Attempting greenery as building construction element

Building construction material creates structure but greenery pumps life and purpose into it

Blog By  - Satish Joshi

When we design a building, we think of the building materials that are going to be used for making of the building, their properties, their colour, texture etc.

But there is one strong element which is not actually the building material as such, but which is very much essential to complete the ambience of building space and i.e. bringing greenery as a part of our design.

It’s like with all the building materials, we can create the skeleton the skin, the body, the face, the looks but only with greenery, life is pumped into that structure. It makes the structure lively.

We have attempted to consciously use this element in many of our projects.

Netaji Subhashchandra Bose Boys Military school.

Totally a barren hillock without a single tree. The school demanded lot of flat area for various parade and sports activities.

Hence all the building structures were located on slope and all flat areas were developed into playgrounds.

Water was lifted from nearby river. The road from entrance gate was taken to the hilltop plateau around which all the buildings were located on slopes.

From this hilltop plateau, all building structures only top floor is seen. Entire 2/3 stories are experienced only when you enter the building.

The entire plateau is thickly landscaped with trees which actually cut the vision of even ground floors of the structures, creating a cool microclimate.

Even each building front area is covered with shrubs and flowerbeds.

A separate overhead tank is constructed where the recycled water from sewage treatment plant is stored and used for the landscape by gravity.

Naturopathy center's Ladies treatment ward.

The existing ward was a typical purely functional one with doubly loaded corridors with treatment rooms and spaces on both sides. The no. of rooms were inadequate making the patients wait in the gloomy corridor for their turn. Our main attempt was to break this boring experience of waiting in this lifeless corridor and make this time of treatment a pleasurable one.

We introduced four internal courtyards in four zones of treatments. The corridor now has one side the treatment spaces and on the other side this lovely green open to sky internal courtyard with ghat like steps to sit, enjoy this court while waiting.

It’s no longer gloomy and boring but fresh, healthy, fully ventilated central space.

Secondly each treatment like massage, various types of hydrobaths need min.20 minutes of time slot. To make this experience also enjoyable, we have created an external green courtyard which is covered with curved wall from outside for privacy.

So only with green internal and external courtyards this new ladies treatment ward is turned into an ambience of luxurious spa without cosmetics and costly frills.


Though it was 6000 plot, the built up area requirements were too high hence going vertical with minimum required marginal side open spaces for fire tender movement and space for plantation of trees near compound wall could be left.

But we were interested in creating a large central open landscaped space to be seen from all floors.

We created a 3 storied car parking structure and the 7 storied office structure was arranged in "C"  shape around that podium. The canteen and recreation activities are planned on the level of podium which becomes an extension of the same activity creating a refreshing, happening space.

This green podium is on the East side, hence always in shade in the afternoon.

All the floors have breakout balcony corridor overlooking this podium.

Jagdamba Bhavan - Prajapita Brahmakumari's Spiritual Center at Pisoli, Pune.

The site was a sloping portion of a hillock. The clients brief was large hall for discourses, seminar halls for small groups, Meditation room called " Babas room" library , offices and some residential facility for the members with large dining facility and a large open amphitheater.

We decided the form of brahmakumari's logo, an elliptical circle with radiating rays from the centre for the structure.

Central elliptical circle became the large hall with all other anxillary spaces around this hall with a corridor in between. All these spaces around the hall were separated from each other by strips of terraces radiating from the hall as if the rays of wisdom or gyan radiating out from the central hall.

While walking in the corridor, these green terraces give glimpses of light, greenery and the panoramic view of the hills around in a frame. This has resulted into a refreshing and delightful experience turning the corridor into a path of circulation.

The rear side sloping portion of the site is developed as a very large open amphitheater accommodating 2500/3000 devotees.

This entire amphitheater is made as green stepped terraces with lots of green trees cover in between and around. The green element has given this center a very refreshing, healthy, ambience.

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