University campus aims to instill sustainable practices amongst its students
The Central University of Tamil Nadu was instituted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development at the behest of the Government of India to provide access to a higher quality education and research facility. This was in view of the growing need for qualified human resources candidates in various sectors of the economy. The university will be developed in different phases to accommodate its 10,000 students and faculty across university’s multiple disciplines: under graduate, postgraduate, research, doctorate and fellowship programs.
The site is located in Thiruvarur on the delta region of river Cauvery. The interplay of land, water, and agriculture on the site illustrates a natural sustainable network. The master plan responds to the land as a pattern of natural elements and the architecture seamlessly invites and infuses formal and informal learning processes. The extremely low footprint encourages interwoven pockets of spaces that enhance peer learning and collaboration.
The arrangement of academic blocks, which is inspired by vernacular architecture, generates tertiary spaces along its axes to spawn a layering of areas that endorses interaction and social development. The distance between the buildings and the width of internal courts is moderated to have maximum wind exposure in summer and monsoon windward side facades for natural ventilation. Integration of other passive components such as orientation, daylight, natural ventilation, material usage ensures physical comfort with minimal stress on the surrounding ecology.
With less than 4% of the land built upon, this residential campus aspires to push the envelope by promoting urban agriculture, zero food miles as a way of life by involving the local community and triggering a regional response. Students are usually enrolled into this university at an influential age of 16, study and grow in a campus where sustainability is intrinsic to its design, balancing the production / consumption equilibrium such that it becomes a way of life, thus learning the best lessons experience has to offer.