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Architectural Thesis Report



In loving memory of Mr.Tojo Sunny, Father of Snehalayam.




Submitted By MERITA JOY REG NO. 2009AR24



Home for the Snehalayam Family


DECLARATION I hereby declare that this thesis titled Snehalayam – Roof of Hope is a bona-fide work carried out by me for the award of Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) Degree of the University of Mysore under the guidance of Internal Guide: Ar. Vivina Kuttaiah External Guide: Ar. Kukke Subramanya The University School of Design , University of Mysore. It has not been submitted (partially or in full) for the award of any other degree or Diploma of any other University.

Date: Place: ( signature of candidate) i7



First and foremost I would like to thank God for all the opportunities and blessings received thus far in life. If it wasn’t for His constant intercession this thesis would not have been possible. Secondly I owe a lot of gratitude to Mr.Tojo Sunny and everyone else at Snehalayam, Pondicherry, for their love, support and care. They provided for me without a thought about their resources or themselves. This thesis project is for everyone at Snehalayam I would like to thank Ar.Kukke Subramanya, Ar. S.G. Srinivas and Ar. Vivina Kuttiah for their direction, insight and guidance throughout this thesis project. Their advice and input were highly valuable and helped me unlock key and crucial elements in approaching the design solution. I would like to thank my parents for giving me all the opportunities they have opened up for me, their constant love, support and motivation. My friends from all the different stages of my life thus far. They are constant source of inspiration, motivation and positive energy. Lastly, thank you to all the invisible forces that set up all the unexpected coincidence and opportunities that I encountered while trying to execute this thesis to the best of my abilities.

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Table of Contents Declaration Acknowledgment

i ii

1. Abstract

Driving thoughts of this Thesis. ...............15

2. Snehalayam - Profile 2.1. Introduction .....17 2.2. Philosophies of Snehalayam .....17 2.3. Causes for Abandonment and Neglect - Elderly and Children.....19 2.4. Problems arising in Neglected Individuals .....19 2.5. Addressing the Issue .....19 2.6.Current Home of Snehalaym .....21

3. Analysis of Proposed Relocation Site 3.1. Proposed Site Location and Setting .....23 3.2. Soil Type on Site .....23 3.3. Understanding movement of Sun over Proposed Site .....25 3.4. Water Table Levels (Ariyankuppam) .....27 3.5. Site Statistics and Information .....29 3.6. Site Sections .....30

4. Climatic Parameters 4.1. Temperature .....35 4.2. Precipitation (Rain) .....35 4.3. Tides and Cyclones .....35

5. Built-Form Response 5.1. Form and Planning .....37 5.2. External Spaces .....37 5.3. Roof and Walls .....39 5.4. Openings .....41 5.5. Air Flow Pattern .....41



Table of Contents 6. Building Case Studies 6.1. Jeeva Nivas, Ar.Poonam Malchandi, Auroville, Pondicherry .....43 6.2. Golconde House, Ar.Antonin Reymond & Ar.George Nakashima, Pondicherry .....47 6.3. SOS Village, Mistry Architects, Pondicherry .....53 6.4. Asha Niketan, Ar.Navnath Kanade, Bangalore .....55 6.5. Auroville Architectural Observations .....57

7. Buidling Bye Laws, Rules and Regulations, Pondicherry .....61 8. Proposed Built Area Calculations .....62 9. Snehalayam Demographics and Programme Developement 9.1. Current numbers at Snehalaym .....65 9.2. Proposed numbers at Snehalaym .....65 9.3. Proposed programme for Snehalayam .....65

10. Snehalayam Process Developement .....68 11. Design Proposal 11.1. Unit Detail Plan .....70 11.2 Unit Detail Section .....72 11.3. Ground Floor Plan .....74 11.4. First Floor Plan .....76 11.5. Site Sections .....78 11.6. Roof Plan .....80

12. 3d Views 12.1.Units View ....82 12.2. Aerial View ....84

13. Bibliography .....87



1.Abstract An encompassing environment has the power of influence and sway over an individuals’ moods, decision making capacities, personality, social behavior and physical as well as mental health. This environment comprises of both the Built and Un-Built Spaces. The relationship between them and their collective cohesiveness (or lack thereof), holds the capacity to translate terminologies used for the expression of human emotions into a physical form of existence. Within the framework of this thesis it looks to delve into understanding the relationship between the physical and non-physical landscape and to provide a proposal effectively demonstrating the said relationship. An analysis on where, or rather for whom, this exploration can be provided for and catered to so that the individual or collective group being addressed can reap its benefits. Moving down this particular line of thought, leads this thesis to look into the requirements among a group of individuals, that needs a Safe Space for physical and more importantly, psychological healing. Target group of the Thesis The thesis, therefore decided to focus on children, with a difficult to a non-existent past and elderly, ostracized by kith, kin and society. By bringing together these two groups it aims to not only, provide a built solution, but also, plug in a functioning program so that both parties can grow and re-establish human connections. Snehalayam - Roof of Hope It is within this particular context that, Snehalayam (meaning:Home of Love), an NGO in Pondicherry, India, that functions by utilizing the new found familial relationships as its healing methods, becomes the focal point of this thesis. Aim of the Thesis Capture the symbiotic relationships between the two groups among the vocabulary to translate into architectural spaces. Solutions, through the medium of architecture, to develop the personality of the children and prepare them to re-enter society. Physical solutions to address the problems of restoring dignity and sense of belonging among the rescued elderly. Architecture and architectural program to provide a space, to recreate the security of family bonds and ties. The thesis aims to provide for them a solution that is within their budgeted resources. A solution easily comprehensible for everyone occupying them and serve as a well meaning backdrop to their time spent in the Home. A solution simple enough, so that it may serve as an example or guide for further explorations along the same tone.


The current Snehalayam home.

The familial relationships between the elderly and children is very observable.


