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Nudes, an architecture firm founded by Nuru Karim introduces The Forest as a place that encourages hands-on learning, green learning possibilities, networked communities, and experiential learning while improving air quality and student health.

Pune, a city in Maharashtra, has seen some substantial urban growth in recent years. This increase in urban density has led to very scarce recreational spaces around the city. These spaces, also known as green pockets, are what act as the lungs for the city. Mumbai based architectural firm, NUDES have taken this case up to design an urban forest like school in the city. The design is a part of the winning entry of an invited competition for design on ecological change.

Architecture by NUDES

Concept of the School

Titled “The Forest”, the school is built on five major concepts of ‘grow,’ ‘learn,’ ‘reuse,’ ‘plant,’ and ‘play,’ and investigates the link between nature and education. The proposal includes two cylindrical “green towers” and attempts to bring some landscape amidst a crowded area. Located at a distance of 3 hours from the city of Mumbai, the design for the school has a rooftop “infinity” loop track connecting the two “green” cylindrical volumes.

Design in Detail

The ‘loop’ on the top has been created as a cycling track that will host a variety of activities, including workshops, student exhibitions, student-led marketplaces, and other events, in addition to its primary role. With the increase in pollution, the school’s architecture acts as a beacon of hope to meet the community’s wider requirements. “The track was a consequence of our consultation with stakeholders who expressed concerns about gaps in the city’s infrastructure, such as secure pedestrian walkways, universal accessibility, and cycle tracks, among other things, the architect Nuru Karim chips in about the project.

Architecture by NUDES

The school will also include a double-height theatre on the bottom floor and five stories of classrooms above it, reaching a height of 32 metres at its tallest point. The exteriors of both buildings will be surrounded by stepped balconies with plants, creating a vertical forest. Phytoremediation is a technique in which certain plants absorb harmful substances through their leaves or roots, allowing them to remove contaminants from the air. Photosynthesis is another way they convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.

A Futuristic Proposal

Nudes’ Forest School intends to tackle Pune’s urban challenges by planting trees at every level and building a “bicycle track for a city in desperate need of pedestrian walkways and cycling tracks.” At the basement level are a tennis court and a pool. There are also service pathways for access to the landscape at the facade, which has restricted access for safety purposes.

Architecture by NUDES

This kind of architecture that imbibes the values of climate change and environmental protection at the structural level will be an efficient stage for the students to learn these values from. The programmatic functions and the interiors are also tastefully placed to ensure an open learning environment. Hands-on learning, green learning possibilities, networked communities, experiential learning, improved air quality and student health, passive cooling, sensitivity to climate change and global warming, and social responsibility are all some features included in the ideation of the project.

Architecture by NUDES
Creative Gaga - Issue 54


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Architectural structures should inspire while shaping the future. Believes Nuru Karim, Founder & Design Principal of NUDES. Here he explains how the projects transcend their initial purposes to create experiential spaces that connect people and places.

Architectural design by Nuru Karim
Shaan. The project explores the relationship between music and architecture
Architectural design by Nuru Karim
Shaan. Soft bodied forms are sited throughout the duplex penthouse
Architectural design by Nuru Karim
Shaan. Project for a celebrity musician and socialite wife in the heart of affluent Bandra.

Innovation Comes Through Asking the Right Questions

The dichotomy of ‘experimental’ and ‘real-world constraints’ is thought-provoking and acts as a fuel for innovation. As designers, are we immersing ourselves into continual combat with the limitations, both internal and external? Are we realizing the uncharted territories?

Architectural design by Nuru Karim
Mosque of Light

Are we being honest and truthful to the design process and socioeconomic forces that govern the world of design and the built environment? Are we really pushing ourselves into finding the right problems rather than focusing on solutions? Innovations have origins not in the answers but in the way we frame and put forward our questions.

Architectural design by Nuru Karim
Architectural design by Nuru Karim

The Process of Change is Bottom-up

Sustainable eco-urbanism requires an integrated multi-sectoral initiative involving community participation. It is supposed to be designed and led by the community. Of course, as designers, we have a crucial role to play, but largely the process is bottom up. Our job is to add the layer of sustainability to our understanding of urbanscapes. Appreciating the change in the social behaviour, hierarchy and ecosystem and responding to this transformation is an integral part of any designer’s growth experience.

