Project Name: Aatam
Practice: Sameep Padora & Associates
Firm Location: Mumbai, India
Completion year: 2022
Gross Built up Area: 20000 sqft
Project Location: Kota
Design Team: Vami Sheth, Aparna Dhareshwar, Akanksha Sharma, Archita Bandopadhay, Kunal Sharma
Structural Consultants: Sameer Sawant
MEP Consultants: ARKK Consulting
Others: Adnan Kasubhai, Raj Kachalia, Nikhil Bang, Anand Jain (Graphics)
Photo Credits: Suryan Dang , Kunal SharmaMore Specs
Excerpt: Aatam is a hostel designed by the architecture firm Sameep Padora & Associates. Aatam has a residential program mix, containing hostel rooms for students and a residence for the family that owns the plot.
(“Text as submitted by the architects”)
Aatam has a residential program mix, containing hostel rooms for students and a residence for the family that owns the plot. Six years in the making, the project is located in the dry and hot climate of Kota, Rajasthan. The town of Kota in Northern India is a coaching hub for training students to take entrance exams to study at the coveted IIT engineering colleges in India.
Every year around 200,000 students move to Kota, spending a minimum of a year at coaching classes living in private hostels specifically made for student housing in the town. This temporal population drives the economy of the Kota. Kota occupies centre stage for the IIT aspirant, so much so that it spawned a popular OTT show that highlights the travails and tribulations of student aspirants living there.
While the coaching centres are as state of the art as any other such educational institute in the country, student housing is neglected and devoid of much thinking. Natural Light ventilation in social spaces is mostly absent. There is a high risk of failure in getting through the IIT exams, which can be psychologically oppressive when coupled with the severity or lack of sympathetic living spaces. The Kota hostel is a small beginning in reimagining students living in the town.
Working with elements of the traditional haveli ( Rajasthan house form) like vertically proportioned courtyards, Jharokhas (lookout balconies) and stone Jali’s ( perforated screens), the project is a remaking of the haveli form suited to the programmatic needs of the students. In stark contrast to the surrounding rowhouse types, which form an impenetrable wall to the street, the Kota hostel opens up, animating the road with views of the courtyard and then to the playground beyond the plot.
The combination of the social space of terraces and courtyards creates a wind tunnel enabling the breeze to flow through the building. The open to sky courtyard is spanned above by a bridge that connects the two arms of the residential unit for the owners. The building structures through the section multiple stepped terraces of shaded social spaces for the students to create a visual connect across the other levels, the street, and the courtyard.