Library Nandalal Sewa Samithi
Set in a residential area of rapidly urbanising Pondicherry, the new library building is realised as a social infrastructure facilitated through the social organisation Nandalal Sewa Samithi.
Affordability being a key consideration, the library is a humble and yet striking construction built in locally made exposed bricks, that would stand out as an institutional building in the context of plastered and painted masonry construction of the surrounding houses and apartment buildings.
The roof profile indicates the open book, as also the screening elements conceived in ferrocement technology symbolising constant progress through knowledge. The orthogonal walls on the upper floor lean outwards towards the top like a crown, as the building is aimed at serving the community and investing in their empowerment by encouraging reading and learning. As land is limited in the context of the residential plot sizes, the terrace upstairs is designed to compensate for the necessary open space for contemplation and for informal outdoor events that can bring the community together.
The inclusiveness of this facility is demonstrated through the inclusion of braille books for the visually impaired. This particularity is reflected architecturally in the way braille typeface is integrated into the building elements to create porous patterns in the brickwork, screens and ceiling. Light patterns in the form of braille language leave their imprint on the interior spaces so that those who can see, are visually aware of the language of those who cannot, and thus expand their sensitivity to the differently able.
Photos by : Javier Callejas