The Rural Campus for the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) is located in Tuljapur in the hinterland of the Indian State of Maharshtra. The programs at the Rural Campus entail development issues ranging from social forestry to health and infrastructure. Responding to the agenda of the institute and the locale – the design of the campus focused on creating a series of buildings clustered around courtyards, similar to traditional patterns in the region.
This building form responding appropriately to the climate of the area also creates an interesting range of open and covered spaces, which facilitate social interaction and multiple uses – the courtyards and terraces serving as wonderful gathering spaces in the evenings or in cool weather. Similarly in the housing units a pavilion was added on the roof to create a covered outdoor space, which allows residents to sleep on the terrace in the summer months.
The use of appropriate building materials were explored and the buildings were built using local stone for load bearing walls and an inexpensive and innovative Ferro cement vault for the roofing system. These were cast on site using very basic and simple technologies that could be easily imbibed by the youth in the area hoping that the technology and building system would be replicated in the region. In addition, wind towers were introduced in all buildings to integrate passive cooling for the interior spaces. Overhead water tanks were integrated in the towers to make them into a distinct architectural feature. These innovations, at the level of the building, were incorporated in order to establish locally relevant precedents for the area. The project will be eventually built out in phases with different architects building out the next phases of the project.