Academic institutions take great pride in creating signature buildings to enhance their symbolic impact. When the International Institute of Information Technology was looking to establish a facility in Pune, they wanted the architect to create a building that celebrated engineering ingenuity.
The first phase of this IT training institute included the academic building, hostel and cafeteria. The academic building was to be the focus of the entire complex. The hostel and cafeteria were seen as auxiliaries. As a result, the academic building became the showpiece of the entire development.
Institutions of higher education thrive on ideas and passionate debates, so it was important to create informal spaces for exchanges and interactions. The central atrium spine adds to that facet of the institute. It features varying levels and volumes interspersed with landscaped elements and a central water feature. The design of the atrium further endeavours to bring the outdoor ambiance into the built environment which is enhanced by the numerous cut-outs in its vertical plane.
The roof structure is the most captivating element of the design and spans the entire academic facility through a range of activities. The idea of the roof flanking the block is analogous to a tree as a sanctuary for learning and is derived from the ancient Indian way of learning and its value systems. The entire structure has an open quality to it with a single roof element. Additional vertical roofing elements were included in certain directions to protect the indoors from heavy rains.
The columns that are solid pylons in the lower levels manifest as metallic columns in the higher levels where they support the exposed roof. The roof has a two way support system; it is held up by the column flares from underneath and the same columns rise and hold up the roof in suspension by means of steel cables. The roof with exposed steel trusses, columns and metal sheets also projects a severe machine like aesthetic. In the end, this high tech facility does blend the application of technology and values with a bit of drama.