Concrete and brick mass for Noida institute
Photography: Andre J. Fanthome
Noida-based Archohmhas designed the National Institute for Faith Leadership, which was to build a structure that reflects nationalist and liberal Islamic virtues.
The institute features an interplay of light in space and time and occupies a sprawling 53,383 sq. ft . The basic form is a mass with a hole, with a courtyard that allows light to flow in. Surrounded by an ascending stone wall, the palm courtyard is positioned at mid-level, rising two floors of the structure to maximize the entry of nature, light and greenery. The wall further encloses the center court and winds into a courtyard with a ramp, making the space special-needs friendly.
The basic brick mass comprises a multifunctional set of classrooms, language laboratories and faculty spaces. They open up to the courtyard through a wide veranda, which doubles as a meeting space for discourse. The reception at the entrance, an office floor and the Vice Chancellor’s residence enjoy light through lightwells that allow a clean closed external mass, expressing Islamic values. Two concrete volumes extend out of the brick mass, facilitating a slit of light further exaggerated by a large circular window. A large dining hall punctuated by a semi-circular opening, which radiates a crescent light bouncing off the offset concrete walls – blending tradition with modernity, completes the floor.
The library is a double-height space with a large circle of light with bare stone floors, concrete walls, wooden structures, double-height bookstacks, a desktop multimedia library and seating. The multipurpose hall on the other side has a prayer hall, a gathering space and a space for lectures – all bathed with sunlight through a circle and slit.
The entire mass is covered with a concrete cantilevered plane, symbolizing the breaking of the shell (mind), as an overhanging shield of concrete shades the campus but opens up to the arch. The floating floor on the top has star triangles with white and yellow renderings, representing geometric Muslim motifs, creating an interplay of forms over the internal courtyard with the light of the sun.