St. Andrews boys hostel intersects education and sustainability with a meticulously designed and engineered residential complex


Surpassing the monotonous and conventional boxy structures of its counterparts, The St Andrews boys’ hostel emerges as a manifestation of Indian vernacular architecture with today’s needs and construction techniques.The hostel is located in Gurugram and is designed by Payal Seth and Sachin Rastogi of Zero Energy Design Lab (ZED Lab). With sustainability as the core of their design processes, Delhi-based ZED Lab focuses on human comfort in union with the environment. The Orientation of the building, materiality and creation of spaces is derived through research –  based on climatic conditions, sun path analysis and air movement to create social and cultural spaces honoring student life.

Visualised as a linear block to house 360 students, the hostel block evolved into an expose of functionality, sustainability and technology in the existing master plan of the campus. Anticipating the importance of student interaction with the spaces, the landscape around and amongst themselves, the passive design strategies of the building facilitated socially and environmentally active spaces. With a built up area of 60000 sq.ft the hostel building reinterprets Indian vernacular architecture that is moulded to suit contemporary times and techniques.

The unconventional and interactive block composition creates a stimulating space for the students, boosts student energies and builds conversations.

The complex attains its primary identity from the basic building block – the brick. The material creates visual impact, and also heeds to climatic conditions of the site. Brick jali on the facade imparts texture and colour to the structure, allows thermal insulation and minimizes direct heat gain. The balconies are sheltered within the jali, devising a buffer between the outdoors and indoors. Movement and diversity is created by the rotated ground floor wing. This builds a shaded colonnade entrance and an open terrace in the south and north facades respectively and creates a shaded court for relaxation and gathering. The entrance ramp acts as a buffer and guides students to the well-lit open cafeteria. The terrace holds an extrovert character and overlooks the playing area, establishing a visual dialogue with the overall context of the campus greenery and nearby buildings.

The unconventional and interactive block composition creates a stimulating space for the students, boosts student energies and builds conversations. The building has a horizontal profile with simulations on each brick, that are rotated and then placed at regular intervals to break the monotony of the structure. The hostel block comprises recreational courts, mess facilities and dorms. The dorms are provided with a triple height terrace and the volume created imparts opulence and openness to the building, a typology that is commonly associated with monotony and bare-spaces. The interior spaces are an extension of the exteriors as atrium allows natural light penetration in the building. 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. The brick envelope of the building harnesses the disruptive software technology such as Ecotect, Grasshopper, Ladybird and Rhino to create a sustainable design narrative. The use of software technology is pertinent to the design of the brick jaali that circumscribes the building, providing thermal insulation and ingress of diffused natural light. This reduced radiations by 70% on the primary facade. 

All the local materials for the project were acquired from within 500 km of the site. Bricks with a single hole were manufactured to be stacked one on top of another. The rotated bricks reduce solar radiation, and provide adequate daylight and ventilation to the living units behind the skin. No cement mortar was used to construct the envelope spanning 250 ft. in length and 21 ft. in height. The hostel design renders a sense of community and socialisation. It celebrates and nurtures student life by harnessing student interaction, within the indoor spaces that permeate outward and engage, with the landscape around it. 

Zero Energy Design Lab



Contact: +91 9999504445

Photo Credits: Noughts and Crosses | Andre J. Fanthome

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