2.Snehalayam - Profile 2.1. Introduction

Snehalayam is a home founded by Mr.Tojo Sunny in Pondicherry attending to the deserving poor and needy, rejected and ostracized by the Indian society and politics. In Snehalayam, the young and the old rescued from the streets are given the safe space that they have been deprived off. Both children and the aged live under the same roof. The idea of Snehalayam is to give back the children their opportunities, opening all the doors that were previously closed to them and re-empowering the rescued elderly and physically handicapped. Tojo has one ultimate and beautiful dream: he wants to create a community, in which marginalized people of all kinds can live together such as orphans and other lost children, the physically handicapped, as well as mentally and terminally ill patients. At Snehalayam the exchange, of childish joy on the one hand and experience of age on the other, is one both sides profit from.

2.2. Philosophies of Snehalayam

Snehalayam functions by ensuring free flowing communication, opportunities to discover and develop personal talents. It fosters itself on the power of patience when handling any matter regarding its members. They are very acutely aware of the need to win the trust of the children and elderly that care for as it is the essential first step to helping them re-enter society. They believe in a holistic healing approach of the past wounds that are of a physical as well as psychological nature. They work this relationship and trust towards ensuring the children grow into responsible human beings. By basing their philosophies for operation on familial relationships enables them to create an environment of warmth, security and belonging. They provide support, impart courage and more importantly re-introduces hope into the lives of its members. Snehalayam ensures they have an open door welcoming not only, for people that are looking for care, but also, anyone who is willing to listen, share their compassion, care and time with them.


The imperative need for physical and psychological healing.

The beneficial exchange between the elderly and young.

The brotherly and compassionate attitude the kids develop at the home.


2.Snehalayam - Profile 2.3. Causes for Abandonment and Neglect - Children and Elderly

A national level survey on the phenomenon of street children clearly illustrates certain primary causes for the neglect and abandonment of children. They reasons consist of physical abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism of parents, break-up of families, neglect from step-parents, death of parents and destitute to very poor parents that are unable to afford raising their children in a healthy environment. Incidentally the physically and psychologically strained elderly that Snehalayam rescues from the streets of Pondicherry are also abandoned for reasons such as the family being unable to afford the treatment, lack of interest in putting the extra effort required in providing care.

2.4. Problems arising in Neglected Individuals

The treatment meted out to the children from the family or the life they have been used to while left to the elements of life on the streets make them very prone to a range of social and physical ailments. They include drawbacks in expressions of emotions, psychiatric damages, learning difficulties, trust issues, tendency to violence, criminality, diseases and bodily harm. The elderly rescued suffer from psychological breakdowns at the shock of being abandoned by immediate family and the harsh life on the streets. The have wounds that get terribly infected thereby leading to be more ostracized by an unsympathetic society. The physical wounds eventually lead to handicaps. Therefore the problems they face gets compounded both physically and mentally on them.

2.5. Addressing the Issue

At Snehalayam they take a ‘Cure Approach’ when it comes to handling the children and elderly. With the children they focus on workshops and vocational training in order to wean them away from life on the streets, education in reputed schools based on their abilities, instilling a sense of discipline, integrating them into living communally and encouraging them to be self-sufficient. With the rescued elderly the primary importance is of winning trust and physical healing. This is followed by the longer process of psychological healing that are tailored to the each individuals needs specifically. They do this with the help of their own members as well as that of external volunteers and social workers. The volunteers visits can range from a single day, single session to a prolonged stay of months, actively integrating them into the fabric and functioning of the family.


The home currently running in full capacity with every space occupied. The living room acting as a flexible space, serving different purposes based on time of day and the members using.

Ground Floor Plan: 1-Entrance Porch, 2-Living Room, 3-Storage, 4- Tojo’s Room, 5-Toilet, 6-Female Members Room, 7-Record Room, 8-Toilet, 9-Service Block, 10-Pantry/Dining, 11-Main Kitchen, 12-Garage. 20

First Floor Plan: 13-Toilet, 14-Elderly Male, 15-Balcony, 16-Patient’s Room, 17-Healthy Elderly Male, 18-Volunteer Accommodation, 19-Social Service Worker and other Staff Accommodation, 20-Terrace.

2.Snehalayam - Profile 2.6. Current Home of Snehalayam

The current home of Snehalayam is located in an area called Kalapet on the outskirts of Pondicherry. The home is a ground plus first floor structure, with an accessible terrace. It consists of 6 bedrooms and 4 baths. The formal dining and kitchen with its related stores are built as a separate block from the main house. Therefore the previous kitchen and dining spaces in the main has been converted into store rooms and sleeping spaces. Despite this conversion, the home is currently running in full capacity with an average of 4 members occupying each room. Even the balconies are used to accommodate the elderly. The living room converts into a dormitory status at night accommodating all the children upto the age of 14. The older children share space with some of the elderly on the upper floor. There is a separate service block which consists of 1 store room, 4 toilets (Indian style lavatory), a closed shower, an open communal shower for the children, a long hand-wash and washing stone. The home also has front yard, amply shaded by mango trees. In addition there is also provision for a garage but it is mainly used for storage purposes.

Section AA.

Section BB.


Approach road and Entrance to Site. Coconut Tree plantation on Site.

Perennial Backwater on Eastern edge.

Existing bund wall along the edge.

Seashell deposits along in the site.

Existing, functioning pump room.

ter kwa Bac

Site with existing coconut tree plantation. Entry and Exit Points to the Site


Predominant wind direction from South to North (day) and reverse at night.

3.Analysis of Proposed Relocation Site 3.1. Proposed Site Location and Setting

The site is located in the Ariyankuppam Taluk of the Union Territory of Pondicherry/Puducherry. The settlements in close proximity to the site are primarily agricultural land and village settlements engaged in the fishing industry. The site is located at a distance of 750mts from the beach and 2km. from the nearest highway (East Coast Road). Within a 2km. radius from the site is also located a hospital and a government run school till higher secondary. The villages around, apart from being engaged in the fishing industry, is also involved in weaving of thatch roofs and experts in the local construction techniques. They have expert knowledge in constructing and maintaining buildings made with natural materials since they dwell in similar structures, hand built by them and their community. The site is currently an existing coconut plantation with a majority of the trees mature and healthy, planted in grids for easy maintenance. Working around and within the trees effectively guideline for the proposal, as the sale of coconuts and its by products provides an opportunity for income generation. There is a perennial backwater running along the longer East edge of the site. During the monsoon months the water floods into the low lying areas along the West edges of the site essentially transforming the site into an island. But the water that gathers along the West edge tend to stagnate. Therefore preventing this unhealthy stagnation of water need to be considered into the design solution.

