Regional Science Centre at Bhuj | INI Design Studio

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Regional Science Centre at Bhuj | INI Design Studio

Information

  • Project Name: Regional Science Centre at Bhuj
  • Practice: INI Design Studio
  • Products: Saint-Gobain , Knauf , Pidilite , Asian Paints , Kajaria , Christie , Q-Lite , Carrier , C&S , Jindal & Tata
  • Completion year: 2022
  • Gross Built up Area: 5853 m2 / 63000 ft2
  • Project Location: Bhuj, Gujarat
  • Country: India
  • Design Team: Jayesh Hariyani, Adi Mistry, Rakhi Rupani, Saumil Mevada, Parth Joshi, Ani Agarkar
  • Clients: Gujarat Council on Science and Technology
  • Structural Consultants: DUCON Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
  • MEP Consultants: INI Infrastructure & Engineering
  • Landscape Consultants: INI Design Studio
  • Contractors: Cube Construction Engineering Ltd.
  • Project Manager: Bhargav A Bhavsar
  • Interior + Furniture: INI Design Studio
  • Photo Credits: Karan Gajjar / The Space Tracing Company
  • Others: Lighting Design: INI Infrastructure & Engineering, HVAC Consultant: INI Infrastructure & Engineering, Exhibit Design: Lemon Design, AV / IT / Acoustic: INI Infrastructure & Engineering
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Excerpt: The Regional Science Centre at Bhuj, an architectural project by INI Design Studio, features a unique design inspired by the traditional Bhunga houses. Creating a dynamic journey through exhibits, the exhibition galleries are cylindrical envelopes clustered around common spaces, creating a cooling shadow with their elliptical plan. Curved intermittent niches create step-down courtyards and landscaped areas.

Project Description

Regional Science Centre at Bhuj | INI Design Studio
© Karan Gajjar / The Space Tracing Company

[Text as submitted by architect] The convergence of scientific innovation and socio-economic progress is a global pursuit, with nations leveraging Science and Technology for comprehensive development. In 1986, Gujarat established the Council of Science and Technology (GUJCOST) to address regional challenges within an international context. Dedicated to mitigating backwardness, rural unemployment, and poverty, GUJCOST is establishing community science centers across the state through public-private partnerships. The goal is to ‘Bring Science to People’s Doorstep,’ creating top-notch facilities that educate, entertain, and integrate modernity with cultural heritage, embodying the state’s forward-looking approach to science, education and community engagement.

Regional Science Centre at Bhuj | INI Design Studio
Master Plan © INI Design Studio
Regional Science Centre at Bhuj | INI Design Studio
© Karan Gajjar / The Space Tracing Company

The Regional Science Centre in Bhuj city, in the Kutch region of Gujarat state, is situated to the north of a hillock known locally as Bhujiyo Dungar. The North-South axis acts as a pedestrian path and connects with the East-West axis along which all the galleries are located. The design philosophy draws inspiration from the immediate context of Smriti Van, a memorial to the devastating 2001 earthquake, thus creating a meeting point of science, culture and social interface.

Regional Science Centre at Bhuj | INI Design Studio
© Karan Gajjar / The Space Tracing Company
Regional Science Centre at Bhuj | INI Design Studio
Ground Floor Plan © INI Design Studio
Regional Science Centre at Bhuj | INI Design Studio
© Karan Gajjar / The Space Tracing Company

Characterized by their mud plastered, bamboo-framed cylindrical traditional forms, the Bhunga houses of this desert region, represent a way of life deeply rooted in the local culture. Their adaptation to the climate and time-tested structural stability make them well-suited for this earthquake-prone, desert region, with its sandstorms and cyclonic winds. Governed by the Venturi effect and Bernoulli’s principle of pressure differences, Bhungas allow for easy flow of cool breezes within, and divert strong winds around their curvilinear walls, preventing structural destabilization. Built on platforms and placed close together, the residual spaces act as shaded spaces for circulation and community engagement. 

Regional Science Centre at Bhuj | INI Design Studio
© Karan Gajjar / The Space Tracing Company
Regional Science Centre at Bhuj | INI Design Studio
Section © INI Design Studio
Regional Science Centre at Bhuj | INI Design Studio
© Karan Gajjar / The Space Tracing Company

Inspired by this traditional architecture, the exhibition galleries of the Centre are designed as cylindrical envelopes. Clustered around common spaces, they allow for fluid transition for visitors, offering a dynamic and interconnected journey through the exhibits. Elliptical in plan, each of these six galleries rise up six-eight meters, casting cooling shadows. Landscaped spaces for outdoor exhibits and step-down courtyards get carved out of the curved intermittent niches. The dry-clad system using locally available stone, harmonizes with the regional context and reduces cooling loads. Seismic resilience is optimized, and economic viability influences exhibit planning, functionality, and long-term operational sustainability. 

Regional Science Centre at Bhuj | INI Design Studio
© Karan Gajjar / The Space Tracing Company

The Centre’s programmatic arrangement aligns galleries’ themes that are focused on Space, Nanotechnology, Energy, and Marine Navigation along the east-west ‘science’ axis. Administration and library/workshop blocks, along with Noble/Bonsai galleries and a central plaza courtyard, align with a north-south ‘cultural’ axis. Technological aids such as a 5D theatre, interactive media, and application pods complement the immersive edutainment approach.

Regional Science Centre at Bhuj | INI Design Studio
© Karan Gajjar / The Space Tracing Company
Regional Science Centre at Bhuj | INI Design Studio
© Karan Gajjar / The Space Tracing Company

Going beyond aesthetics, the design serves as a bridge between tradition and innovation in the realm of science and technology. It resonates with the rich heritage of Kutch, while offering an immersive and interactive space that pushes the boundaries of science and technology, symbolizing Gujarat’s commitment to bringing science closer to the people in an engaging and culturally resonant manner that is accessible and inclusive even for remote and rural areas.

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