Bangalore International Centre is a non-profit public institution located in the heart of Bengaluru. Founded as a democratic institution to enhance dialogue and foster ideas across cultures, and economies. It opened in January 2019. Located in a dense neighbourhood beside a derelict public park, open army land and adjoining the city’s stormwater channel ‘Nala’ . 1 acre (4420sqm) site was located in a dense neighbourhood besides a derelict park, army lands and adjoining the city’s storm water channel or ‘Nala’ . The site had degraded soils. The location was a key aspects in the design of the landscape as were the ideals of public participation which was at the core of this democratic public space. Due to the high programmatic built requirements (which included a 185 seat auditorium, seminar rooms, art gallery, café) and associated services the amount of open space available was limited.
Challenges : A small site with limited open space, located in a dense neighbourhood with the highest noise levels with the city. The set back to the rear of the building adjoined the city’s stormwater drain. This area comprised of highly degraded& polluted soils, with constant seepage from the ‘nala’. This channel is highly polluted with a discharge of raw waste. Additionally during summers this waste stagnates creating an unsightly floatsam with foul odor and mosquitoes near the institution .The key intention was to also look at improving the quality of this degraded space as an ecological corridor, and an amenity for the visitors & residents of the neighbourhood and in mitigating any further pollution of the nala .Conceived of as a performative landscape that aims at creating an urban ecosystem, that now attracts a varied species of urban mammals and birds and also looked at ecologically linking this greenway nala corridor with the larger open spaces such as the neighboring park and army open lands as a riparian buffer along the nala. Design The landscape looks beyond the site constraints & aesthetics to function as a public amenity as well as to contribute towards environmental remediation. The Landscape was conceived of as a space that would encourage the visitors to BIC to engage in the outdoors. The key areas were a) linear public garden at the entrance and b)meander space/ permeable linear greenway which is a rain garden at the rear (east of the building) and c) a surrounding buffer landscape with a biological pond.
A) LINEAR GARDEN : Due to the limited open space available for planting in the project specially towards the front of the building . The front garden has been planned as two linear stretches of greenery of 1.5 m wide that provides with a green band closer to the building providing a proximal whimsical experience of the landscape to the occupants of the building, the narrow band that edges the site connects to the peripheral street trees. From within the building, the occupants feel a connection with two natures, one whimsical and the other more sedate. This garden is a place to wait, relax& gather. The furniture includes long monolithic stone benches, and colourful moveable outdoor furniture for seating and waiting. The paving was designed comprises of local granite cobble with subtle textural and color variations. It was designed to be accessible by disabled visitors and senior citizens.
B)POND & BUFFER LANDSCAPE : The Landscape design includes a bio pond to the south, the lobby opens out to this pond and buffer landscape. Despite the narrow size and shallow depth of the pond and limited space available for planting, the vegetation of the pond & buffer still engulfs the occupants. The planting for the pond & buffer was designed to allow the visitors in the lobby to feel an expanded sense of greenery and contiguity with the visual borrowing of the neighbouring park landscape while concealing the vehicular ramp movement from sight.
C) PERMEABLE LINEAR GREENWAY/RAIN GARDEN: The Landscape looks at creating a functioning urban ecosystem, from a once degraded space that now attracts a varied species of urban mammals and birds. A multi-sensorial urban wilderness, an escape from urbanity while being in the heart of the city. This space is largely a rain garden with a meandering walkway (in local dry laid local stone chapadi with crushed chapadi aggregate). Acts as a space for visitors to take a break from performances & conferences while being in nature. It’s a performative landscape, a rain garden that enables biological filtration and this improves storm water quality through an exposure to dense vegetation, gravel, soils before slow in-filteration and then collection in a perforated subdrain, thereby reducing pollution of the adjoining nala. Plants that facilitate the removal of pollutants in the stormwater have been used (such as Cymbopogon, Nerium, Cyperus alternifolius). The overall planting density is high thereby increasing infiltration. The planting is diverse. The plants species are able to take urban stresses, and require minimal maintenance. The aesthetic manifestation of this performative landscape is one that creates varieties of textural & fragrant plant palette with seasonal color! Native and adapted plant species have been used in the project with no exotic planting. This space also adds a touch of whimsy to the pristine architectural language of the building. With a small budget for permeable greenway, Cost was monitored by using local stone chappadi gneiss (usually used as fencing posts),crushed gravel.Salvaging waste local stone (kota strips) remnants of interior paving has been used. The project is submitted for GRIHA 5 star rating (https://www.grihaindia.org/griha-rating)
The Landscape at BIC creates an expansive garden experience despite the limited space, remediates , creates an escape within the city!
Location of the project: 7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage,
Design year: 2017-2019
Year Built: 2019