“The campus is like a flowing river…”, BV Doshi

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Prof. BV Doshi, renowned architect who designed IIM Bangalore – its classrooms, ethereal courtyards gave a talk on the architecture of IIMB. The Student Media Cell got an opportunity to interact with the maestro, here are his thoughts…

IIMB
Initial sketches of IIMB by BV Doshi
  1. Hi sir, we at the Student Media Cell would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak to you.  Please tell us how does it feel to be back on campus?

I have come back after almost 30 years and I feel 30 years younger. The sight of the campus takes me back to the old days when we were choosing all the elements of the design and laying out the stones. A lot of time has passed by but nothing much has changed since.

  1. Sir, one thing which strikes the students particularly is the elemental design of the building and immense amount of greenery that surrounds us. Was there a reason for that?

When you do simple things they last very long. When you design for the sake of design, then you may want to change the design. If you design what is obvious then you don’t mind it, but in fact you start loving it as the time goes by. What is applied is changed, what is inherent is not. So one has to search for the inherent, the basic, and the fundamental.

Greenery forms an integral part of the institute’s character. In the beginning we just started off with 1000 saplings. Over time, we added more trees and it was Mr. Moorthy, the director at that time who made the pergolas green. Now when I see the interspersing of stone and greenery, the way this has grown is partly random, but this in fact adds a direction.

3. Sir, Please tell us more about the campus design and its motivation.

The original plan was to not give the campus an organic or a classic design. We wanted the plan to have a certain flow. Imagine a meandering river’s flow. Similarly, the campus plan is also moving in and out. The openings are not regularly spaced. There are sudden vistas, some big, some small and some rhythmic. For example, columns in the pergola go at the same place but the walls don’t. There are a lot of musical rhythms in the campus, organized and random at the same time.

The entire block was designed as one whole part so that students can move around in it without feeling sudden changes. It was designed to give students time to think and reflect continuously. The campus is like a flowing river and one must go deep inside his or her roots to understand him or herself.

4. Sir, over time, there has been some changes in the campus, such as the addition of the new hostels, which have a more contemporary design.  How do you see feel about this manner of evolution of the campus?

There is a bigger issue here. For example, in other campuses, there is a tendency to follow the west like setting up air conditioners, artificial lighting etc when they are not needed. By aping we sometimes feel that we are getting modern when in fact we are not. Similarly, management education right now believes in only western models. However, there are scholars that believe in the Indian model as well.  Over time people change, models change. When you design a building, it must have absorbing capacity so that it eventually comes back to its original form.

Another architect designed the new blocks and their design reflects his beliefs. In India, we have constant diverse positions. The diversity is our strength.

5. One last question Sir.  What advice would you give to the students of IIM Bangalore?

Be simple, innovative and feel free to do what you heart says. Once you step out into the world, carry the message of informality, sustainability and always have a sense of wonder, have unexpected visions and vistas,