A Search for Transcendent Built Environments

The Webinar will introduce the mission of ACSF and present how the ACSF Declaration may inspire new strategies and designs in practice that foster human wellbeing, spiritual growth and facilitate the experience of transcendence within sustainable environments now and tomorrow. It will include respondents and commentators, who will discuss and debate the merits and potentials of the ACSF Declaration in a real-world context.

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Typology:Commercial design/ Housing – Hostel Name of Project:St. Andrews Institute of Technology and Management – Boys Hostel Block

Location:Gurugram, Haryana

Client: St. Andrews Group

Client’s Firm: St. Andrews Group

Principal Architect: Zero Energy Design Lab

Design Team: Sachin and Payal Seth Rastogi

Site Area (sqft&sq m): 60,700 sq. m

Built-Up Area (sqft&sq m):60,000 Sq. Ft.

Start Date: Dec 2015

Completion Date: 2017

Photographer:Andre J. Fanthome


Project Information Sheet


St. Andrews Institute of Technology and Management – Boys Hostel Block

The boys' hostel building at the St. Andrews Institute of Technology and Management by Zed Lab is a meticulously designed, well-engineered residential complex that obtains its character from the basic building block - the brick. The building maintains a strong horizontal emphasis and utilizes a restrained material palette consisting of fair-faced concrete exposed in the robust supporting structure in the façade. The design of the hostel block creates a sense of community and reflects the contemporary nature of the university buildings. It houses a fluid sequence of socially functional and environmentally sustainable spaces.

Planning and Design Strategies

The boys hostel building reinterprets Indian vernacular architecture with ideas relevant to the present times and techniques. Anticipating the importance of student interaction with the spaces, the landscape around and amongst themselves, the galactic indoor spaces are design extension of the exteriors. The layered interior planning of the building with passive design strategies permeates comfortable intercommunication amongst the students.

The contorted central atrium allows natural light to penetrate deeper into the building. Also, it acts as a solar chimney that takes away the stale and hot air within the building through the stack effect. The block accommodates residential units for 360 students with inclusive recreational courts and mess facilities. The triple heightened spacious dorms depart from the conventional style of dorms, providing an enhanced user experience and a more expansive view of the outdoors to the students.

The combination of the angled volume of the part ground floor and the linear shape of the first floor creates a shaded entrance (summer court) and an open terrace (winter court) on the south and north facades respectively. The interactive composition forms the social heart of the block, creating a stimulating experiential space for students to engage in discussions, socialize or withdraw from time to time.

The landscaped ramp located within the summer court acts as a transition space between the harsh outdoor and relaxed indoors protecting students from getting a thermal shock. This ramp leads to the light-filled cafeteria reinforcing the university's specialist focus on generous spaces for students to interact at a larger scale.

The serendipitous creation of the winter court on the first floor in the north direction enables one to enjoy the weather during a summer evening and winter afternoons. The terrace overlooks the playing field and establishes a visual dialogue with the overall context of the campus’s greenery and other buildings.

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The Muse

Location Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Program Apartments, roof garden, gym, hotel rooms, retail, parking facili

Architect Barcode Architects

Client VOF WH69 & Wilma Wonen

Year 2014-2020

Status Realised

Size 20.000m 2

Collaborators IMD (structural engineer), Mabutec (installations), ABT (acoustics, fire safety, technology)

The architecture The Muse enriches the Rotterdam skyline with a new, sculptural silhouette. The more introvert  anthracite facades form a dark band around the tower. These facades, with smaller openings that provide the apartments with natural light while offering enough privacy towards the adjacent towers,  contrast beautifully with the spacious and bright white balconies on the north and south sides of the tower. The balconies are placed in an offset with the floors above and below, allowing for a double height and optimal daylight entry in the apartments. The balconies provide all apartments with spacious outdoor areas with panoramic views over the Maas river on the south and the city centre to the north.

With The Muse, Rotterdam has gained a new iconic high-rise project. Barcode Architects’ striking  residential tower is located on the Wijnhaven in the up-and-coming Maritime District. The Muse’s program is focused on urban housing quality, with lots of space for social interaction, a lively plinth and features that enhance the living comfort of the residents. The Muse gives a new boost to the positive urban revitalization of Rotterdam. Initiated by Barcode Architects in 2013, the project currently is the epitome of the city’s high rise vision, which was presented last year.

Barcode Architects as initiator In 2013, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, Barcode Architects initiated the development of The  Muse on plot Wijnhaven 69, where a municipal office was located at the time. With the municipality’s upcoming relocation to their new venue in De Rotterdam, the building would become vacant. Instead of awaiting a market response, Barcode Architects made its own design proposal for this plot, after which it approached investor Wilma Wonen. The proposal convinced Wilma Wonen to acquire both the Wijnhaven 69 plot and the adjacent plot 65, where Barcode Architects’ 110-meter- high CasaNova is currently under construction. The tower’s program was specified by intensive collaborative session between Barcode Architects, advisors and the client, with comfortable innercity living’ as a leading aim. By developing the two buildings almost simultaneously, joint functions that serve both towers could be developed, further strengthening the sense of community.

