Student Housing




2,19,000 sqft


This student housing was deigned for Somaiya Trusts in Mumbai, India. A major part of the design brief of the student housing was its functionality and the performance of the building climatically throughout the year. The building has 7 different types of living accommodations. Starting with a dense configuration of a dormitory with bunk beds, a 3 sharing room, a studio apartment, a 1 bedroom hall apartment and a 2 bedroom hall apartment, special rooms for persons with disabilities, accommodation for staff and so on. This programmatic requirement created a unique opportunity. We were able to design an anthropometric grid for the spaces, which could be expanded or shrunk to fit the variety of living units. In addition to the living spaces, the buildings programme was further developed to provide recreational spaces like indoor games, a 400 seating capacity cafeteria and its kitchen, an ATM and a convenience store besides the functional spaces such as a pantry, a laundromat and study spaces. Accommodating a variety of spaces in one single building required us to develop a modular system for the structure and its architectural spaces. The building has created a unique environment for its occupants. Being a single large building of 21,000 square meters, the building provides adequate outdoor space on each floor in the form of open balconies and the covered circular lounges. To provide a sense of ‘open space’ to the occupants in a city like Mumbai was one of our design goals. One of the outcomes of the modular approach has been the creation of a sense of variety in spaces, while maintaining an architectural scale to the entire composition. Though, located in the hot and humid climate of Mumbai, the building has no air conditioning except for the ground floor office spaces. An aluminium screen facade on the East and a ceramic building envelope on the West, coupled with recessed windows creates a conducive interior environment even during the harshest sultry summer days. This reduction in heat gain has resulted in massive energy savings and a unique aesthetic appeal. In recent years, the effects of extreme heat on human health and comfort have become profound. Today, most people living in cities face the “urban heat island” phenomenon. Urban heat islands are a consequence of the rising temperature of trapped warm air caused by city elements such as buildings, roads, and vehicles. A ceramic building envelope offers a high potential as a cooling method, given its historical precedence, affordability, and accessibility. The module was designed to feature a hollow geometry with the highest possible ratio of surface area to internal volume. This extrapolates the interaction between the ceramic surface and air. The ceramic elements stack in a staggered formation similar to traditional bricklaying. This securely joins the structure horizontally and vertically, providing exceptional strength against gale force winds and rare seismic forces in the region. An important aspect of the project is the way it deals with space allocation and energy performance of the building in the dense urban context of Mumbai. To accommodate 900 plus people in a single building while providing a variety of living units is unique. Integrating such a dense programmatic requirement in a uniform - singular structure with a sense of scale is inspiring and can lead to many such energy efficient projects.

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