De-touring Ashoka University Campus designed by Perkins Eastman

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Spread over 25 acres, the Ashoka University in Sonipat in the State of Haryana approximately 20 km north of Delhi is a home to several other institutions  as it is a part of a government conceived Rajiv Gandhi Education City. The design philosophy for Ashoka University brings in the best global practices of higher education trends and learning while building it to belong to its context. Ashoka University Campus was established as an academic institution that houses education across the world nurturing a vibrant community of purpose-driven intellectuals who aspire to create a better world. The overall campus organisational concept is based on two concentric rings. Designed for a teaching capacity of approximately 4000 students and residential capacity of 2500 the campus plan is a combination of Indian aesthetics with a contemporary and global institutional design, reflecting the ideology behind Ashoka.

De-touring Ashoka University Campus designed by Perkins Eastman
De-touring Ashoka University Campus designed by Perkins Eastman

Organisational strategy of two concentric rings brings residential and academic life adjacent to each other rather than in distinct precincts which is conducive for moving between classes and housing. The two rings culminate in a sports yard on the west that is a hub from students’ recreation with play courts and informal eateries. This facilitates in creating a vibrant campus where learning is part of everyone’s all day experience both formally and informally. Sustainability is an integral part of design thinking with buildings incorporating outdoor corridors, natural ventilation in common areas, the use of jaali sun shades, and other passive features.The stone jali plays a vital role in cutting glare and providing diffused light. The design of the jaali acts as an identity to the Ashoka campus embracing the vitality of the design. 

De-touring Ashoka University Campus designed by Perkins Eastman
De-touring Ashoka University Campus designed by Perkins Eastman

The overall campus organisational concept is based on two concentric rings. The inner ring contains the academic buildings surrounding a central axial academic quadrangle. These buildings have ground floor arcades so that students can move from building to building in shade, protected from the rain and harsh sunlight. 

De-touring Ashoka University Campus designed by Perkins Eastman

The buildings are low in height in order to ease flow between classes as well as to maintain a collegiate atmosphere. This inner ring is wrapped by an outer ring of student and faculty housing. The outer ring is composed of several courtyard clusters that create smaller scaled spaces ideal for the residential environment. The landscape has grown to make the campus a biodiversity hotspot and this can be seen with changing foliage over seasons and visitor birds that are common in the campus.

De-touring Ashoka University Campus designed by Perkins Eastman
De-touring Ashoka University Campus designed by Perkins Eastman
De-touring Ashoka University Campus designed by Perkins Eastman

Sustainability is an integral part of design thinking with buildings incorporating outdoor corridors, natural ventilation in common areas, the use of jaali sun shades, and other passive features in addition to technologically advanced building systems. Solar panels on rooftops and on surface parking across campus provide for about 25% of the campus electricity requirements. Water management is done through low flow fixtures and rainwater harvesting. Waste management in the campus caters to segregation, recycling and organic waste regeneration. These efforts have led to getting the library mixed use building certified as the highest Platinum rating building by Indian Green Building Council.

De-touring Ashoka University Campus designed by Perkins Eastman
De-touring Ashoka University Campus designed by Perkins Eastman
De-touring Ashoka University Campus designed by Perkins Eastman

Building design uses a double wall construction with brick cladding and AAC blocks that reduce heat gain in the interior. Fenestrations are managed to bring in ample daylight in interior spaces. The stone jaali plays a vital role in cutting glare and providing diffused light. The design of the jaali has become synonymous to the brand of Ashoka making the architecture a vital part of the campus life.

Fact Sheet:

Name of Project:: Ashoka University

Location: Sonipat, Haryana, India

Principal Architect: Ar. Supriya Thyagarajan & Ar. Chhavi Lal

Site Area: 25 acres

Typology: Institutional

Completion of Project: 2021

Photography Credits: Perkins Eastman Office 

Written by Drashti Patel

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