Pune, Maharashtra, India

The environmental Centre is a small “out of the box” experimental building where students are given a basic hands on experience of the environment and their immediate surroundings. Located in the vibrant setting of the empress garden , a green lung of Pune, the Centre seamlessly integrates into the natural settings of the century old British era Botanical garden .

The brief of the client was simple. The space would have to cater to defined and undefined functions. Though the target audience was essentially school students, seniors and the general citizens of the city would also have to be catered to depending on the occasion. The Centre has rooms (essentially enclosed spaces) where varied functions like a library, laboratory, a gallery are all liked with strongly grounded curved walls, and all this along with the essential back up of the house and utility areas was to be accomplished in an area under 10,000 sq feet.

The concept was to have all these spaces-both defined and undefined flowing around a central open to sky amphitheater, wide corridors skirting this would double up as informal art galleries. Beyond this flowing corridor were spaces which could cater to the required function. The fenestration language on the exterior was minimalist. Controlled openings would serve as light and wind increasing sources. Skylights would be the primary source of diffused light.

In keeping with the original approach, the material vocabulary has been kept to the minimum. Exposed concrete, rough strong exterior walls and natural stone flooring compose the basic material palette. The rough stone external walls have a composite plastered brick finish on the inside. The design concept, material selection and design philosophy, ensured that the ecological footprint of the Centre is kept to the minimum. In the long term this Centre would be adjacent to an orchid aria which would be the first of its kind in India and give the citizens of Pune an insight into the world of orchids.

LocationPune, Maharashtra, India

Built Up Area914 Square Meters

Site Area2.5 Acres



The Agri-Horticulture Society of Western India

Prime Contractor






Visualizations : Chaitanya Padhye

Design Team

Prof. Christopher Benninger, Rahul sathe, Daraius Choksi, Shivaji Karekar, Chaitanya Padhye and Bhushan Pise