Our masterplan proposal for Nalanda University seeks to make a campus that is both practical and memorable, composed of simple constructed, straightforward buildings arranged to create interesting and legible spaces. Nalanda traditionally has been an ancient centre for learning that today is being reborn as a post-graduate and doctoral university, promulgated in 2010 by the Indian central government and a pan-Asian initiative receiving funding from several Asian countries.
The masterplan seeks to make the University both practical and memorable: Practical in the construction of simple, straightforward and flexible buildings; and memorable not because the buildings are iconic architectural statements, but because the spaces between them are interesting, rewarding and legible. Set in a relatively remote location, the network of these spaces reflects the plan of a town in order to give it the DNA to become a great academic community.
A comfortable series of interlinked spaces provide an urban pattern with a relaxed permeability and a clear hierarchy. A series of pedestrian routes link every building and lead directly to a primary street in which the major university activities are located. This spine is anchored, at one end, by the library and at the other by a museum, auditorium and temple.
The central spine is conceived as a busy pedestrian street – its east-west alignment running parallel to the distant topography of an escarpment to the north, a dramatic landscape backdrop to the campus. The masterplan reflects the university’s sustainability aspirations for energy use, emissions, waste and water use.