Anglo-Indian enterprise Studio SAAR is building a grand learning & cultural center in Udaipur

The firm with offices in Udaipur and Frome, Somerset is developing a cultural cornerstone called ‘Third Space’, working with Dharohar, an organization that conducts science-related workshops and projects in schools and public spaces.

With the ambition to create sustainable solutions for society and a strong interest in cross-cultural sharing of ideas, technologies, and solutions, Studio SAAR was founded two years ago by ex-AHMM and Feidlen Clegg Bradley Studios architect Jonny Buckland and Ananya Singhal, who had previously worked for Pritzker Prize-winning architect BV Doshi. The pair got the fortune to meet at the University of Bath in 2003.

The center, called Third Space is designed with the intention of stoking the interest of children in exploring the local culture beyond schools, besides it will also provide many children the provisions and facilities which they otherwise have no access to. The project was started in December 2020 on 50ha of the reforested jungle, which will also be used by Dharohar to teach children about plants, animals, and the ecosystems, and is due to be completed in spring 2023.

The design of establishment is inspired by the Havelis of Rajasthan, a form of a regional townhouse with spaces organized around a central courtyard. It will have cloisters around a central space, with cantilevered rooms in the façade providing spaces for reading, meeting, and relaxing. Hence it will be a leisure retreat with cultural and educational facilities for schools as well as volunteers who work with local children. The center will welcome up to 2,000 visitors a day.

With the support from Dharohar, a not-for-profit organization that runs science-related workshops and projects in schools and public spaces. Dharohar works with up to 40 schools a year, Studio has managed to strike a balance in using the local materials with the quality of design and detailing allows for buildings to be loved and appreciated for a long time. Marble off-cuts will also be used for floor tiles and a masonry wall on the ground floor, while marble dust will be used to reduce cement and sand used in the building’s concrete, thus also producing a whiter finish.

According to Studio Saar architect and co-founder Buckland, it was a joy to draw inspiration from the architectural heritage of Rajasthan and have the liberty to revive it. A key challenge was to interpret the diverse heritage in order to bind it into a single coherent building.

Image by DesignBoom

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