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Hussain –Doshi Gufa
CEPT Campus                                                                                                                 Click the photograph to view LARGE
Ahmedabad 380  009 India
Client, M.F.Hussain.
Principal Architect , Balkrishna Doshi , M/s Stein Doshi & Bhalla
Project Associate , S.L.Shah, Vishnu Joshi, v.v. Ranga Rao, Lise Trottier
Structural Consultant , Vishnu Joshi
Structure form Consultant, Ravindra  Vasavada
Contractors,  Western India Engineers, Ahmedabad
Site Area, 1000 m2
Built-up Area,  280   m2
Project Cost ,   Rs.  1.8  million (1993)

Essentially an art gallery exhibiting paintings and sculptures of noted artist M.F.Hussain, the Hussain Doshi Gufa in Ahmedabad is located on a campus of the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, while becoming a metaphor, balancing the adjunct science and architecture education institutions.

Sense of ablution, comfort conditions of the subterranean, painting abstractions reminiscent of palaeolithic art, and visual reminders of Buddhist caves from Ajanta and Ellora, all influenced the form imagery of a cave for the proposed museum.

As a human intervention and interpretation of a natural form the basic plan organization evolves out of the familiar module of an intersecting circles and ellipse. The spaces formed within are however contiguous and amorphous through inclined planes of domes, curvilinear planes of walls, undulating floors and non rectilinear leaning columns. A footprint of 280m2 nearly doubles its surface area for painting through convoluting planes. The shells, domes and skylight protrusion of various sizes and shapes float on a part buried space and eves gutters extending over ground further accentuate this feeling and anchor the object to the ground. Projecting skylights and skin cutout not only illuminate the spaces within but create mythic shafts and spots of light reminiscent of the galaxy and stars.

Buried spaces, earth mounds, raised volumes and china mosaic finish renders the architecture energy conscious, cutting down it’s energy intake, in an otherwise harsh hot dry climate. Material resources are further optimized through its shell like forms and ferrocement construction techniques. A simply wire mesh and mortar lined floor in a form of natural sag of cloth, evolved through scaled model studies, eliminates the need of any kind of foundation, as the basic form is continuous and efficient in optimizing the stresses and its distribution. Similar economy of material is achieved through roof shells in a form guided by computer designs which resolve stresses to minimum, requiring only an inch thick ferrocement shell without any form work. The construction is carried out with simple hand tools and by semi and unskilled workers on site.

Computer aided designs executed by the tribal, amorphous forms out of basic geometric module; dome volumes relieving and exalting the centredness suggested by the circles in plan; and internal space division through “stone henge” like columns defied by their non vertical alignment and irregular forms are some of the inherent dualities and designed dichotomies of space making to offer a multiple dimensions of mystery and surprise. A sense of discovery synonymous to early caves.

Illusions emerging out of such dualities manifest a healthy dialogue between art and architecture is a setting for art or art is an embellishment of architecture. At Hussain- Doshi Gufa they become mutual references – one animating the other.

 - Yatin Pandya

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