3.2. Soil Type on Site

The soil type at the site was analyzed in accordance with the procedures and techniques illustrated by the research work published by the Auroville Earth Institute lead by Ar. Satprem Maini. On analysis the soil type found to be is off the Sandy Clayey / Sandy Loamy Type. The process of soil tests conducted and its result is further supported by data from the Soil Genesis, Classification Survey and Evaluation Volume 2 authored by A.K. Kolay. The Sandy Clayey/Sandy Loamy Type of Soil allows for a range of construction techniques with earth. They range from Filled in, Covered, Compressed Earth Blocks (which require 6% lime stabilization), Stacked (with natural or lime stabilizers), Moulded (stabilization with fibers), Extruded (lime stabilization 8%) and Daubed (stabilization with fibers). Interestingly, the site has natural sea shell deposits that can be converted into calcium hydroxide (lime) by chemical processes that can be carried out on site and used for the stabilization processes. Proposed Site

Agricultural Area

Commercial and Industrial Property

Residential Property

East Coast Road (ECR)


Image of Site - North-East

Image of Site - North-West


3.Analysis of Proposed Relocation Site 3.3. Understanding movement of Sun over Proposed Site

Being located in very close proximity to the Equator and with a hot and humid type of climatic features close attention need to be paid to the intensity of the incident solar radiation. Understanding the intensity, glare annually is integral information to be taken into consideration while formulating the design solution.

Sun Path January,15th

Sun Path February,15th

Sun Path March,15th

Sun Path April,15th

Sun Path May15th

Sun Path June,15th

Sun Path July,15th

Sun Path August,15th

Sun Path September,15th

Sun Path October,15th

Sun Path November,15th

Sun Path December,15th


Image of Site - South

Image of Site - East


3.Analysis of Proposed Relocation Site 3.4. Water Table Levels (Ariyankuppam)

The new proposed site for Snehalayam is located in the Taluk of Ariyankuppan, part of the Union Territory of Pondicherry. The region despite being close to the beach do face problems of water shortage in the summer months and has to depend on either government or private entities for the supply of water for essential purposes. Therefore knowledge of verified data illustrating the water table levels in the Pre and Post-Monsoon months is vital not only from a construction point of view but also lays out an idea on how selfsufficient and self-reliant the home can be in fulfilling its internal needs. As the maps below clearly illustrate water tables dropping to significant depths in the summer months. Therefore it is essential for the design strategy to counteract the problem of this reality.

Depth to Water Level - Pre-Monsoon 2m-5m

5m-10m 10m-20m 20m-40m

Depth to Water Level - Post-Monsoon >40mt

Depth to Water Level-Meters Below Ground Level [m.bgl.]

State of Tamil Nadu Boundary. Union Territory (Puducherry)Boundary.

Source: Government of India, Ministry of Water Resources, South Eastern Coastal Region


View of Site at the Point of Entrance.


3.Analysis of Proposed Relocation Site 3.5. Site Statistics and Information

The proposed site has a total site area of 4.5Acres/ 18,117 Sq.Mt. . After the government regulated 7metre offset is left along the whole perimeter of the site the final site area availing for construction purposes is 3.5Acres/14,424 Sq.Mt. There is a total of 206 Coconut Trees that are fully mature and growing. It also contains a young mango tree within its boundaries. The perimeter of the site is lined with other shrubs and wild plants which acts as a natural barrier from accidents along the backwaters edge. The approach road has a width of 4.0metres. The features that is located within the site is I-Existing Water Pump Room, II-Well on Site (in use) and III-Burial site (in use).

+0.0m LVL

+0.5m LVL

+1.0m LVL

+1.5m LVL

+2.0m LVL

+2.5m LVL

+3.0m LVL

-1.5m LVL


3.6. Site Sections

Section AA

Section BB

Section CC 30


3.6. Site Sections

Section DD

Section EE

Section FF



Average Monthly Temperature

Average Solar Radiation-Direct

Average Solar Radiation-Diffuse

Cold Season

Typical Cloud Cover

Predominant forms of Rainfall

Relative Humidity - High and Low Max.,Min. & Avg. Wind Speeds


Warm Season

Wind Directions over the Year

Source: Met Data, Port Department, Government of Puducherry,

4.Climatic Parameters 4.1. Temperature

Summer lasts from April to early June, when maximum temperatures frequently hit the 41degree C mark. The average maximum temperature is 36 degree C. Minimum temperatures are in the order of 28 - 32degree C.

4.2. Precipitation (Rains)

The Northeast Monsoon sets in during the middle of October, and Puducherry gets the bulk of its annual rainfall during the period from October to December. The month with the least precipitation on average is March with an average of 0 mm. The annual average rainfall is 1240 mm. During south west monsoon between March and September, the wind blows predominantly from the South.During June, July and August, strong wind is experienced from South West direction in mornings from South during afternoons and from South East during nights.

4.3. Tides and Cyclones

The tidal currents observed in the vicinity of Ariyankuppam river mouth indicates unidirectional current from north to south during flooding as well as ebbing tides and the maximum strength of the current as observed is 0.26 m/sec. The coast is affected by the storms occurring during the North-East monsoon (October to December). The occurrence of storms in this region is about once in three years.

Annual Average High Temperature.

Annual Average Low Temperature.

Annual Average Precipitation.

Annual Average Wind Speed.

Source: Met Data, Port Department, Government of Puducherry,


East-West Axis for air flow

Deep overhangs for shade.

Shorter sides to face East & West Raised from the ground for air flow.

Vegetation to influence air flow.


Air cools that passes through shade.