Comfortable living in the city center The design of The Muse emphasizes the connection with the street level through its inviting and  transparent plinth. A distinctive central lobby providing access to the apartments and large commercial spaces are located in the plinth, connecting the volume and the surrounding urban environment. Although the three-layer parking facility has been realized above ground, it is hidden behind the apartments overlooking the Wijnhaven, taking away the anonymity of a parking structure on street level. These apartments are an essential component in adding vitality the adjacent quay.

Between the fifth and eighth floors, the volume makes a recognizable curve to the northwest,  creating space between its own volume and CasaNova, which will complete the ensemble with its characteristic triangular volume on the adjacent plot in 2022. The towers are connected by a large, green roof garden on the fifth floor, offering extra outdoor space for the residents. By situating the  roof garden on level five rather than the top of the tower, we create an interesting dialogue between this new green space and the urban environment on street level. On this same level, we added additional joint features located for the residents of both towers—such as hotel rooms that residents can reserve for their guests, a sports facility, a communal workspace and a comfortable kitchen adjacent to the roof terrace entrance.

An epitome of urban development With the design of The Muse, Barcode Architects was ahead of the curve. The Muse served as an  inspiration in the development of the Rotterdam high rise vision, which was presented last year. By 2040, 50,000 homes are to be built in Rotterdam. Densification is a solution, but sky-high  anonymous volumes, in which residents hardly know their neighbours or experience a sense of community, are a drawback. The 2019 high-rise vision focused on the development of the human city, with more social interaction between residents, vitality and vibrancy at street level, and healthy living and working conditions.

The focus on a resident community, the activation of the street and renewed urban living qualities  make the design of The Muse a prime example for the realization of this vision. The hospitality  features and other communal functions ensure the desired social interaction between the residents. This makes The Muse the epitome of the new urban development flourishing in Rotterdam.

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Girls’ Hostel at The Mann School 

Architect and Interior Designer: Envisage

Based in New Delhi, India. The firm was formed by two partners, Meena Murthy Kakkar and Vishal Kakkar who believe in visualizing and creating dream spaces for people.

institutional project- Girls Hostel for Mann School, situated in Alipur, New Delhi.

The idea for the White Flower Hall (Girls Hostel)Mann School was to create a safe haven for the girls with all the necessary functional requirements and a multitude of public spaces. The hostel is planned to overlook a central courtyard, with dormitories facing the corridors to ensure a lively and interactive environment.

It carries on the legacy of the school ethos with openness and continuity as part of the design intent. The campus’ existing colour scheme of red and grey is maintained while brick is used as a critical design element on the facades to help the new building blend cohesively within its surroundings.

The dormitories are designed to ensure optimal ingress of daylight and ventilation with windows along the custom-designed bunk beds, allowing each child with a view to the outside.

Driven by sustainability, solar panels are installed on the terrace of the building. The central courtyard is precisely aligned in the North West - South East direction, to catch the southwesterly winds during the monsoon, thus ensuring ventilation throughout the building. Mud phuska (compacted soil with hay) is used for thermal insulation to reduce the ingress of heat by almost 70%. Additionally, bricks used on-site have been procured from local kilns to reduce the carbon footprint.

Overall, the vision for the design for the Girls’ Hostel at The Mann School centres on the importance of providing facilities to promote learning and all-round development at a home-away-from-home.

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Submission date of 2ACAMA 2020 is extended Now!

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Cinema Farhang / Bahram Shirdel

Cinema Farhang Tehran, Iran 2011 Status: Concept Design Client: Farabi Cinema Foundation Location: Tehran, Iran Site Area: 3754 sqm Program: Concept of Cinema Complex: 12 movie theaters - Shoping Center Complex Builtup: 54,000 sqm Principal Architect: Bahram Shirdel Project Manager: Hossein Mahmoudi Project Architect: Mohsen Tajedin Design Associates: Bahman Mehrabani, Ehsan Amani, Alireza Esfandiari Project Team: Danial Jabari, Amin Soltanpour, Mahya Pakvojdan, Mona Taheri, Sayeh Nikgohar, Mehdi Rostami In Tehran at the northern part of the district 3, in vicinity of Shariati St., a 3800 sqm plot area, the current location of the Cinema Farhang, is the proposed location of this important center of cultural cinematic complex. The project is generally divided into three main Retail, Central Public Terrace and Movie Theaters. Both retail spaces and movie theaters are separately located by the central public terrace with the dual role connecting them and also acts as an urban public space which causes a link between urban space of Shariati St. and the Park at western part of the project through a wide stairway. The volumetric structure of this project is derived from the idea of the dome and specifically the Persian Orchin dome which is formed by the placement of the movie theaters and their lobbies. This complex includes 12 movie theaters with 150,250,350 and 500 seats capacity with the ability of becoming a 1000 seats auditorium to meet the needs of its public events.
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