The campus design presented here for SNJB College of Engineering at Neminagar, Chandwad, was the winning entry in a competition conducted by the SNJB trust for the selection of the project architect. Shri Neminath Jain Brahmacharyashram trust was established in 1928 at Neminagar, a 30 acre site at Chandwad, a town 60 km from Nashik in Maharashtra. The organization has been developing and maintaining educational infrastructure ranging from preprimary to post graduation in varying fields like arts, commerce, science, medicine and pharmacy on this site for the last 75 years.
The larger Neminagar site primarily constitutes various educational buildings which have come up on either sides of an axial internal road, climaxing with the engineering college building at the end of this road. The engineering college site, located at the foothills of the Sahyadris, is partially contoured and clearly visible at a distance as one drives up the approach road. These factors, combined with a naturally occurring stream or nullah that traverses the site from side to side impacted the form and layout of the college building.
The circular shape was the most appropriate answer to questions of suitability to site conditions, traditional symbolism as well as strength and purity of form. The circle, or bindu, is perceived as a source of infinite energy, as in symbols from Jain Cosmology like the Sri Yantra. The circular wall of the college building binds all the departments and functions together giving them a singular form and entity. This is envisaged to be the source of infinite growth of knowledge that revolves around a centripetal force which is the central courtyard.
The circle as a form also lends itself easily to form a perfect fit in an odd shaped plot. It also gives the building a strong and impactful image, to be noticed from a distance and be cherished in the memory for long. Thus said, the internal layout of the college design follows straight edges.
The functional zoning has also been inspired by traditional symbolism as the nine departments and functions fit into the nine-square plan of the Navagraha Mandala. The circulation within the engineering college is primarily a movement between the centres of various functions which open out as courts along the corridors. An attempt has been made to create points of interest and interaction within the vertical circulation as all the stairways are unique and a standard staircase block has been avoided. The floor wise development of built form, as seen in the graphic is a natural fallout of all the above mentioned factors.
Due sensitivity has been accorded to the natural features of the site by retaining the nullah as a waterbody that welcomes one on arrival and also provides a recreational open waterfront near the canteen. The form and syntax of the entire scheme is such that the building blends naturally with the surroundings and nestles between the hills as one among them.
The centripetal force of the college is the central courtyard which is not only designed as an amphitheatre but also attracts the students to include it in their path of movement across the college building in the course of a regular day. The visual axis can be tracked from the entrance porch to the central courtyard and further through the tutorial block courtyard to the temple atop the hills.
Neminagar, Chandwad District, Nasik, Maharashtra
Shree Neminath Jain Brahmacharyashram, Neminagar, Chandwad
16000 sq. m.
All, Decade 3 (2010-today), Institutional, Interior