IIT Bombay Student Housing – The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, is one of the country’s most esteemed technical and research universities. The 545-acre campus is located along the banks of the Powai Lake in East Mumbai. The campus enjoys abundant green cover due to its proximity to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The IITBAA (IIT Bombay Alumni Association) called for the redevelopment of the student housing blocks – H7, H8 (boys’ hostel) and H21 (girls’ hostel) – in order to increase the capacity of the existing blocks. Additionally, the design brief entailed the buildings to be Carbon-Zero and GRIHA qualified.

Architizer chatted with Rahul Kadri, Partner and Principal Architect at IMK Architects to learn more about this project.

Architizer: What inspired the initial concept for your design?

Rahul Kadri: Research shows that humans have an innate affinity with the natural world – a concept known as biophilia – and that the presence or absence of the elements of nature within our homes, offices, or schools, has a direct and measurable impact on our health and wellbeing. Therefore, IMK Architects’ vision for the hostel aims to create a holistic environment which is in harmony with the natural context.

© IMK Architects

© IMK Architects

What do you believe is the most unique or ‘standout’ component of the project?

A network of nine landscaped courtyards run between the three blocks, creating a street-like configuration that ultimately leads to a viewing deck at the edge of the Powai Lake. These shaded courtyards function as spill-out spaces for learning, recreation, events, and other collaborative activities. Additionally, such open spaces create identifiable pockets, fostering a sense of belonging among the students. At the top of each block is a vast, triple-heighted “sky lounge”, which has been provided as a shared space for recreation. The sky lounges offer splendid views of the Powai Lake and its surroundings.

© IMK Architects

© IMK Architects

What was the greatest design challenge you faced during the project, and how did you navigate it?

The proposal retains the footprint of the original blocks to preserve the existing trees on site. It also incorporates a design strategy that not only cuts down on operational costs and maintenance but is also paramount to increase circulation of natural air, thereby reducing the possibility of cross-infection and contamination. A network of nine landscaped courtyards run between the three blocks, creating a street-like configuration that ultimately leads to a viewing deck at the edge of the Powai Lake.

© IMK Architects

© IMK Architects

What drove the selection of materials used in the project?

The proposal calls for the use of sun-dried CSEB (Compressed Stabilised Earth Bricks) that can be manufactured on-site using locally-available materials, thereby reducing carbon emissions and transportation costs significantly.

© IMK Architects

© IMK Architects

How important was sustainability as a design criteria as you worked on this project? 

Sustainability was a crucial criteria. The proposal retains the footprint of the original blocks to preserve the existing trees on site. It also incorporates a design strategy that not only cuts down on operational costs and maintenance but is also paramount to increase circulation of natural air, thereby reducing the possibility of cross-infection and contamination. A network of nine landscaped courtyards run between the three blocks, creating a street-like configuration that ultimately leads to a viewing deck at the edge of the Powai Lake.

© IMK Architects

© IMK Architects

For more on IIT Bombay Student Housing, please visit the in-depth project page on Architizer.

IIT Bombay Student Housing Gallery

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