Maya Somaiya Library

Category Winner Building Outside the Box

Maya Somaiya Library; Brick Award 2020 Category "Building Outside The Box"; Architects: Sameep Padora & Associates, Photo:  Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner
Maya Somaiya Library; Brick Award 2020 Category "Building Outside The Box"; Architects: Sameep Padora & Associates, Photo:  Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

Key facts

Maya Somaiya Library

Architects   Sameep Padora & Associates, India

Location   Kopargaon, India

Construction period   2018

Nomination category   Building Outside the Box

Purpose   Education

Brick type   Facing bricks for visible elements outside and inside



 

About the project

The Maya Somaiya Library - a radical new building for the Shri Sharda English Medium School at Kopargaon, Maharashtra - occupies a narrow strip of land between existing school buildings, farmland and an electricity sub-station. The site might seem unpromising, yet here Sameep Padora and his Mumbai studio have shaped a balletic building that appears to grow naturally and sinuously from the ground. It rises in fluid form to span a single space library before curving back to the ground again.

The complex form of the roof is made and shaped by three layers of shallow - 32 milimeter - brick tiles. Held in compression, these form lightweight vaults proving how adventurous contemporary design can be realized in simple and locally sourced materials. 

The compound curves of this graceful structure have been made possible through a Swiss 3D computer modeling process that has adapted the Tile Arch System patented by Rafael Guastavino in Spain and the United States, and thin-shell structures of the Uruguayan architect Eladio Dieste. Designed with the aid of computers and yet hand-crafted, the library treads a fine, calligraphic line between technological wizardry and a sense of what is natural.

"We imagined the library building to be a formal extension of the ground using brick as a material for its tactility, availability, as well as its utility as insulation against the strong sun."

The structure of the library is strong enough to be walked over and, additionally to its educational purpose, serves as a form satisfying landscape art.