The first two cluster groups of student hostels, designed by gmp Architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners, as part of the masterplan for the new campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at the western edge of the Hyderabad agglomeration, have been completed in 2017. The building type designed for the project can be developed into an extendable modular urban structure, which will be used to create accommodation for around 20,000 students over the next 20 years.
The metropolis with seven million inhabitants at the heart of India has been the capital of the newly founded state of Telangana, formerly Andhra Pradesh, since 2014. As part of this administrative reform, the reputable Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IIT) expressed its wish to combine its scattered facilities on one campus with high design quality and architectural diversity. Contracts for the different building tasks and construction lots were awarded to three design teams, using a two-stage application procedure. As the only international contender, gmp, together with Indian partner practice ASTUTE Engineering, was awarded the contract for all student hostels and the associated dining halls, as well as the main administration building, the campus school, and the clinic.
The image of the newly created campus, which has been designed for 2,000 students in this current first phase, is dominated by the eight student hostels for boys and two student hostels for girls, each with 196 single rooms, which were completed and occupied at the end of 2016; in addition to the hostels, the associated dining halls, and thus the first construction lot, have been completed. Inspired by the guiding image of leaves and branches that grow on a tree and share the same roots, the concept of the leaf-shaped cluster was created, which defines a new format of social living in which everything is embedded in the landscape and connected via the architectural elements. In order to be able to develop the campus step by step in modular fashion, the design concept is based on a six- to ten-story basic building type, the plan layout of which is composed of four "leaves" in sequence. The shape of the leaf is a recurring motif. Like leaves scattered throughout the campus by the wind, the multiplication, addition, and grouping results in a carpet of buildings, which also creates green, shaded, and well ventilated inner courtyards. The various combinations of the modules made from four “leaves” in east-west or north-south orientation generate numerous constellations of semi-public space between the buildings. In the interior of the development, small single-story, flexibly usable pavilions (120 m²) have been added for communal activities. In between there are fields for sporting activities. In the future, tall trees will provide additional shade in the open spaces between the buildings. Emulating the pattern of four leaves on a branch, the standard floor layouts consist of two clusters with sixteen single rooms each that are grouped around an internal communal space and share sanitary facilities. These residential groups are connected like "branches" by circulation cores as well as a pantry in the center. This creates flowing, meandering spaces that open up to balconies at the curved building facades. The open first floor zones accommodate barrier-free residential units as well as parking for bicycles. Each stairwell features its own color code, thus creating easy orientation and recognizable addresses within the residential area. Additional shaded exterior space is created on the roof terraces that formally top off the buildings.
Owing to the consistently hot climate in Hyderabad, shading and cross-ventilation, and protection against heat and dust, are critical parameters for the design of the buildings. The curved facade consists of alternating, horizontal bands; in contrast to the white plastered closed surfaces, there are open surfaces of rust-red painted vertical louvres (prefabricated concrete components), the coloring of which makes reference to the red earth in the vicinity. The fixed fitted louvres have been positioned at 45 degrees to the sun’s rays, so that the interiors benefit from maximum shading throughout the day regardless of the sun’s position. The distance between the louvres varies depending on the function of the rooms behind. For example, in the area of the approx. 9 m² single rooms, the louvres are closer together in front of the bed to provide maximum privacy and darkness, and are wider apart in front of the desk for good daylight and views. Sliding glazing has been provided for these rooms only. This enables permanent natural cross-ventilation of the corridors in the hostels. In addition, underfloor cooling (comfort cooling), which is a new technology for India, ensures a permanently comfortable interior room climate. This system works by conducting cooled water through a system of pipes in the floor, which makes it possible to lower the room temperature by five degrees compared to the outside temperature. Another objective of the design was to develop a high-quality building module, with a robust construction and unique conceptual design, which can be economically and efficiently implemented by local partners and construction companies in India.
Formed in 1965 by Meinhard von Gerkan and Volkwin Marg, the architects’ practice gmp is taking on responsibility for a project from its outline design idea through to the construction and interior design. Over a period of more than 50 years all gmp-partners and their team’s completed more than 410 projects to date and won over 380 first prizes in architectural competitions. Most famous is their airport architecture: Berlin-Tegel was opened as a drive-in airport in 1975, which is until today renowned as a blueprint for this typography and started gmp unprecedented history of success.
The practice’s architectural approach is characterized by the Vitruvian criteria: solidity, durability and beauty. Beyond this approach, the practice always complies with the different certified guidelines applicable in different cultural spheres, as agreed with the respective client. gmp is currently involved in several projects around the world, operating in more than 16 countries.