The Red Oasis / PMA madhushala
Text description provided by the architects. Pune’s suburbs now account for massive spread of thick affordable housing developments. In one of these growing and densely populated areas of the city, all developers were hustling for expansion, constructing unpleasant and haphazard habitats to live in. Amongst all this chaos, the client was determined to develop an ideal habitable environment for his users. He proposed midrise residential complexes built around a large open space in order to deliver well lit and airy habitats. Additionally, he also envisioned the open space as a breather to its surrounding and thus aspired transform it into an oasis of life.
The site is shaped oddly with a total area of 715sq.m and is overlooked by buildings from all sides. The design program was carefully carved out by understanding the lifestyle of the end user living in the surrounding apartments, which were compact and deprived of ideal community spaces. Accordingly, an associative program was developed/ comprised together consisting of an enclosed area, an open playground, a small library for kids, seating spaces, walking pathway and a temple.
The design was initiated by retaining the central open space and wrapping all the functions around it. A modular temple was placed at a common node and closer to the approach road for easy access as well as to obtain a large undivided open ground. Subsequently, the multipurpose space is aligned with the site margin and is taken lower into the ground influenced by the Pataleshwar temple of Pune.
When taken lower into the ground, a distinct micro environment is formed detaching the user from the surrounding built chaos. The whole site is covered in a single module and material to impart a sense of wholeness. Brick is selected for its many reasons namely affordability, versatility, availability and earthy texture. In addition, metal scrap from the site is used for doors, roof and furniture. Monolithic brick textures throughout the site strikingly contrast the mundane surroundings with a distinct character.
The built space of the common hall is divided vertically into two functions – a small library and a common space for multiple activities. The building juxtaposition is in such a way that its wall acts as a functional backdrop to the central open space. The walls are made of 9 inch thick brickwork and are curved to balance the center of gravity with the volume of bricks. Additionally, a series of arches run across the wall with reinforcement to provide additional support, while creating dramatic openings. A visually heavy roof is placed upon the thin walls giving a levitating effect. The built mass is crafted thoroughly, creating an artistic setting for the space.