BMB Art Gallery. An arthouse for paintings, installations, video Installations, sculpture etc.
BMB Art Gallery. The project explores painted zones of more or less opacity. Paint brushed with pixels and bytes

Tradition and Future Should have a Dialogue

The tension between the two words, ‘experimental’ and ‘traditional’ is something that gets design thinking going. Issues related to the design of products, interiors, architectural spaces and urban experiences are subject to enormous constraints revolving primarily around “code” and “budgets” immersed within a complex socio-economic and cultural context.

“Baori”. Water Well

It’s very important that the two contradicting worlds not only meet but also have a dialogue with each other in complete harmony. One could also analyse this construct through the lens of “using tradition as a springboard to dive into the future”. But really, the tri-relationship of ‘playful experimentation’, ‘serious research’ and ‘old-fashioned problem solving’ needs to be exhaled in a single seamless continuous breath.

Mathsurf, India

The design is an Open System of Interrelated Issues

An architectural solution engages design as a cohesive process of interconnected issues. The integration takes place between various subjects like typology, digital methodologies, sustainability, structure, fabrication, materiality, and tactility among others.


The solution also brings into its domain the use of larger networks of the social, cultural, and environmental phenomenon. Transfer of technologies and ‘smart materials’, just like the use of ‘digital’ in both design and production enables the transformation of ‘design history’ into ‘design future’.

RyeWood International School.

Don’t Think, Just Look!

Today we need to stop ‘thinking’ so as to start again to ‘see’. “Design as Research” is a fundamental methodology that should be integral to every designer’s thought process. The research could also operate at several levels, ranging from philosophical positions to sector-specific analysis to technological systems. We need to develop an art of description where we question the methodology by which design projects are conceptualised, processed and documented.

Boutique Hotel. The ‘wave-pixel’ skin explores the potential of digital interfaces within the city

Nature is a great teacher and a fantastic reservoir of research and design. Engagement with the nature-based systems in terms of researching and conversing is a way to both unlearn and re-learn. It’s very critical that architecture is deep-rooted within a context. But it should also address larger social, cultural and environmental issues.

Rebirth Retail Store. Differentiated hexagonal cellular aggregate formations created the central piece

In a Collaboration, the Inter-Disciplinary Lines should Blur

Successful collaborative processes largely involve both stakeholders and professionals as an integrated “team-based” mechanism, integral to the design process and evolution of space design. Our collaborations range from artists, engineers, social scientists, product designers fashion designers etc.

Bad, Mumbai

The next up is philosophers. The extent of collaboration depends and varies from project to project largely based on design methodology, strategy and scale of the project. These changes in architectural practice also collapse the differences defining various disciplines working together, blurring the line within these disciplines and manufacturing processes.

MoonLight, 3D printed Lamp

Materials are Defined by Purpose

Materials explain ‘what it does?’ as opposed to ‘what it is?’ Recent advances in both technique and process where materials are concerned to have emerged into broad heads such as Shape performance, Optical performance, Sustainable performance and Responsive performance to name a few.

Tent Hotel, China

In Japan, for example, researchers are experimenting with intelligent systems in the construction of seismic resistant structures, wherein building foundation equipped with sensors amplify waves producing a change in ‘Material Elasticity’ to absorb the shock wave impact. Materials that provide products with one or more life cycles and are advantageous in terms of production, workability, dissemblance, reuse and environmental preservation.

Colour Constructs, Not Embellish

“Colour” should be defined as “structure” and also as a tactile experience loyal and honest to its material origins. It is not wallpaper, ornament or a candy wrap of a building. Generally, white and black are timeless in nature and respond brilliantly to atmospheric changes and varying light conditions.


But sometimes, these decisions are also driven programmatically. For example, retail stores and art galleries are strategically washed in white to exhibit the artworks in all honesty.

Dive in to Make a Difference

Besides chasing design philosophies and related commercial issues, it is critical that we commit ourselves to larger social/ humanitarian goals. Architecture has the power to do that. India faces several issues, including and not limited to lack of housing, lack of infrastructural services, lack of property rights, air pollution, traffic, serious lack of urban governance and many more. Question on a daily basis why you are here. The responsive design will augment the process of change.

S2. The hospital ancillary services building explores the topological transformation of a ‘mesh skin’

Published in Issue 04

The issue with the best insights from some of the top space designers and advertising tips from Happy Creatives with some exclusive mix of media experiments in type and digital art. So, go ahead


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Creative Gaga - Issue 54