• A University Gathering Area that Scripts a Powerful and Distinct Vision | Triple O Studio

    ‘The Orb’ stands by its intellectual values and is a stated gathering area for all things extraordinary, like its purpose.

    “In the beginning was a vast open space” – undefined, nondescript and ordinary, part of a playfield of the sprawling Kumaraguru College of Technology campus, in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India. Matched against this priceless asset were the lofty visions of the university gathering area – to not only reiterate and redefine its four-decade identity, but to motivate its variegated student community to self-propel itself to higher level of achievements. The baffling question before it was “how?”

    Editor’s Note: Although the design of the community gathering space, “The Orb,” is simple and minimalistic, the intended impact is awe-inspiring. The circular shape itself allows efficient circulation while creating more intimacy. Its lightweight form is limitless and is open to multiple activities. One can meander through the garden, becoming a focal point for the entire university. – Gopika Pramod

    A University Gathering Area that Scripts a Powerful and Distinct Vision | Triple O Studio

    The University imposed no limits on the proposal. It’s concept was simple. It had no design brief; no space requirements; no specific site, no budget. It was ambitious yet nebulous.

    The first step in the design process was to anchor the idea to a specific, immutable location in the master plan; in a manner that its position could never be undermined; nor it’s status ever be reduced. The existence of a prevailing but imperceptible axis served as the spark.

    The idea of a vista suggested itself. An iconic flag mast, visible from far and wide, and hosting the Indian Tricolor, was to become a fulcrum around which the rest of the campus would rotate. At 115’0” in height, the mast has a valid claim to be the tallest in the region.

    The national flag by its very presence exudes an aura of positive emotions in the onlooker. It was a sanctum marked for veneration. A subdued circular structure, 60’0” in diameter, encasing the mast, was an automatic choice; a subtle, porous and unassuming structure that offered an invitation from any direction.

    One part of the University’s grand vision of redefining itself was thus conceptualized.

    The second part of the University’s vision – to stimulate its student community – was to foster interactive usage; to create a welcoming, democratic and an encumbrance-free O.A.T space under the benign shadow of the sanctum; a sort of temple of activity through self-realization.

    The two spaces fused themselves into each other and took on the mystical form of a loop. An overall duality of usage was sought to be achieved. The smaller loop, the sanctum, represents the Nation through its Tricolor while the larger one, the O.A.T, represents a healthy democracy.

    An identical visual and architectural language was adopted for the larger loop, with gentle meandering ramps more or less guiding the visitors to a low podium.

    The permanent seating arrangement is calibrated to suit a variety of needs. Designed in two ergonomic levels of varying widths, it encourages varied configurations. The bookends of the seating have been soothingly tapered landscaped bed.

    The translucent tensile fabric roof was chosen symbolically as the wings of a bird in flight. While the flooring pattern in the sanctum is truly a work of craftsmanship, in the atrium it is more illusory.

    In fact, if the vision of intellectual stimulation were to be reduced to physical terms, then this arrangement has fulfilled that dream.

    The entire project celebrates subtlety and is marked by an architectural simplicity in the usage of its colors, textures, shapes and illumination. It almost reminds one of those famous lines from Tagore’s poem: “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free……..”

    Fact File

    Designed by: Triple O Studio

    Project Type: Institutional Buildings

    Project Name: The Orb – Flag Pavilion

    Location: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

    Year Built : 2022

    Built Up Area: 24756.99 Sq.ft

    Principal Architects: Ar. Tahaer Zoyab

    Team Design Credits: Anupriya Subbian, Ar. Tahaer Zoyab, Sarojini Gandhi & Vigneswaran

    Photograph Courtesy: triple o Pixel & Binsan Oommen Baby (Bob)

    Client: Kumaraguru College Of Technology, Coimbatore

    Structural Consultant: Duvo Engineering

    Landscape Consultant: Vanavarayan Institue Of Agriculture, Pollachi

    Contractor: Sujan Consortium

    Firm’s Website Link: Triple O Studio

    Firm’s Instagram Link: Triple O Studio

    Firm’s Facebook Link: Triple O Studio

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