Architecture Community U.K Awards, the LEAF , 5 Architizer Awards, 3 Hospitality Design Awards, 14 MIPIM Awards and several more.
His firm has successfully completed over 600 projects totaling over 60 million square feet.
Sanjay Puri and his firm of 72 architects now, continue their quest for creating sustainable design, charting new territories of spatial perception simultaneously imbibing the intrinsic values of Indian heritage & culture within their design solutions.