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Puru Malhotra, Mannat Chopra

"Bad libraries build collections, good libraries build services, great libraries build communities."

Picking the site in Gharaunda, Haryana- a rural abode in northern India meant just that- giving back to the underprivileged, the destitute that changes their perception and approach towards a library. A space that taps into the community as a whole- with the provision of using rice husk as an admixture in the concrete- as well as growing local produce in the landscape that surrounds the library gives education a holistic approach.

The site, 300 sq.m in area(60m*20m) with a ground coverage of 35%, an abandoned swamp was chosen to rejuvenate and give it an entirely new meaning, a new purpose.

Gharaunda is a forgotten place, it was one the main trade routes connecting Asia and was majorly developed by Mughal rulers. Most of the cities on the trade routes have sarais which are halting stations. They play a major role in giving the character to the city. We’ve tried to incorporate the elements of the sarais to show its harmonical behaviour.

The form begins with two points, representing Panipat and Karnal, were chosen on site- with a central space that would then conceptualise into Gharaunda- a sarai. These points were envisioned as circles on ground representing bastions, a strong, historic and influential architectural element of the area.

This idea, when seen in a volumetric space, evolved into two masses (the cities) being divided yet conjoined by a strong platformed staircase going upwards. Another layer of conceptualization was added through these platforms i.e. resting spaces that themselves in turn act as sarais.

Gharaunda, visualised as the library, rests on the pillars(masses) of the two cities. It invites you to rest, to learn, to read and to engage. The furniture itself is unconventional to organically incorporate different reading/ working spaces.

Furthermore, we’ve just not restricted ourselves to the library and exposed our horizons to making it a community space. It automatically creates interest for the locals if not for the library initially. Spaces like open seating, roofed courtyards create a lively environment. Swings for children with dynamo infused to generate some electricity for the library.

All these public spaces are set at the ground which is boundary less and welcoming and the library has been placed majorly on the upper level for segregation and proper functioning.

The admin and children library are on the ground for the same. An internal connection between the floors has been established as well.

Structurally Arches have been used to support concrete columns and the same vocabulary has been pushed forward for openings.

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