Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

In 1973 the Gujarat United School of Theology initiated the construction of a small, two hundred and sixty square meters, library and cultural center, that would house a specialized collection of books and a common cultural area for small programs. During the construction various considerations lead to the structure being fitted out for the Alliance Francaise.

The structure is located in a corner site, accessible through the main academic quadrangle, of a late Nineteenth Century institution built from brick and trimmed with stone.

The strategy employs exposed brick bearing walls, reinforced for seismic resistance, and exposed concrete beams, lintels and fins transparently expressing the structural system. Brick walls, 36 centimeters thick, facing to the east, south and the west block the hot sun. Natural lighting comes from north facing skylights, high in the ceilings, which wrap down the back north wall. A system of nine models, 4.75 meters square, order the floor plan of nine such modules into a system of inter-locked, double height spaces. This module is halved to create pivoting square doors, and defined in three equal subdivisions to modulate the spacing of beams, turning down the back walls as fins, within which glass windows are fit. Modular toilets project out of this back wall.

A spiral cast iron stair leads up to a bridge connecting two mezzanine level reading areas, one of which projects as a balcony into the main space. Interlocking volumes create a kinetic flow of spaces between three areas.

An exposed concrete column, in the center of the main space, creates the illusion of movement as one walks within the structure. The column appears stationery while the walls follow ones steps through space. The brick walls of the structure reflect the language of the existing college, joining to create a secluded pocket of intimate space for outdoor meetings.

LocationAhmedabad, Gujarat, India

Built Up Area278.70 Square Meters

Site Area405 Square Meters



Gujarat Theological College

Prime Contractor





Ramprasad Akkisetti and Deepak Kaw


Design Team

Prof. Christopher Benninger, Navin Ghorecha, Bhupin and Mukul Shah