Site Area: 200 Hectares
Our vision for the Central University of Kashmir was to conserve the cultural and physical landscape of the state through the design and architecture of the institution. The natural beauty of the geography of Kashmir has been envisaged as a resource or tool to harness development. The master plan of this campus amalgamates effortlessly with the existing landscape and reflects the vernacular architectural practices followed here.
The site for the Central University of Kashmir had natural contours, water bodies, streams and dense groves, and these were seen as the starting points for the structuring of a master plan. A central pedestrian spine was created to be the unifying element of the campus, integrating the core functions and public spaces within the institution. Designed to be a wide, tree lined avenue, it occasionally opens into play fields, informal gardens and shaded courts. Another major aspect of the circulation network within the site are the waterways. The existing depressions and marshes along the periphery of the site were transformed into a continuous belt of water canals. The Kashmiri Shikaras have been adopted as an energy efficient, environment friendly mode of transport. The vernacular architecture of this region- pitched roofs, intricately carved wooden brackets and lattices screens have been respected and incorporated within the design of the institutional buildings, thereby bringing in the “built cultural language” of Kashmir. Forest like buffers create a comfortable micro climate within the site, channelizing the breezes and minimizing air and noise pollution.
This was the winning entry in a National Competition and was highly appreciated for its use of landscape as a tool for enhancing sustainability and cultural awareness.