Krushi Bhawan In Odisha Celebrates Local Context, Craftsmanship & Sustainability

Krushi Bhawan In Odisha Celebrates Local Context, Craftsmanship & Sustainability

From theoretically understanding what makes a space on a micro-scale to studying the dynamics of larger masses, we have come to understand that public areas serve as the fluid adaptable spaces that unite different typologies of private blocks. One of the things that separate a successful body from another is a strong sense of identity, adaptability, and purpose. From government bodies to public quarters, these areas represent the collective identity of a people and hence, it is of great significance that we imbibe our cultural and social identity into the walls of these blocks because it is through these blocks that will we communicate our narrative and culture.

An exemplary structure that has embodied this sentiment is the Krushi Bhavan in Bhubaneswar. Developed for the Government of Odisha’s Department of Agriculture, Farmers’ Empowerment, Krushi Bhawan in Bhubaneshwar was highly commended in the international World Architecture Fest. As the largest Architecture & Design convention in the world, the three-day festival brought together over 2000 architects from all over the world for a series of exhibitions, lectures, seminars, and tours, exhibiting a total of 534 shortlisted entries across 33 categories, prior to the selection of the winning entries at a live jury.

Conceptualized and executed by Studio Lotus, the design of Krushi Bhawan draws directly from its socio-cultural and environmental context. This intersection of craftsmanship and context is where the beauty of this structure lies. Expressing a unique visual identity, the distinctive brick façade of the building is inspired by Ikat patterns of Odisha handlooms, created from bricks that use clay in three different colours to represent the geographical diversity of the region. With the workspaces for the State Department and Directorates housed in the upper floors of the building, the ground level has been designed as a free-flowing public space that opens out into a plaza, fully accessible to the citizens and adding to the city’s social infrastructure. Concepts of an open plan facilitate a certain level of adaptability that helps a structure stay relevant over a long period of time.

The facade accentuates the Odissa brick-work and fabric

The project is highly sustainable, built almost entirely with materials sourced from the region. Such a gesture taken by a studio under the realm of government collaboration is an interesting step towards having refined and unconventional public spaces. It employs passive cooling techniques on principles of adaptive thermal comfort, with only 20% of the building air conditioned. It has rooftop solar power generation and 100 percent of rain water is harvested for recharge and waste water recycling on site.

The structure stands out in the context of public spaces

“The recognition of Krushi Bhawan at an international platform is a testament to the willingness of a Govt
agency and a public sector project management agency such as IDCO to go beyond their comfort zone
and engage in a new kind of architectural discourse, as it is to the indigenous skill-sets and traditional
crafts of Odisha; without the direct participation of these craftsmen, the project could not have been
realized in its present form.”

-Ambrish Arora.

Design Principal at Studio Lotus, the New Delhi based
multi-disciplinary practice that designed the complex

Relying almost entirely on local materials, the project brought together about 100 highly-skilled artisans led by Sibanand Bhol of Collective Craft, to create a vibrant and contemporary narrative of traditional Odia craft depicting agricultural folklore and mythological stories that were envisioned at an unprecedented architectural scale.

Exquisite panelling work serves as a detailed filter via which the larger open spaces can be viewed

Collaboration between studios and govermentment will ensure such spaces across India. Our country has a unique and complex fabric that needs to be carefull weaved into our public spaces in order to do justice to the quantum of history and context our land is home to.

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