Excerpt: Lantern in the Park designed by Dar & Wagh connects to the surrounding precinct through multiple entries and pedestrian walkways – weaving itself into the housing fabric. Their intent was to create a variety of spaces within and around the building for people with diverse interests to find their own place.
Lantern in the Park – A Community Club
[Text as submitted by architect] This Community Club with its expansive Green is the primary institution within a suburban housing development, offering residents a place to enjoy a multitude of recreational, social, sports and leisure activities. It is located in Thane, near Mumbai, India, within a landscape of new construction, characteristic of city fringes in the developing world. The place has a hot tropical climate with severe seasonal monsoons.
The site, an old factory building with a large Banyan Tree at its entrance, was converted by the owners into residences. We designed the Club around this tree, keeping the built form towards the fringe, retaining an acre of green open space – one of the largest in Thane. The Club houses a concierge, a café, multi-purpose halls, a cinema, a gymnasium, a crèche, neighborhood shops, a games room, an indoor basketball court and three swimming pools totaling close to 40,000 sq. ft. of public amenities.
The building connects to the surrounding precinct through multiple entries and pedestrian walkways – weaving itself into the housing fabric. It is tightly hemmed in by the surrounding taller masses, such that the overall elevation of the building can never be experienced as a whole. The design therefore consciously allows each face of the building to respond locally to its immediate frontage, creating smaller community spaces in, around and over the Club.
Functions are organized in a linear manner fronting a wide verandah, carved out of thick stucco walls. Roofs become landscaped decks and play areas. Laterally juxtaposed against the thick walls and verdant roofs is a crisp metal screened box, the Lantern. The screen made of silver anodized expanded mesh acts like a sieve of mini-louvers and keeps the elements off while allowing views through. It reinforces the central position of this Club within surrounding residences.
Our intent is to create a variety of spaces within and around the building for people with diverse interests to find their own place. Through memories and associations over time, we hope that the Club becomes an indelible part of the Residents’ image of their precinct and their lives.