Gewinner Kategorie “Building outside the box”: Maya-Somaiya-Bibliothek
© Edmund Sumner

Join me on the roof!

Brick Award 20

Maya Somaiya Library; Brick Award 2020 Category "Building Outside The Box"; Architects: Sameep Padora & Associates, Photo:  Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

Maya Somaiya Library

Building outside the box - Category Winner

Maya Somaiya Library; Brick Award 2020 Category "Building Outside The Box"; Architects: Sameep Padora & Associates, Photo:  Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

Used products

Facing bricks

Join me on the roof!

If you’re looking for traditional architecture then you’re looking in vain here: the Maya Somaiya Library in Kopargaon, Maharashtra, India, provides children at the school for which it was built with an unusual place to learn and play.  

A vault as playground for school children

On initial inspection, the narrow plot of land appeared particularly uninspiring – located as it is between the existing buildings of the Shri Sharda English Medium School, an electrical substation, and neighbouring farmland. Which only makes the artistic library, designed for the children by architect Sameep Padora and his team, even more striking. 
 
The new reading pavilion enhances the landscape with its architecture and raises it up a level. Because the wave-shaped roof is accessible – although it is constructed from a mere three layers of 32 mm deep bricks. The effect of compressive stress between the 105,000 locally-produced bricks means that the delicate vaulted roof can be used as a playground by local children. 

International engineering knowledge

The architects drew inspiration from around the world when planning their design. Sameep Padora and his team were fascinated by the resource efficiency of the Catalan vault, which dates back to the 16th century, Rafael Guastavino’s Tile Arch System, and the shell structures of Uruguayan architect Eladio Dieste. 
 
The curved dome shape of the library was calculated by Swiss computer modelling software. Beneath this digitally-designed – but very natural – roof is a single room, 44 m in length, with rectangular glass walls that allow in plenty of natural light. It is an ideal place to learn and read: ‘Given the limited learning resources available in the local area, we wanted the space itself to be inspirational and act as a magnet, to draw in pupils and other residents from nearby villages’, explains Padora. 
 

‘Given the limited learning resources available in the local area, we wanted the space itself to be inspirational and act as a magnet, to draw in pupils and other residents from nearby villages.’ - Sameep Padora

Innovation meets functionality

The library pavilion is accessible from several sides and, internally, the space and seating can be configured in many variations to suit individual or group learning. The curved ceiling, in warm earth tones, reaches protectively over the space, unbroken by lamps or other items. The architects integrated lighting into the furniture, thereby creating a unique, continuous curve. 
 
Overall, the Maya Somaiya Library is a project that aims to inspire pupils to access global knowledge in a sustainable way. ‘An innovative building that unites everything the Brick Award is about: the unconventional use of brick, combined with the full functionality that a library needs’, says the Brick Award Jury, summarising the project, which won in the category ‘Building outside the box’.

Maya Somaiya Library; Brick Award 2020 Category "Building Outside The Box"; Architects: Sameep Padora & Associates, Photo:  Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

Data & facts

Project name: Maya Somaiya Library, Kopargaon, India

Architecture   Sameep Padora & Associates

Client   Somaiya Vidyavihar, Shree Sharda School

Year of completion   2018

Products used   Facing bricks

Maya Somaiya Library; Brick Award 2020 Category "Building Outside The Box"; Architects: Sameep Padora & Associates, Photo:  Edmund Sumner

Facing bricks – India

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