5.Built -Form Response to Climate On analysis of above mentioned data the following conclusions are observed, hot and sticky conditions with continual presence of dampness in the air and environment. There is very little temperature variation between day and night and the incident solar radiation during the day is primarily of the diffused nature. Wind speeds are low to almost non-existant. There are long periods of stagnant air with very little natural air drafts. Therefore introducing areas of low and high pressure to facilitate air movement is of primary importance.

5.1. Form and Planning Prevailing Wind

Orientation along East-West axis. Maximize natural ventilation and Minimize sun radiation impact.

Scattered plan of buildings to avoid blocking of air movement.

Low building with wide overhangs and to avoid solar radiation impact.

Open elongated plan shapes,with single row of rooms accessible from verandas allowing for crossventilation. Door and windows should be as large as possible to allow for air passage.

Elevated of the ground to avoid stagnant or slowly moving air capturing air movements of higher velocity.

5.2. External Spaces

Air flow patterns are influenced by vegetation and can be modified by landscape.

Air should be cooled by passing over and through shaded areas before entering the building.

Unshaded pavement heats up while lawns remain cooler hence cooler micro-climate.

Source: Manual of Tropical Housing and Building, World wide web.


Natural canopies for shade.

Man made canopies for shade.

Simple,organic method of shading Vegetation grown on building faces.

Free and Open Planning.


Jalli to ensure security and air flow.

5.Built -Form Response to Climate 5.2. External Spaces

Rain trees form an extraordinary outdoor space by providing a canopy effect creating a comfortable micro-climate.

Raised of the ground to protect from flooding and avoid stagnant hot air heated by the ground.

5.3. Roof and Walls

Shading trees, wide overhanging roof, raised floor, free flow of air through the building.

Roof-forms for dissipation unnecessary hot air.

Double roof construction to Green cover on roofs and walls protects from dissipate air heated by the roof solar radiant heat,cooling, regulating humidity before it reaches living spaces. effects, stabilizes micro-climate, filters dust from the air.

Open plans with movable partition walls for privacy when needed.

Fenestrations that keep out rain, provide privacy, still allowing air flow.

Effect on air movement with unresponsive internal wall arrangements.

Source: Manual of Tropical Housing and Building, World wide web.


Verandahs with adjustable louvers. Adjustable louvers to control wind.

Typical openings on a Tamil home. Windows that provide security and ventilation.

Openings that allow max. air flow. Ensuring cross ventilation but keeping insects out.


5.Built -Form Response to Climate 5.4. Openings

Louvers is a common fenestration detain in this climate but Normal care should be taken in the way it is positioned as it may drive louvers diverts the the wind up towards the ceiling and away from the living zone. wind up. Driving rain also lashes inside.

5.5. Air Flow Pattern

Modifiyed louvers that diverts the wind into the living spaces and prevent driving rain from lashing in.

Large solid surface creates a larger pressure build up Variable wind direction large and this pushes the air stream in the opp. direction in inlet desirable increased plan and section. Hence openings should be evenly spaced. volume of movement through living zone.

Constant wind direction small inlet desired increased velocity through the living zone.

Canopies divert air flow upwards.

A gap left between the building ensure downward pressure.

High set inlet openings cause the air flow to take place near the ceiling and away from the living zone.

Sashes divert air flow upwards.

Pivot sash divert air flow downwards.

Openings should be low set to achieve,max. comfort.

Source: Manual of Tropical Housing and Building, World wide web.


Shorter sides face East-West. Openings that allow in wind and natural light.

Cut-outs and large openings that allow for air flow and visual connectivity.

Vertical Rammed Earth structural fins. Vegetation on the building to protect from harsh sun& dust.


6. Building Case Studies 6.1.1. Profile

6.1.Jeeva Nivas, Ar.Poonam Malchandi, Pondicherry

This project was commissioned by Arul Ashram, Pondicherry, India. The ashram provides a refuge for children with AIDS / HIV. The home is a stepping stone for young HIV + orphans to live an independent life; a place where teenagers grow into young men who can manage their health and pursue higher education or a trade.

6.1.2. Design Approach

The requirement of areas, functions and their relation was quite complex. The building was to host 15 youth, 1 special educator, 2 volunteers, a cook’s family. Due to the site surface area limitation, the built form had to be extruded vertically to be able to accommodate all these multiple functions. Also the principle wind direction was on the narrow end of the site. A composition of vertical load bearing wall fins was devised as the main structure. These wall fins were staggered to allow cross ventilation even in the rooms on the far side of the wind direction. The interiors provide a clean and organized living environment, which, by design, stays very cool in the summer, without mechanical ventilation.

6.1.3. Structure

Load Bearing Rammed Earth walls that allow for column beam free built structure and allowing for a more open plan structure which, in turn, renders it climatically conducive.

6.1.4. Climatic Response and Drawbacks

The building is aligned in the direction of the prevalent winds of the region to take in maximum advantage of the site features. The intention of the long rectilinear plan with the large cut-outs and openings were to ensure there is through cross-ventilation throughout the building during all seasons. But this approach to ventilation and lighting did not carry through to the shower and service area where they are heavily required. In fact, discouraging the flow of wind through the whole length of the building. The large openings ensure utilization of natural daylight. But the monsoon rains lash inside through the openings due to insufficient overhang of the sun shade.


1. Entrance Porch 2. Lobby/ Living Room 3. Dining Hall 4. Toilet 5. Bathroom 6. Kitchen 7. Cook’s family accommodation

Ground Floor Plan 4. Toilet 5. Bathroom 8. Prayer/ Meditation Room 9. Informal Living/ TV/ Games Room 10. Study Room 11. Volunteer Room 12. Balcony 13. Office 14. Social Worker’s Room

First Floor Plan

4. Toilet 12. Balcony 15. Sleeping Area (younger boys) 16. Shower Area 17. Youth Room

Second Floor Plan


6. Building Case Studies 6.1.Jeeva Nivas, Ar.Poonam Malchandi, Pondicherry 6.1.5. Vertical Zoning

The zoning of the building is presumably done on the basis of privacy, with the public level where outsiders are entertained at the ground level. Semi-Private on the first floor consisting of the prayer hall, recreation and study rooms (for the boys) and accommodation/office for the volunteers. Private on the third floor which is the sleeping quarters for the boys. A space/floor entirely for their needs.

