All posts by Zachary R.

Bay Island Resort

The Bay Island Resort, located in Port Blair of the Andaman Islands, is built in a particularly stunning location. The waters are blue, the sky is blue, and the wildlife and beauty are picturesque.

Photo: ebuild.in

Charles Correa designed this complex as a series of buildings with asymmetrical pyramid roofs. This is so that the views from inside are not obstructed by the roofs. The resort has 45 guest rooms featuring modern amenities, and in some cases, panoramic views of the ocean as well. It would definitely be a very relaxing and beautiful place to take a vacation.

Photo: Mountain Edge Tours and Holidays
Photo: pi2travel.com

Hindustan Lever Pavilion

The Hindustan Lever Pavilion breaks many rules of traditional architecture. It was built for an industrial fair in Delhi, in 1961.

Photo: ebuild.in

Inside, the building was irregularly shaped, with concrete panels at unusual angles.

Photo: ebuild.in

According to Correa’s website, ventilation was provided by air “cannons” which set up convection currents of air that flowed throughout the building.

This building is definitely far from the norm, and perhaps wouldn’t be practical for many purposes. However, it would definitely be an interesting experience to visit a building such as this. In a sense, it could be considered abstract art in the form of a building, and as such, I could appreciate it. One interesting feature is that it doesn’t really provide much in the way of scale – it’s hard to get a grasp on exactly how large it is without seeing some sort of known object for reference.

Photo: Hidden Architecture, via blogspot.com

Salt Lake City Centre

When I first read about this building, I immediately assumed it would be located in Salt Lake City, Utah. But in fact, this building is located in India, the home country of its architect Charles Correa.

Photo: Outlook India magazine

The City Centre is a bustling hub of commercial and entertainment spaces.  Its mall combines elements of an Indian bazaar with a more traditional Western mall design. It contains many open pedestrian walkways with a polycarbonate roof overhead; the combination of this design with the arrangement of the buildings nearby provides openness and diffused sunlight while offering shoppers protection from the weather. But it is more than merely a mall – it compasses apartment houses and office buildings as well as theaters, shopping, and even a wedding hall.

Photo: Cityscape Calcutta blog

The City Centre’s website describes this complex as a place where everyone can find something to do: “It offers an endearing environment where people can do their own thing – shop at leisure or just browse past the window display, choose between a quick bite or a full-course spread, catch the latest blockbuster or the high-brow award winner – just like that.” Definitely sounds like a place I would love to go shopping!

Incremental Housing

Built in New Bombay, India, the Incremental Housing project was Charles Correa’s attempt to show that high population density could be achieved in a low-rise typology. Each “increment” is composed of a group of seven houses arranged around a central, shared courtyard. The houses do not share walls, and each house is on its own piece of land, to promotive privacy and extensibility.

Photo: ebuild.in

Incremental Housing is a great idea, in my opinion.  According to Correa’s website, these houses can cover almost the whole social spectrum from the poor to the wealthy. Though it’s not a perfect or complete solution because it may not be very accessible to the very poorest, it provides one tool that may be useful in improving the lives of people in India.

Photo: Architectural Review

MRF headquarters

MRF is a rubber and tire manufacturing company based in Madras, India. Rather than build a high-rise tower to show off the commercial position of the company as the leading tire manufacturer in India, Charles Correa designed this building to convey monumentality through a single large pillar supporting the front of the building. Part of the reason for this choice was that Madras has few high-rise buildings, so Correa designed this building to express its significance in other ways than height.

Photo: The New Indian Express

According to Charles Correa’s website, the various levels of offices in the building connect to a central atrium via stairs. The roof hosts a large, terraced garden as well.

Photo: The Hindu

MIT Brain and Cognitive Science Center

Photo: Andy Ryan, via MIT website

MIT’s Brain and Cognitive Science Center was built between 2000 and 2005, and was designed by architect Charles Correa. Built with an outer skin of glass and beige stone, it portrays a modern and sensible style that is appropriate for its urban setting and its function as a research facility.  The interior contains classrooms, offices and conference rooms, labs, and a five-story atrium. But that’s not all; this building is also environmentally responsible. According to MIT’s website, this facility includes many sustainable design features, such as gray-water recycling for toilets, improved heat management technology and materials to minimize energy usage, efficient lighting design, and low VOC paints and other construction materials. It is a hub of activity and advanced research on the MIT campus. Although I’ve never had the opportunity to visit this facility, I would definitely enjoy spending time there as a student or researcher.

Photo: www.charlescorrea.net
Photo: www.charlescorrea.net

Dale Hall

Dale Hall is at the southern end of the South Oval, on OU’s campus. It is probably my least favorite building on campus. From the outside, Dale is boring. Inside, it feels old and poorly maintained.

