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Osho Commune

Osho Commune  
Koregoan Park, Pune  
Client , Bhagwan Rajneesh  
Competed 1990  
Principal Architect, Hafeez Contractor  
Associate Architect, Vivek Verma 
 Osho Commune, Pune. 
The Osho Commune nestled in the beautiful, green city of Pune is the base from whence Bhagwan Rajneesh (who in his later years  called himself 'Osho'), propagated his philosophical teachings upon his return to India. The community, consisting of people from all over the world lives in a closely protected environment. Osho himself was accessible only to a favoured few and fiercely protected by loyal devotees. The city of Pune was a perfect  choice for the Ashram owing to its perfect climate which lasts almost throughout the year , its greenery and the tolerant attitude of its inhabitants added to which its proximity to Bombay was very convenient for the large number of foreign members of the commune.  

The project brief, handed over to us was as enigmatic as Osho himself. After having submitted five to six alternatives, all of which were rejectedBlack Black and Black by Osho, he sent us a big, thick book with a photograph, the size of a postage stamp, on the cover, with the instructions, "Osho has asked you to see this photograph, think, and then design our buildings". Accompanying this was a small slip of paper on which was written : Black, Black and Black. The photograph was of a barn shot at sunset. It was very dark and there was just a little bit of a blue halo around the building. This was all that was given to guide us in interpreting the requirements of design.  

The brooding, black pyramidal forms conceived by Hafeez were radically different from anything he had done before, the design for the commune being a simple cluster of four buildings, relying on form and color for impact. The pyramids act both as a perceptive experience and as a symbol ( the immediate perception of an image plus its mental associates ). Black embodies all the colors, harnesses cosmic energy and the pyramid is the most stable form. If these all black pyramids suggest rising energy and an indrawn meditative posture, then the blue tinted glass windows and skylights symbolize enlightenment : blue being the first color one perceives on enlightenment- the halo of life.  

The solid pyramids are large meditation halls with smaller halls below them. Pyramids at Osho Commune  
The windows; clear glass with blue film, subdue and enrich the quality of  
natural light inside the spacious meditation halls. The spatial experience  
created is one of tranquillity, however, with a dynamic undertone like a  
repetitive surge of charging energy. They are essentially simple, clean sp-  
aces done up reasonably well with the flooring in agglomerated marble  
and the walls in plaster of Paris, painted white. An L-shaped structure  
houses residential spaces designed in the same clean style, consisting  
essentially of small rooms with basic amenities like wardrobes, kitchene-  
ttes, etc. The impact of the facade is heightened by the variations in the  
depth of the black and in the textures of the different materials used. The walls of the pyramids are in semi-gloss black ceramic tiles with borders and corners in black granite. The windows have black aluminum framing around blue tinted glass, these architectural forms stand out against the rough black cuddupah paving and the greenery around a large tree near the entrance, shades the central open public space. It dominates the commune and visually holds the cluster of pyramids together.  

Structurally each pyramid was conceived as a shell element resting on peripheral beams in turn resting on RC columns. The basic plan measured 16.75m x 16.75m and the pyramids were at an angle of 53.4 degrees, with the horizontal. There are six rectangular openings and one that is triangular. Stiffener RC beams are provided near the edges of openings, and the ridge lines of the pyramids are stiffened with MS channels.  

A dirty municipal nallah on the site has now been converted into a lively water body with landscaping all around, providing a beautiful setting to the mystical pyramids. 

 Designed & Maintained for
By  Seven Hill Naturstien Ltd.
Planet - Earth