6.1.6. Attention to Detail

Special attention is paid to details, for example, niches in the walls to keep brooms and other objects in a non-cluttered manner. The walls have cut-outs from floor to ceiling, ensuring cross ventilation and visual connectivity between the segregated sleeping areas. A single vertical circulation core is placed centrally in the planning of the building. Cut-outs on the wall engulfing the staircase enables one to observe the activity that is going on at the level he is approaching towards. The cut-out also ensures movement through the building is always observable and transparency is ensured.

Sleeping Area



Informal Living






Section BB

Section AA


The first modernist building in India extensively using concrete. Flexible concrete fins to allow for air circulation.

View of North Garden that is not as shaded as the South Garden. Double skin for privacy and diffusing incident light.

Adjustable concrete louvers and perforated, pivoted shutters to ensure air movement even in closed positions.


6. Building Case Studies 6.2.Golconde House, Ar.Antonin Raymond & Ar.George Nakashima, Pondicherry 6.2.1. Profile

It is principally a guest house for the disciples of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry which includes living and sleeping accommodation, workrooms and utilities. Built on a plot area of 2324sq.m consists of 51 rooms distributed on 3 floors with a semi-basement and a total built up area of 600sq.m.

6.2.2. Concept Of the Building

“…The purpose, as a matter of fact, of the dormitory was not primarily the housing of the disciples it was creating an activity, the materialization of an idea, by which the disciples might learn, might experience, might develop, though contact with the erection of a fine building.” –Ar.Antonin Raymond. The simple furnishings and general lack of clutter were influenced by the ideal of the yogic life: full without excess, beautiful without ostentation. The cohesion between its architectural organization and the hosting of a specific, ritualized lifestyle constitutes a notable aspect of the building.

6.2.3. Form and Planning

Golconde’s presence on the street is anomalous: an exposed concrete wall with an oversized teak door, devoid of any ornamentation except for a small lotus. The building plan is remarkably simple. Two long staggered wings set at an angle on the narrow plot, thereby making the most of the rather limited space. The entry door leads into a garden. A small water nala runs along the periphery of the building to keep the insects out. The partially excavated ground floor serves as the functional hub, containing dining and kitchen facilities. The residential quarters are on the upper floor, lifted above the pools and gardens to maintain privacy , it is undisturbed by the routine arrivals and departures. The building has a total of 51 rooms. The rooms on the top floor West has 4 double rooms. Between the two wings in the center section in which are the stairways, bathrooms and toilets.

6.2.4. Built Form Response to Climate

This building was designed such that there was no mechanical cooling involved. Orientation - The longer side of the building faces 20degEast of South so that the western sun is not incident on the longer surfaces of the building. This orientation also takes maximum advantage of the wind direction which is South to North during the day and vice-versa at night. Commercial Establishments

Golconde Dormitory

Religious Buildings

Public Offices

Bharati Park





6. Building Case Studies 6.2.Golconde House, Ar.Antonin Raymond & Ar.George Nakashima, Pondicherry 6.2.4. Built Form Response to Climate

Facade - The North and South facade is entirely fitted with operable asbestos cement louvers set in custom made brass hardware and hand operated. East and West walls are plastered with highly reflective lime plaster and are nearly devoid of openings except at the ends of corridors.

6.2.5. Landscape

To further the cooling current of air in summer, as often there is no movement of air at all, the architect arranged that in the South garden space available, there should be many trees and shrubs and lots of greenery and shade; whereas on the Northern side, the garden area was left rather bare. So with the sun shining fully on the Northern area, the air over it became much hotter than that on the Southern side and so, the hot air rising up drew in the air from the cooler and shaded south and thus set up a convention current of air.

6.2.6. Details

High ceilings (2.6m floor to ceiling height) throughout ensure maximum air circulation. Pivoting concrete panels located in the service rooms, provide views of the garden, and facilitate ventilation. Overhangs have been provided only on north facade that receives maximum sunlight during summers.

6.2.7. Roof

The roof of the building utilizes a double-slab system to mitigate heat gain from the harsh sun. Thin concrete tiles, approximately 3.5’x5’ in size, form an interlocking exterior shell under which a ventilated air space dissipates heat from the tiles back into the air. A waterproofed concrete slab lies beneath the air space. Direct solar radiation from March-August.

Air heated by direct solar radiation expands and rises,creating Low Pressure.

Shaded garden,cool air creating High Pressure. Hence sets up a convection current of air through the building.


The rather bare North Garden.

Subterranean Ground Floor.

Waterbodies to further cool the air.

Weaved Teak Wood Sliding Door.

Interior of the Ashram Rooms.

Ventilated double roof design.

Typical Floor Plan


6. Building Case Studies 6.2.Golconde House, Ar.Antonin Raymond & Ar.George Nakashima, Pondicherry 6.2.8. Openings

The sliding panels (doors) consist of staggered strips of teak wood, allowing for the passage of breeze, while maintaining visual privacy. A glass partition at the top of these sliding doors are provided, letting in light from the corridor space. Operable concrete louvers ensure that air circulation between the North and South Facades remain constant.


It is observed that the daylight levels indoors were inadequate. Also the nala and the lily ponds in the gardens don’t effectively control all insects, especially mosquitoes, because of which mosquito nets have to be used. Such screens and nets can substantially reduce the air flow and give a reduction of 70% in air velocity. There also the lashing in of driving rain during frequent thunderstorms cause of the louver angles.

Double Roof Detail Drawing


Community living yet intimate scale. Details that are aesthetic&functional. Home life based around courtyard.

Staggering scale of interaction spaces.

Scales open up to form playgrounds. Open ended communal gathering with a roofed plinth being the focus point.

Masterplan of SOS Village of Pondicherry.


