A cafeteria at JMI University Campus in New Delhi has been designed by Romi Khosla Design Studios to become the hub of all social activities on the campus. Due to the extreme climatic conditions of New Delhi where the temperature in summer rises above 45°C, and drops in the winters below 5°C, the practice found most student canteens in India without air-conditioning and often poorly ventilated, making them very hot and oppressive in the summer and very cold in the winters.
This canteen was proposed as a ‘semi open air café’ allowing an ambient temperature for most of the year along with good ventilation, with a variety of degrees of shade from the climate. Romi Khosla Design Studios describe the design as 'truly unique and contemporary', continuing 'we feel [it] will herald a new age of architecture for the university'.
The building has a kitchen block to the east, which comprises a fully enclosed space to cook and serve in. Structural elements that define the building itself transform as users of the space move through the complex. As users travel westwards along the length of the building, they find the cafeteria enclosure defined by two walls and a roof. Further on the sense of interior is defined by one wall and the roof, and later the space is articulated by only one wall, and yet further still, there is only the floor.
Throughout this changing sense of interior and exterior the eating surface and the seating surfaces remain continuous, binding the spaces together. The concept attempts to blur the boundaries between inside and outside, where these undefined boundaries act as a negotiator between the user and the climate of Delhi. All the elements of the building are defined distinctly and independently from each other. The walls don’t touch the floor and the roof does not touch the walls.