The site is located northeast to Ahmedabad, in a village named Lavad, near Dahegam. The site is abutted by a 1.5 km stretch of Meshwo river on the southern boundary. It is heavily contoured with heavy runoff valleys from north to south, which lead to the river.
Preserving the existing land and its landscape, capturing water and retaining the water-bodies becomes the main motives to evolve the master plan. Thus the introduction of new check-dams and the water-bodies defines the ridges and planes on which the campus can be located and developed.
The design evolves from defining the two major axis laid across north-south and the east-west direction of the site.
The north-south axis connects the memorial, the parade ground taking one through the academic block to the ceremonial dining block and right across to the river edge ending with an amphitheatre. Thus this axis becomes predominant and acts as the spine of the campus, where the main activities would be centered.
The east-west axis is invisible and is laid out through the centre of the parade ground connecting the administration block on the western side and the museum cum convention centre on the eastern side. The main entry gate on the north-west corner and a secondary entry point at the western edge connecting to the existing village, defines the secondary axis along the north-south and the east-west direction respectively. A quadrangular road network is made to connect the museum cum convention centre and the athletic field on the north-eastern corner.
THE PARADE GROUND
The parade ground in the east-west axis becomes the anchor of academic activities. It defines the life of a cadet on campus. The academic block becomes the face of the parade ground on the south side that is flanked by the administrative block on to the west and the museum cum convention centre to the east.
We believe that learning happens by casual encounters across trans-disciplinary boundaries, across various age groups, from peers and faculty, from nature and between the inside and the outside. In order to achieve these qualities in the campus design the movement of a person is necessary. For this, streets are needed along which are dispersed facilities and programmes, faculty and students and workshops and labs.
All of these should also be able to absorb, change, grow and adjust over time to site conditions, budgets as well as to changing pedagogy and newer teaching methods. When this basic design concept is combined with the climatic considerations of heat, rain, breeze, the scarcity of water and the need to conserve it; we arrive at a series of courts circumscribed by shaded streets allowing for a variety of academic clusters along them.
Thus the concept in itself becomes the generator of the principles for an energy efficient architecture. So the water bodies transform into the rainwater harvesting pools. The roof of the spines takes the form of the lightweight solar panels thus capturing the solar energy. The use of local stone with the double glazed glass and stone screen, will help in reducing the energy requirement of the building.
One of the major feature of the design is the amalgamation of the boundary wall with the training activities. The wall is designed as an activity wall that would define the different programmes like running, jumping, crawling, climbing, tunnel training, commando training, ropeway training, muddy pathway training etc. along the wall, thus rendering a better meaning to the wall.
OUTDOOR TRAINING FIELDS AND SPORTS
Outdoor training facilities are dispersed to the peripheral zones of the site. The north-east corner site is completely dedicated for jungle warfare. Commando training, obstacle training and horse riding facilities are provided to the south-west part of the site. The sports field are provided on the northern part of the site.
The housing typology for both faculty houses and the students hostels are developed upon the principles of courtyard housing. The faculty houses and the girls hostel are to the south-west corner of the quadrangle and the boys hostels to the south-east corner.
The residences for students are envisioned as not just hostels with long corridors but rather as homes, shared by 25-30 people. These courtyard homes are put together forming a hierarchy of communities. Through a threshold one enters his or her own territory in turn lending each person living there a sense of identity as well as responsibility. When a cluster of homes come together they start sharing sports facilities such as badminton courts and play grounds. The residential area maintains an average of a ground plus one height, which allows for economy in construction as well as a possibility of growth in phases.