6. Building Case Studies 6.3.SOS Village, Mistry Architects, Pondicherry 6.3.1. Profile

SOS Children’s Village is an independent, non-governmental, international development organization which has been working to meet the needs, protect the interests and rights of children since 1949.It was founded by Hermann Gmeiner in Imst, Austria. The organization’s work focuses on abandoned, destitute and orphaned children requiring family-based childcare. The SOS Children’s Village in Pondicherry mainly houses children that were orphaned by the December 26th, 2004 tsunami. The age of the children ranges from 1 to 23years and houses both boys and girls. The children are all of different castes and religion and freely allowed to practice the religion they believe in. There are total of 158 children in the facility at present.

6.3.2. Concept

The system is such that there are ‘family homes’ each housing up to 10 children. The ‘family home’ is a fully functional home with 3 bedrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, common toilets and a backyard. All of the above mentioned spaces are arranged around a central open to sky courtyard which acts as the informal gathering space within the house. The children of the same religion or faith are housed together in each home. They are all of different age groups and it is a mixed accommodation until the boys turn the age of 14. Once the boys cross that age they move into the home for the older boys within the same campus. Each of these homes is also provided with a ‘Mother’. The Mother is responsible for the well-being of the children on all terms at the respective house. When it comes to the masterplan arrangement of the village, the residential spaces are tucked away with circulation having to pass by the Directors residence and other official administrative areas. Therefore form a vantage point for an invisible supervision. Commercial Establishments

SOS Village

Agricultural Land




Arrangement of spaces around entrance courtyard.

Entrance Courtyard/Focal Point of the home.

Ground Floor Plan

First Floor Plan


Details in construction to allow for ventilation.

6. Building Case Studies 6.4.1. Profile

6.4. Asha Niketan, Ar. Navnath Kanade, Bangalore

Asha Niketan is a home for men and women with intellectual disabilities. It’s a residential set up for the people it cares for along with volunteer accommodation facility. They do not take in children and all its member are off 20 years and above. The home follow a secular outlook in its beliefs and house 15 permanent members all assisted by appointed assistants. Apart from the permanent members at the home there are also the member that come as day scholars to take part in the workshops at the home. These hand-made products are then later sold for fundraising.

1.Volunteer and Directors Residence/Office, 2.Accomadation for members, 3.Common Gathering Central Space, 4.Prayer Room, Office,Store,5.Recreational Wing,Double Height Dining Hall /Kitchen, Workshop.

Link, Focus and Visual Axis A- Centrifocal B,C,D- Subsidiary Centers B- Gathering place for small groups with optional privacy. C- Place for larger groups, large space/large volume that opens into a large court. D- Intimate group or individual who seeks privacy.


Vikas Community Apartments, Auroville, Pondicherry.

Stage Wise Water Treatment Tank.

Plan of Waste Water Treatment Pond


Pond at the excavated site, the earth of which was used for the construction blocks of the apartment.

6. Building Case Studies 6.5. Auroville Architectural Observations

6.5.1. Vikas Community

Vikas Community is located in Auroville, Tamil Nadu. The extensive use of environmentally sound materials, appropriate building technologies, (earth and ferro-cement), renewable energies (solar and wind) and ecological water management (watershed harvesting and biological waste water treatment), were the basis of its material implementation. Biological Waste Water Treatment by Lagooning • It consists of two distinctive phases: 1. An Anaerobic decantation digestion 2. Macrophyte Water Treatment • The anaerobic treatment pond is a watertight pit called the ‘decanter digester’,which is covered with floating matter eg. coconut dust. Conditions are anaerobic due to the lack of oxygen and light. • Destroy and stabilize organic matter;70%organic matter removal;30% suspended solid removal. • The Macrophyte (aquatic plants) water treatment purification processes are aerobic. • 2/3 of the watertight pit is fully covered in plants and the plant covering the last third is restricted to 20% of the surface to promote more oxygenation and photosynthesis. • Water hyacinths are the most effective. • Lagooning purification is more reliable than traditional purification plants: organic compound removal is up to 90%, nutrient substances removal is around 70-90%, the suspended solid particles are lower, due to the presence of micro algae. • High interest is addressed to these systems because of their very strong removal of pathogenic microorganisms.

Section detailing the Waste Water Treatment Pond.


Very interestingly the sloped retaining wall built to support the amphitheater space of the Ness School with its sculptural column structure,transforms itself to an additional plane for the students to play on & interact with.

Organic aesthetic detailing of rammed earth walls.

Rain water harvesting system / roof structure of Ness School, Auroville.

Details in construction of earth construction walls.

Locally made, hand pressed , compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEB)

Hand press made circular earth blocks made with the holes to slid onto the rebar and groove to lay the stirrups to for a strong circular column.

Water circulation pump to avoid stagnation of water thereby prevent the growth of mosquitoes.


6. Building Case Studies 6.5. Auroville Architectural Observations 6.5.2. Ness School, Auroville Earth Institute and other building at Auroville,Pondicherry.

An interesting observation made at the Ness School was how the building itself was part of the playground for the children. A simple sloped surface and sculptural aesthetics which are also structural nature breaks down the rules of a direct and traditional approach to building construction. The kids have a very active participation with the building and it doesn’t remain a mere backdrop to their daily lives. A sub-conscious memory and experience of the building is created. The elements used for aesthetics and ornamentation can be as simple as impressions on the walls of flora that the local community recognize and relate to. It gives the building a sense of belonging to the locality. Also, the process of building is one that can be highly participatory with the member that are going to be using them. The sense of entitlement that have with building also makes sure they go a little out of their way to maintain he building and its premises as if it were their own. Incorporation of rainwater harvesting roof instead of the traditional roof structure at the Ness School is dual purpose. The raised arches that collect the waster are also raised up from the walls of the schools allowing for the movement of natural breezes in the hot and humid climate of Pondicherry. The funnel shape of the roof structure also drastically reduces the surface exposed to direct solar radiation, thereby reducing the heat being transferred to the interior spaces. When building with natural materials like earth, you pair it with other naturally existing materials like stone / rough granite for structural reasons. These materials are locally available, economic and the local population know how to work with them thereby construction project such as these puts them to work in fields that they are skilled in. The introduction of new technologies of construction also opens up opportunities for training the unskilled locals which they can use as a source of income generation. Water-bodies in a hot and humid climate are encouraged so as the cool the air that passes over them before entering internal spaces. But they also tend to become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other such undesirables because they are stagnant. Therefore introducing a simple, economic and locally sourced circulation system can prevent the stagnation of water and cool the surroundings. Further more to combat the mosquito situation in the hot and humid climate of Pondicherry, introducing plants in water bodies that kill the eggs of the mosquitoes are an additional measure.


