The Jetavan Centre, designed by Sameep Padora and Associates in rural Maharashtra, is built for the spiritual & skill development of the local Buddhist community. The half-acre plot had over 40 trees, which were all preserved after construction. Artisans from Hunarshala helped build the structure.
Jetavan Center Technical Information
- Architects1-5: sP+a (Sameep Padora and Associates)
- Location: Maharashtra, India
- Client: Somaiya Trust
- Topics: Courtyards, Civic Centers
- Photographs: © Edmund Sumner
Our approach to the Jetavan project looks to extend the idea of the regional paradigm whilst separating it from the pervasive ‘image’ of what defines the local. The construction process also sets out an approach that looks to further construction techniques based on local materiality not necessarily used natively but appropriate for its context.
– Sameep Padora and Associates
Jetavan Center Photographs
Text by the Architects
In Buddhist mythology, Jetvana is the name of one the Buddha’s most important spatial edifice, which, when translated, means: the grove of Jeta, land donated to the sangha for founding a monastery. It was of semiotic significance that the site offered by Samir Somaiya, owner of the neighboring sugar factory in rural Maharashtra for the Buddhist Learning Center, was thickly forested, an idyllic grove of sorts.
The institute was programmed as a spiritual & skill development center for the native Dalit Baudh Ambedkar Buddhist community. The mandate of Jetavana is to provide a spiritual anchor for their practice of Buddhist thought through meditation and yoga while also imparting training and skill development for members of the community.
With the mandate of not harming a single tree on site, the sizable program was split up into six buildings, each situated in gaps between the heavy planting. Through the design process, two courtyards emerged as links suturing these buildings into a common identity.
Further, by inverting the roof profile with a central valley in the middle and rising edges, the interior spaces were visually connected with the foliage outside. The interior spaces hence are also a function of the outside setting, with a lightness that belies the heavy programs on site. The separation of the roof from the walls while providing much-needed cross ventilation also scales the building towards the courtyard.
Working closely with Hunnarshala, an institution looking to revive and revitalize local building traditions, we collated a material palate that uses rammed loadbearing walls of basalt stone dust. The stone dust, which is waste from a nearby quarry, is mixed with waste fly ash, a by-product from the adjoining factory that, in the past, was paying people to cart the waste fly ash away. Repurposed wood from old shipping vessels acts as a roof structure, with the understructure made of mud rolls, which are also excellent insulation. The roof itself is finished with clay roof tiles, remnants from older demolished buildings.
The flooring is a traditional mud and dung floor done by members of the local community, which is known to have antiseptic properties.
Our approach to the Jetavan project looks to extend the idea of the regional paradigm while separating it from the pervasive ‘image’ of what defines the local. The construction process also sets out an approach that looks to different construction techniques based on local materiality not necessarily used natively but appropriate for its context.
Jetavan Center Plans
Jetavan Center Image Gallery
About Sameep Padora and Associates
sP+a approach is to look to context as a repository of latent resources connecting production processes and networks, appropriating techniques beyond their traditional use while allowing them to evolve and persist not just through preservation but more so through evolution.
- Design Team: Sameep Padora, Karan Bhat, Kriti Veerappan, Aparna Dhareshwar
- Structural Design (RCC Beams): Rajiv Shah
- Artisan Consultants and Coordinators: Hunnarshala – Kiran Vaghela, Tejas Kotak, Bharat Chauhan, Hemant Dudhaiya
- Construction Team: Soudagar Kulal, Atul Kulkarni
- Project Managers and Site Supervision: Saudagar Kudal, Atul Kulkarni