PEARL ACADEMY OF FASHION
Stands tall in a desert
THE EXTREME desert conditions of Jaipur make it imperative that a building here is artificially conditioned during both summer and winter. But the campus of the Pearl Academy of Fashion, a design institute located in the middle of the barren Kukas Industrial Area, some 20 km off the city, is geared towards creating an environmentally responsive passive habitat by virtue of its design.
To create the building, design firm Morphogenesis delved into Rajasthan’s rich architectural wisdom. “Everything in the project is environmentally sustainable,” says Manit Rastogi, managing director of Morphogenesis.
The edifice is a simple, rectangular structure that insulates the institute from the surrounding industrial area. A traditional Rajasthani filigree screen or jaali serves as a “double-skin” or a thermal buffer between the denizens of the building and the exterior, while allowing light to filter in. A 1.2 m gap between the jaali and outdoor wall of the classrooms reduces direct heat gain. Drip channels on the inside of the jaali provide evaporative cooling. The traditional building technique was modernised as computer models were used to determine the optimum density of screen patterns to provide maximum cooling. A traditional Indian technique of thermal insulation was employed at the institute. Inverted earthen pots, about 35 cm in diameter, are placed on the flat roof 2.5 cm apart. The gaps are filled with sand and broken bricks and covered with a thin layer of concrete.
The central courtyard has been carved out in a manner that it allows daylight and ventilation, but avoids direct solar radiation. It provides shade and filters daylight in the hot summer months and allows radiation to enter only in the winter months when the temperature drops to as low as 2˚C.
The temperature of the earth, 3 m below the surface, is equivalent to the annual average temperature of the outdoor air. Based on this principle, a basement and a courtyard were scooped out and a step-well was created to naturally cool the microclimate of the building by evaporative cooling. Rainwater and recycled water from the treatment plant feeds the step well throughout the year. The courtyard also serves as a large space for recreation of students and exhibitions. During the night when the desert temperature drops, the floor slowly dissipates the heat to the surroundings keeping the area thermally comfortable.
LOCATION Jaipur, Rajasthan COST Not available INNOVATION Inspired by Rajasthan's rich architectural wisdom, the institute benefits from the use of jaali, earthen pots in roofing, step-well and a large courtyard in the basement