Agricultural Land Agriculture Fallow Land Mud Plantation River Sand Sandy Beach Settlement Settlement with vegetation Tank

Land Use Pattern Map - Pondicherry District


Ariyankuppam District

7. Building Bye Laws, Rule and Regulations, Pondicherry Ariyankuppam District - Statistics 1. Area:101.70 2. Total Population:96130 3. No. of Industries:Nil. 4. Occupational Pattern:Agricultural, Agri workers, Weaving, Fishing. 5. Agricultural Land Area:10984 Ha. 6. Major Crops/Plantation Crops:- Paddy, Coconut, Groundnut, Pulses and Grams.

Permissible uses within the settlement and agricultural land use zone

1. Professional consulting offices not exceeding 40sq.m. 2. Petty shops not exceeding 40sq.m. 3. Nursery, primary school, library not exceeding 300sq.m. 4. Park, playgrounds, farms, plant nurseries. 5. Craft centers. 6. Old age home. 7. Assembly hall not exceeding floor area of 300sq.m. 8. Clinics, dispensaries, health facilities not exceeding 300sq.m. 9. Departmental store not exceeding 100sq.m. floor area. 10. Daily or weekly markets 11. Burial grounds, crematoria. 12. When serving only one plot and length of the passage exceed 120.0m minimum width of passage 7.0 meters. 13. Mandatory rain-water harvesting system installation. 14. Mandatory waste water treatment system installation. 15. When extent of layout extends beyond 10,000sq.m. then it is mandatory to reserve 10% of site area for communal and recreational space. 16. Parking standards are such that floor area upto 3000sq.m. - 1 car space and 1 two wheeler space for every 100sq.m. and for floor area exceeding 3000sq.m. - 1 car space and 1 two wheeler space for every 150sq.m.

Source: The Pducherry Building By-laws and Zoning Regulations 2012


8. Proposed Built Area Calculation Type of Space

Spatial Composition

1. Family Units

6ppl Capacity,sleeping accomadationwith personal storage,arrow.

2. Cluster

17nos. family units, common spaces, shared toilet/bath/laundry b/w 4 units therefore 5 service blk.

3. Staff Accommodation

2nos. stay units, shared living/ toilet/bath/laundry facilities. 1no. stay unit plus toilet/bath. 3ppl. capacity.

Area Calculated




4. Volunteer Room

2ppl. capacity Units Shared living/kitchenette/toilet/ bath.

25sq.mts. 40sq.mts.

5. Guest Room

2ppl. capacity Units/ 3nos


6. Admin’s Accommodation

Tojo room + toilet + office Leela Room + Toilet shared living/ kitchenette.

35sq.mts. 25sq.mts. 20sq.mts.

3 member office, Utility Room, Records room, Reception.


Waiting room, consultation room, examination room-2nos., Toilet, utilities Store, Medical store.


7. Administration

8. Dispensary


8. Proposed Built Area Calculation Type of Space

Spatial Composition

Area Calculated

9. Medical Wing

10 bed capacity. Utility Store, Nurse’s Station, Records/ Report room, Toilet Facility


10. Fitness Center

basic fitness equipments


11. Dining hall/ Study pavilion

120ppl. capacity, utensils store+ Hand-wash


12. Kitchen

120ppl. serving capacity, stores


13. Multipurpose hall(partionable) 200ppl. capacity, stage+backstage areas.


15. Computer Room

5 computers.


16. Music Room

Utility Store.


17. Recreational Room

Utility Store.


18.Toilet Services

Shared with Workshops


Total :- 2600sq.mts. 8% of total calculated built area approximately consists of circulation therefore, 2600sq.mts. + 210 sq.mts = 2810 sq.mts ~ approx Sub Total: - 3000sq.mts.

References for areas and standard calculation, case studies, Architects Data, Time Savers Building Types, Metric Handbook and Building Bye-Laws and Zoning Regulations of Puducherry,2012. 63


9. Snehalayam Demographics and Programme Development 9.1. Current Numbers at Snehalayam

The number of Boys and Elderly at the home are 32 and 21 respectively. The age group of the boys are between 4-9yrs, 10-15yrs and 16-19yrs. All the elderly are above 65 years of age. The number of boys under the 4-9yrs,10-15yrs and 16-19yrs are 9, 12, 9 respectively. The total number of elderly men are 17 out of which 3 are physically handicapped. The total number of women elderly are 4. The total number of workers, volunteers and administration members that live at the home are 1 volunteer, 5 workers (4 men, 1 woman) and 1 admin. person. Therefore the total number of people present at the home at almost all times is 60.

9.2. Projected Numbers at Snehalayam

The projected number of the boys and elderly at Snehalayam or rather how much they tend to increse their capacity by is 50 boys and 50 elderly. Provide additionally guest stay facility to the visiting volunteers thereby increasing the annually present volunteer numbers to 3 or more. The worker numbers are also set to increase to about 13 members. Therefore a final projected number of approximately 120 members.

9.3. Proposed Programme for Snehalayam

Snehalayam has based its operational principles on the same philosophies and relationships that are entailed within familial bonds. They actively keep away the logistical and technical aspects of the NGO from the member and focus on establishing relationships, promoting interaction with other members of the home, so that they may mutually trust and take care of each other. Once they have been able to establish this trust the patients and members themselves start opening up to the volunteers and other vocational trainers that visit the Home. A constant referral to the diagram illustrating the constant communication and connect between Individual, Family and Collective Community need to be kept in mind through the design process.



