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The American Institute of Indian Studies, Gurgaon.

Space Design Consultants, architects


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The American Institute of Indian Studies provides scholars with facilities for research in Indian
art, architecture and music. The building houses the administrative offices, research facilities,
archives and libraries. Since AIIS was set up to conserve Indian art, architecture and music, the
building design follows the traditional Indian design principles. From outside, the building
appears to be a small single-storied structure while actually it is a basement and ground floor
organized around two sunken courtyards. The passage around the courtyards forms a thermal
transition zone between the uncontrolled outdoors and the controlled indoors. The building
form emulates the peaceful internal environment of a traditional courtyard building while
maintaining the modern standards for lighting and ventilation.

The sunken courtyards provide an element of surprise to the visitor and bring adequate daylight
into all areas of the building including the basement. The archives (tapes and negatives) have to
be maintained at a temperature of 18 deg C and need to be air-conditioned. To reduce the
cooling load, these areas are located in the earth sheltered basement. The work areas located at
the ground floor are protected by specially insulated external walls and cooled by a terrace
garden. North-south orientation of the building and the external sunshades over windows
reduce heat gain. Light shelves and glass brick panels improve quality of day lighting and
minimize the need for artificial lighting during daytime.

For additional thermal comfort in the work areas, a two-stage evaporative cooling system has
been provided. The first stage provides normal direct evaporative cooling in which air is cooled
by addition of moisture. In the second stage, air is cooled indirectly without adding any humidity
to it. By controlling the operation of the two stages, it is possible to achieve cooling with some
degree of humidity control. With changing standards of comfort, this system of evaporative
cooling had to be replaced with air conditioning for individual rooms.

As in traditional Indian buildings, diversity of functional spaces in the form of gardens, courts,
verandahs, pavilions and passages are provided in addition to the normal enclosed rooms. These
allow people to be comfortable at those times when the fully enclosed rooms feel
uncomfortable. The courtyard is designed for holding small meetings in summer while the
terrace garden with its modern pavilion is suitable for larger gatherings which usually take place
in winter. The breezy central verandah is ideally suited for the monsoon period.

About the Project:

Type of Project: Institutional


Location: Gurgaon
Climate: Composite
Topography: Flat
Form: Indian traditional
Built up Area: 1970 sqm
Architects: Space Design Consultants
Design Team: Vinod Gupta, L.P.Singh, Amrita Sharma, Koheli Banerjee
Consultants:
Structural: Y.N.Diwan
Electrical: Engineering Consulting Services
Plumbing: R.K.Gupta
HVAC: Gupta Consultants
Contractors: Parshotamsons Construction
Materials Used : Bricks, RC, expanded polyethylene, terra cota jali,
Year of Completion: 1998 for phase 1
Owner: American Institute of Indian Studies

Keywords : American Institute, courtyard, institutional, environment friendly, evaporative


cooling, daylight, passive cooling, energy efficient, brick, terrace garden, earth shelter, light
shelves, exposed brick, terra cota jail, terra cota figurines, Gurgaon,