MEDIUM OF KNOWLEDGE
International Design Competition
Capitol Complex, Chandigarh, India
In collaboration with Lan Nguyen
Knowledge is dynamic. It is constantly being expanded, challenged, rectified and honed. The museum format alone is a limited building typology as it suggests sense of permanence, whereas knowledge is dynamic. We decided to integrate a gallery into the concept, as it is much temporal, experimental and creative. Public art as people voice and opinion are essential in governmental society. The space becomes the medium to tell the rich story of current and desired story of the society, to display public commentary, glimpses of knowledge created by the inttellectuals and interpretations for what the future could be. This is The Medium of Knowledge.
The site is bound by two main circulation axes, the access road, and the main plaza of the Capitol Complex. The intersection of these axes is at the Martyr’s memorial, where the journey through the Medium of Knowledge will begin. This proposal acknowledges the horizontality of the site, while exploring different ways to touch the site. The location of the program rationalizes the level difference, merging at the threshold between the road access level and the main Capitol Complex level. This proposal plays will levels in the site with volumes emerging and submerging from this threshold.
Existing Martyr’s memorial becomes integral part of the design, providing scenic journey leading to either sub-merged open courtyard adjacent, the new Martyr’s Courtyard, or open landscape where visitors can explore different spaces to their preference. Play of levels allow flexible entries to different spaces, blurring the boundaries resulted by the existing contextual topography, merging the landscape north and south of the proposed site.
Shaded areas are extremely important in Chandigarh due to the hot climate. A colonnade of trees highlighting the axes of the proposal begins at the front of the MoK. Crossing the bridge over the ramped pool the colonnade transforms into shaded courtyards with planters and steps for sitting, and water elements for the intellectuals to retreat to while providing evaporative cooling to the adjacent spaces. The existing trees located north-west of site will be retained to contextualise and formulate the route of the jogging path leading to Town of Kansal, and secluded naturally-shaded meditation areas. Screens are located at the south east face of the Knowledge to control natural light, while glazing lines of the building are pushed back direct sunlight entering. Skylights, punctures and open courtyards are introduced to deep spaces to provide diffused natural light while adding dramatic effect to the experience of the occupants or visitors.
The materiality of this proposal will consist of a simple palette, referencing the brutal finish concrete of the Capitol Complex, while the use of play of natural light and different typology of wall lightens and contrasts the visual weight of the material, giving distinctive experience to each and every space.