The Yogananda Library
Design teamStudio Archohm
A solid building mass interspersed with voids, a facade that speaks out amongst all the peace, and a contoured terrain: the Yogananda library of Shoolini University in Solan, designed by Studio Archohm stands testimony to a unique spatial experience and a comfortable environment for reading and imbibing knowledge. The library overlooks a green valley, becoming one with nature in terms of its built mass while also positioning its own identity.
The four storey structure is a surprising combination of enclosed and open spaces, and connects the entire building using a large functional plate. It starts as a narrow strip of an extroverted, yet shaded space on the lower two floors. These act as research cells and discussion areas of senior students and faculty. The upper two floors recede further as the contours deepen, while the front remains aligned. From this composition emerges a large central courtyard that pours uniform indirect light into all the parts of the built floors.
Functionally, the library books stack up on the periphery of the structure, with a row of reading bays forming an inner ring within the center. The terrace is a lush green extension of the central courtyard. One could bring books away from the confines of a traditional library stack and read on the refreshing grass, sun bathing on the winter foothills. The greens keep the latent temperatures of the structure under control to add to the comfort within.
The spacious staircases become not only elements of transition but also areas of imagination, immersion, surprise and discovery as one sits or moves around these to search books on the stacks. A downpour of light through the roof becomes the understated creator of ambience for extended periods of reading and study.
The fair faced concrete facade acts as a two-face phenomenon; the inner face of concrete wall bears the load of the entire shelving system of the library and its books, while the concrete wall is supported by seemingly intersecting concrete columns, an interpretation of the most fundamental element of biotechnology and reflection of the university’s logo. The clean facade of concrete and recessed glass brings out the fundamental function of the building.