Lonavala, Maharashtra, India

The Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies, situated half way between Mumbai and Pune on a national highway, is a green campus for pre-sea and post-sea maritime studies. The project was conceived by the owners of Executive Ship Management in Singapore as an important element of their mission to ensure the efficient, safe and environmentally sustainable management of their fleet of over sixty ships. The company follows strict procedures and exacting operating standards, which involve continuous training.

The fifty-five acre campus site lies between the Indryani River and the Mumbai to Pune highway. The clients sent the architects to sea for two weeks, as a pre-design sensitization exercise, and the conceptual designs were sketched at sea.

Mariners at sea live in miniature cities made of steel and glass, and the client wanted this environment to characterize the campus. In consonance with their values they desired that the project set benchmarks in the realm of ecologically conscious architecture.

The campus is composed of an administrative building, a long hostel housing five hundred students with dining facilities at one end, and an auditorium and amphitheater at the other. There is a large classroom building, a vast maritime workshop, a science building and extensive recreational facilities, including an Olympic swimming pool. A “ Ship on Campus, “ set within a two acre holding pond, is used to train young mariners. This is in fact a real ship’s eight storied, operational section that includes the engines, desalinization plant, sewerage treatment plant, generators, ventilating and air conditioning plants, tanker, fire fighting and other pumps, and navigation deck.

The strategy conceived of each functional structure as a unique object, floating upon a sea of green lawns, made possible by a site abutting a river. A unique decision was to place the student residences in the center of the campus, in the form of a long, ship-like structure of five attached houses, each with their own entry stair, and commons areas and double seated rooms, each with an attached toilet modeled upon ship toilets. On one end are the dining halls and the other end is the auditorium and amphitheater. This elongated structure is raised up on concrete pylons allowing free movement under it, and creating play areas during the monsoons. The Administration Building exploits northern ambient light through its wavy glass atrium wall, while generating 30 KW of electricity through the photovoltaic south-facing façade, integrating power-generating panels into a Mondrian-like façade composition.

The Academic Building accommodates fourteen large classrooms, with a lineal, two-level atrium, under a skylight, integrating the teaching facility into one composition. South facing walls are blank, avoiding the southern sun. The east, west and north walls are shielded by aluminum louvers tempering bright sunlight filtering through to the glass fenestration. Louvers are also employed in students’ hostels to temper the sun’s rays. This creates natural air conditioning by blocking out the heat, and permitting light and natural ventilation into the buildings.

In the Maritime Workshop a ninety meters long, south facing photovoltaic wall generates 90 KW of electricity. The wall is composed of a matrix of transparent and opaque photovoltaic cells, allowing natural light to filter into the interiors, but at the same time, blocking the heat, mimicking traditional Indian ‘jaalis’. This energy wall is a unique design element that integrates sustainable technology into the aesthetics of the structure.

A campus-wide water management system composed of rainwater collection channels, cisterns and a large water-holding pond near the river, supplies water to various corners of the campus. Hot water requirements of the institute are fulfilled by solar panels on the hostel roofs supplying hot water tanks placed above circular access stairs. A twenty-eight meter tall, central water tank has been constructed providing potable and firefighting water via gravity across the campus. Two bio-sewerage treatment plants feed grey water to gardens and water sinks. Eighty percent of the water consumed on campus is from recycling. No wastewater, or sewerage, is dumped off of the campus, or into the river. Catchment canals have been built around the campus to capture ground and rain water. The water, thus collected, is stored in a two-acre pond on campus. This project was completed just as the Suzlon One Earth project was initiated and many concepts explored here were transferred into the certified Suzlon project from this and earlier works.



LocationLonavala, Maharashtra, India

Built Up Area21,000 Square Meters

Site Area33 Acres



Balaji Singh Teeka, Executive Ship

Prime Contractor

Shapoorji Pallonji Construction Ltd. and Bakale Construction


Structural Design : Y.S Sane Associates and Delcons

Landscape Design : Belt Collins, Singapore

MEP Design : Natekar and Associates, Concept Aircon, Integrated Consultants


Ramprasad Akkisetti and Deepak Kaw

Design Team

Prof. Christopher Benninger, Daraius Choksi, Rahul Sathe, Harsh Manrao, Shivaji Karekar, Akshay Modak, Sujit Kothiwale, Neha Kothiwale, Shalaka Vaidya, Kshitija Parmar, Madhvi Bhuradia, Noel Jerald V, Amod Tikhe, Anaheet Davierwalla and Chhavi Lal


2008   Indian Institute of Architects Award 2008

Excellence in Architecture

2009   Institute of Steel Development & Growth (INSDAG) 2008-2009

Runner’s up for Best Steel Structure in India

2009   J.K. Cement-Architect of the Year Awards

Best Educational Institute Award

2009   World Architecture Festival Award, Barcelona Spain

Category: Education – Finalist

2009   ArchiDesign Awards 2009

ArchiDesign Architect of the Year Award

2011   A Celebration of Architecture – The Inside Outside                                              

Best Architecture Awards