Sanctum of Harmony: Soulful Space Rooted in Nature
- March 27, 2023
- By: Editorial Team
‘Sanctum of Harmony’ invokes the very presence of earthly hues in the minds of its end user. Being rooted to its surroundings, the structure opens a gateway to the realm of arts and architecture of an age where nature was worshipped as gods. A project designed by Archidobe pays tribute to our ancestral practices of architecture and it’s an initiative to promote a pragmatic approach.
In a social overview ‘Sanctum of Harmony’ together with its surrounding speaks for a time when spaces shall bring people, culture, and nature together.
The brief being very unique our motive was to create a meaningful space that transcends nature through the material that’s commonly used. The site is located in the small town of Palakkad, Kerala, within the premises of the already-established Sadanam Kathakali Academy. On the wide campus, we found the client’s deep connection with a banyan tree. Thus, that enormous banyan tree provided the cradle of our thought process on what the purpose and identity of the structure should be.
As a Professional Kathakali artist and a music teacher, our client Dr. Harikumar understood the importance of the vernacular approach and harmony in architecture which formed the base of our design discussion. His involvement in the design formulation and enthusiasm for the construction process was a constant motivation. The curves and ridges in the structure reveal the story of ornaments, costumes, and figures used in the Kathakali art form. Knowing the richness and dynamism of performing art from our client and incorporating the fruits of it in a static structure has fuelled the creative process.
Spatial Understanding with Innovative Techniques
In the design process, careful deliberation was given to reduce the number of lines in the plan yet creating a stacked volume inside-out. Having to build an intricate form needed a rigid and stable structural format. At the same time, it required using lesser tools, materials, and workmanship. This paved the way for Arches. Arches were erected using "Hurudies" porous bricks made of clay, intentionally to integrate the harmonious pattern of voids that are extending radially to the infinity of the surrounding. Each arch is made on top of the spine arches, to minimise the need for shuttering and providing a reference line throughout.
Enhancing the Outward Flow of Positive Energy Originating from the Sanctum
Places of culmination and gatherings have originated from the caves. The structure invites its user to experience the same. The entrance is oriented towards the east, where the voids of the hurudies bring light and guide the wind through the structure. To embrace the context of the structure, a fabric of earthen brick jallies was placed as the pavement filled with rock chips, which also provides a medium for the water to drain through.
The form of the structure is curated to host the branches of the banyan tree in the years to come, as to firmly send a message that "everything belongs to nature". From the evolution design, we, along with the client, were keen on the onsite process of templating, sampling, and miniature modelling of the type of arches that shall be used for the structure. With an efficient team of local artisans, our space slowly started spreading meaning to the design and context where it belongs. For a building to speak by itself, the creator shall speak to it.
This project upholds 1000s of philosophical reasoning combined with the robust methodology of architecture. The transformation of a place to a belief happens only if the soul of the project that resides within is allowed to influence the context and psychology of its users. Thus, all of its spaces have become multilingual, used for meditating, worshiping, resting, and gathering for beings of all kinds as the day passes by, justifying the thought process of "Being rooted to nature".
Name of the Project: Sanctum of Harmony
Project Type: Architecture
Location : Pathiripala, Palakkad, Kerala
Architects: Ar. Prajith .K.Pradeep & Ar. Gopika Krishnakumar
Unique Materials: Hurudies, Clay Jallies
Photographer: Hawin Printo C