Completed in 2022, the Manipal School of Architecture and Planning (MSAP) is a new private architecture school located in Karnataka. The school is affiliated with the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), a deemed university that hosted a closed-by-invite design competition, for the design and construction of the New Faculty of Architecture Campus. After a series of 5 rounds of discussions and shortlisting, the prestigious project was awarded to The Purple Ink Studio based in Bangalore.
With a vision to create interwoven and fluid spaces, the 1,45,000 sqft campus was built on a dense contoured land of 3.9 acres presenting a design philosophy which is innovative yet sensitive. “The inherent characteristics of the educational spaces need to reflect the ideological framework and be rooted in the context. The design program went through a lot of reinterpretations to understand the true essence of an institute of design learning,” share Nishita Bhatia and Akshay Heranjal, principal architects at the firm.
The design program is divided into four blocks placed across the site. Wind direction being the important factor in the orientation of the blocks, they are located around a central open space; an informal stepped forum for faculty-student interaction that is coloured in the red hues of terracotta. This open space offers panoramic views of the valley and becomes a place for thought and contemplation.
The court also offers a visual window to all the blocks internally. The circulation is thus planned around it with meandering staircases connecting the terraces at various levels, all of which are deliberately kept open to the sky, working like interactive pockets offering visual connectivity. The flooring of the court is derived from the monochromatic tones of granite stone available in the region and the flooring patterns are derivatives of the shadows formed by the buildings.
Inspired by the conspicuous religious centre, the Udupi Shri Krishna Matha, which also denotes an entry portal to the old city, the curvaceous steps leading towards the auditorium and administrative spaces make for an emblematic entrance. The material palette is utilitarian while keeping in mind a myriad of cultural nuances. The Ceilings are exposed concrete with speckles of colours derived from the shared cultural landscape of the region.
With biomimicry and sustainability as some of the core values guiding the design parameters, Manipal School of Architecture and Planning is an experiential structure in itself, one that is grounded in both regional and topographical context with the 'proportioned harmony of forms bounded around nature, encouraging a dialogue between the two'.