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The use of space is not terribly efficient. A very large square in the center of the building is solely devoted to stairs. While the stairs certainly needed to go somewhere, they are the central feature of the building and immediately draw your attention when you walk in. Unfortunately, they’re not very attractive stairs.

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The view when walking in the main entrance
Upper level
Upper level

The classrooms in Dale are some of the worst on campus. The chairs and desks are old, and some of them are broken. The acoustics are poor in some rooms, and it can be hard to hear the professor’s voice. There is some natural light in the main area, but very little in the classrooms (most of its classrooms have no windows at all), and combined with the old, faded building materials, it lends to a very drab and boring environment. The building always seems to be either too hot or cold as well. Whenever I signed up for a class and found out it was going to be in Dale, I was always disappointed. Perhaps someday Dale Hall will be renovated and improved, but as it currently exists, it is a building that most students would likely prefer to avoid.

Dentist’s office

Doctors’ offices are not always in beautiful buildings, but this one is. Dr. Kristi Cobb’s office is located in Mustang, Oklahoma, and was custom-built by Shephard and Sons Construction. The style of this building is very rustic, with a definite log cabin feeling inside.

Photo credit: Dr. Kristi Cobb, via Facebook

The interior of the office is decorated in the style you might expect to see in a log cabin in the mountains of Colorado. The walls are a rich tan, with large dark brown logs supporting the ceiling. A smiling bear made from a carved log stands near the doorway, and several pictures of mountains and wild horses hang from the walls. The lobby is dark, but not dreary, and the cheery office staff do everything they can to bring smiles to the patients waiting to have their teeth cleaned.

Since this building is specifically designed to be a dental clinic, there are multiple rooms where Dr. Cobb and her dental hygienists can treat their patients. The office is outfitted with modern dental equipment and X-ray machines, but the rustic design of the building keeps it from feeling cold and clinical, and instead helps patients to be more relaxed and comfortable. The treatment rooms are mostly on the southern side of the building as well, so they are bright and cheery, a pleasant contrast to the darker lobby. Although dental offices are not always the most pleasant places to visit, I always looked forward visiting Dr. Cobb’s office.

USAO Alumni Chapel

The Alumni Chapel is located on the campus of USAO, in Chickasha, Oklahoma. It is set apart somewhat from the rest of the campus, surrounded by greenery. A bridge takes a wavy cement walkway over a small creek, leading to the stately doors of the chapel. While it is not a particularly large building, it can still hold a couple hundred people.

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Photo credit: Chad Hale, via Flickr

 

The chapel doesn’t have an overly bright interior, but it is not unpleasant. There are a few stained glass windows that let in some colored light during the daytime, creating a reverent feeling. USAO is a school with a strong liberal arts program, and the chapel is a good representation of the value they place on art and performance.

The chapel is often used for classical music concerts, and it has excellent acoustics. Most of the interior is wood, and the seating and floor have very firm, short carpeting which doesn’t absorb all the sound. The reverberation time isn’t long, but its sound is warm and balanced, lending a beautiful atmosphere to classical music. One of my favorite memories of this building is from when I attended USAO’s Christmas choral concert several years ago. The concert began with the choir surrounding the audience and singing Carol of the Bells, solely illuminated by candlelight. It was an incredible experience with real surround sound and perfect acoustics.

Bizzell Library

The Bizzell library was built in honor of William Bennett Bizzell, OU’s fifth president. Its first phase was completed in 1929, but it has been expanded several times since then. It is one of the most iconic buildings on the OU campus.

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This library contains a variety of interior styles. There are the Stacks, with clouded glass floors and cramped shelves that all look fairly similar. The smell of old books and the dim lighting give it a slightly eerie feel. Then there is the Great Reading Room, a magnificent room of silence and stillness. The very atmosphere of the room seems to inspire thoughtful contemplation and almost reverence. One of my favorite times to sit in the Great Reading Room is in the evening, when the west windows allow the sunlight to stream into the room, turning the rich wood into a beautiful gold (it was around this time of day when I took the picture below for a friend). Its name is fitting as well; its noise-free environment with few distractions is a perfect setting for reading or thinking.

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The rest of the library is a rather drab environment with low ceilings and florescent lighting, filled with books and desks, though the first floor has a new computer lab and has been renovated recently to be much more modern. Part of the basement was also renovated within the last year, including a redesign of the Bookmark Cafe and the creation of a new collaborative space for students.

A library is one of the most important buildings for a college student, and the Bizzell Library’s architecture is suitably impressive. The two main entrances to the library are both impressive, but my favorite entrance has always been the set of doors on the south side. They are grand, heavy wooden and glass doors that make one feel they are entering a place full of significance and knowledge – and indeed, that describes Bizzell exactly.

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