9. Snehalayam Demographics and Program Development 9.3. Proposed Program for Snhehalayam

With the new proposed numbers of 50 boys and 50 elderly, Snehalayam will have to evolve from its current philosophy of functioning as family/a single unit into that of a community will still retaining its core values. Upon understanding the demographics at Snehalayam the whole community is broken down into simple Unit / Family systems. Each unit consists of a mixed group of member from all age categories. The unit or family make up is thus, 2 Elderly, 1 child 4-9yrs., 2 children 10-15yrs. and 1 boy 16-19yrs. The mixed grouping is to ensure maximum interaction between the member of the family. The boy of 16-19yrs. who is bound to enter the society soon and would have generally lived the longest time at the home will take on the role of a mentor for everyone else in the family.The oldest boy occupies an almost elderly brotherly figure and this instills the responsibility that will be expected of him. Three of the Units / Family integrate or connect together to form a cluster. Each cluster shares one set of toilet and bath area, thereby also bringing down the cost of construction and maintenance of services. The clusters then together form the total accommodation space for the members of Snehalayam. Breaking down the whole community into the units and categorically grouping them can lead to introducing activities and chores that instill a healthy competition between the boys, helping in restoring them from the physical and mental ailments that they might have come into the home with. By giving each unit an activity that they are responsible for, a system of positive discipline can be introduced within the boys. The activities could be such like maintaining the chicken coop, thereby that particular unit is responsible for the collection of eggs and this gets plugged back into the meal of the day. The clusters accommodation are flanked by the volunteer accommodation, recreational spaces and worker and admin. accommodation so that the volunteers can keep an eye on the member in case they need assistance and yet not be intrusive. The building program also needs to plug in income generating activities that can also be products from the skills taught to the members of Snehalayanm thereby giving them the confidence to be able to earn for themselves again and resurrect a possibility of reintegration into the mainstream society.


10. Snehalayam Process Development

The site is located within an existing coconut plantation with a perennial backwater lining its longer East edge.

The design approach while providing security from the waters edge, should also be porous and not hinder natural breezes blowing in from East and South.

Flanking the units with the community spaces & volunteer accommodation at a higher level provides security and non-intrusive supervision.

Careful articulation of spaces around existing healthy coconut grooves, thereby tying the master-plan together & protecting a source of income generation.


10. Snehalayam Process Development

Considering roof as fixed element.

Linking the units with connecting paths.

Raising of floor plates in the Introducing circulation possiunits based in age groups. blities into the units.

Pushing & Introducing Pulling courtyard. Unit Plan.

Connecting the units creating different frames of open spaces.

Introducing visual hierachy within the units.

Schemetic Unit Plan thus evolved.

Schemetic Unit Section thus evolved.

Schemetic Plan thus evolved.

Introducing Unit occupants numbers.

Final Schematic Unit Plan.


11.1. Unit Cluster Detail Plan



Platform A



Cluster 1 A

Toilet Block







D Toilet Block





Cluster 2





Cluster Detail Plan (above) +350m. LVL. A - Elderly Members Room B - 4-9yrs. Kids Room C - 10-15yrs. Adolscent Boys Room D - 15-19yrs. Teenage Boys Room 71

11.2. Unit Cluster Detail Section

Timber weave opening infill . (privacy + ventilation)


Coconut timber rafter and Battens roof framework.

CSEB Walls 240x240x90mm

Space fo Coop, Ke

or storage, Chicken ennel etc.

Jack Arch Foundation (Laterite Stone or CSEB)

Corrugated sheet to support country tiles and additional insulation.



11.3. Ground Floor Plan

Snehalayam Roof of Hope Plan +3.50m. LVL 1 - Entrance Lobby

13-Dining/Study Pavillion

2 - Office

14- Hand Wash/Plate Storage

3 - Clinic/ Dispensary 4 - Gallery/Conference Room

15- Guest Dining/Pantry 16- Rations Store Room

5 - Staff Accomadation

17- Kitchen

6 - Patients Residence

18- Percolation Pond

7 - Toilet Block 8 - Infirmary

19- Existing Coconut Groove

9 - Residence Cluster 1

20- Vehicular Parking

10-Residence Cluster 2

21- Playground/Playfiends

11-Residence Cluster 3

22- Kitchen Gardens

12-Residence Cluster 4

24- Terrace



11.4. First Floor Plan

Snehalayam Roof of Hope Plan +6.55m. LVL 2 - Office 4 - Gallery/Conference Room 11-Residence Cluster 3 12-Residence Cluster 4 13-Dining/Study Pavillion 14- Hand Wash/Plate Storage 17- Kitchen 18- Percolation Pond 22- Kitchen Gardens 23- Tojo’s Residence 24- Terrace 25- Library and Computer Room 26- Recreational /Music Room 27- Guest Rooms 28- Guest Informal Living 29- Toilet Block 77


11.5. Site Sections



11.6. Roof Plan

Snehalayam Roof of Hope +10.00m. LVL A - Functional Block Office Clinic Confrence Hall Medical Wing Staff Accomadation Patients Residence Tojo’s Residence Recreational Room Library B1 - Residential Cluster B2 - Residential Cluster B3 - Residential Cluster B4 - Residential Cluster C- Service Block Dining Room Kitchen Storage Guest Rooms I - Entrance Court II - Rediential Court III - Playground IV - Coconut Groove Entry/Exit Service Entry


12.1. Unit 3D View



12.2. Aerial View




14. Bibliography Architecture for the Poor, Hassan Fathy Housing and Urbanisation, Charles Correa Auroville Earth Institute, Production and use of Compressed Stablized Earth Block, Ar. Satprem Maini Auroville Earth Institute, Vikas Community in Auroville, Ar. Satprem Maini Auroville Earth Institute, Soil Identification for Earth Construction, Ar. Satprem Maini Earth Architecture, Ronald Rael Articles of Laurie Baker The Architects Handbook, Quentin Pickard Architects Data, Ernst and Peter Nuefert Metric Handbook, Planning and Design Data



Profile for Merita Joy

Snehalayam - Architecture Thesis Report  

Snehalayam - Architecture Thesis Report