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Is This Really a Government Administrative Building in Odisha?

An administrative building in Orissa
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Krushi Bhawan is a building built for the Government of Odisha’s Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment by Studio Lotus. The 130,000-square-foot administrative centre houses a staff of almost 600 workers, as well as contains community interaction and learning areas.

An administrative building in Orissa

Located in Bhubaneshwar, the state capital of Odisha, which is home to several agricultural villages and is India’s third-largest grain supplier – is Krushi Bhawan. Zooming in from an aerial view, you can find the new campus next to the old ministry office. The architecture is subtle, yet stands out from the other power structures nearby, including the Police Commissionerate Building and the State Guest House.

Originally, the intention was to create a solely administrative facility for the Department of Agriculture and Farmer Empowerment of the Government of Odisha. However, Studio Lotus, the Delhi-based architectural company tasked with designing this space, believed that it was time to rethink government building architecture. The architects’ idea to integrate public activities and communal spaces in order to construct a building that would contribute to the city’s social infrastructure was immediately accepted.

An administrative building in Orissa
An administrative building in Orissa

The inclusion of a stilt level in the courtyard provides excellent air circulation, while the facility’s series of staggered masses shield it from intense sunlight. The architects have maximised the use of locally produced materials resulting in a low carbon impact throughout construction. The structure even has a rooftop solar power production system.

An administrative building in Orissa
An administrative building in Orissa

The Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment’s administrative offices is located in the complex, which is surrounded by courtyards with ponds and trees. The upper floor’s brickwork components form a pattern that resembles Odisha Ikat, a traditional dyeing method from their state. Studio Lotus has used three distinct colours of clay from the local region to replicate the patterns in bricks. The holes in the facade assist to keep the building cool naturally.

“The ground floor has been designed by the architects as a free-flowing public area that extends out onto a Plaza, which is an extension of the street, in an attempt to bring the building into the public realm”, Studio Lotus explained. The bottom level has a learning centre, a gallery, an auditorium, a library, and training rooms, all of which are in line with the project’s goals. Likewise, the rooftop has been intended to accommodate urban farming displays and agricultural best practises demonstrations. The plaza features an amphitheatre as well as a garden with a pond for natural cooling. The entrance is via a tree-lined walk with stone colonnades that also serves as a shaded spot for employees to take their lunches.

An administrative building in Orissa
An administrative building in Orissa

Krushi Bhawan is a unique piece of architecture made fully with regional materials and methods. Laterite and khondalite stone from local mines were used to construct the pedestal and a portion of the north wing. The khondalite was hand-carved into lattices that surround the central courtyard, which features a stone inlay floor with an annual calendar based on the crops. Rice paddies are shown in bas reliefs carved into the laterite on the complex’s main plaza in the manner of Odisha Pattachitra scroll paintings, which are traditional cloth-based scroll paintings. Dhokra, a form of metallurgy mastered over 4,000 years in India, may be found on screens in the building’s hallways and on the light fittings on the columns.

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