Location: Bhubaneshwar, India.

Architect: Studio Lotus.

Krushi Bhawan is a 130,000 sq.ft administrative centre developed for the Government of Odisha’s Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment. The facility is located in Bhubaneshwar, the state capital of Odisha, and is built to accommodate nearly 400 workstations, in addition to a learning centre, a library, an auditorium, training rooms, a garden and a public plaza. The ground level has been designed as a free-flowing public space that opens out into a Plaza, acting as an extension of the street. The roof top has been designed to house urban farming exhibits and crop samples. The purely administrative spaces have been placed on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors, which consist of workspaces for the State Department and Directorates. The material palette uses a combination of indigenous and locally-sourced materials, such as exposed brick and local stones like laterite and khondalite. Over 150 highly-skilled local artisans have come together to create a vibrant contemporary narrative of traditional Odia craft envisioned at an unprecedented architectural scale, depicting agricultural folklore and mythological stories. The incorporation of traditional design strategies and local materials helps achieve sustainability as well. The courtyard morphology and the inclusion of a stilt level aid optimal air circulation through the building, whereas the low window-to-wall ratio and deeply recessed windows and balconies help lower heat gain. The use of locally-sourced materials also lowers the carbon footprint of the construction process. Krushi Bhawan transcends the typical closed-off office campus morphology by integrating governmental functions with direct community engagement and education. Through a meticulously developed spatial programme, the complex brings the local rural population into the fold and facilitates their interaction and collaboration with the government in developing the best agricultural practices for the state. It also serves as an example of how the government can be the prime facilitator of patronage for regional crafts and sustain the communities and economies built around them. Utilizing and displaying the best of the traditional crafts and vernacular wisdom of the Odia people, Krushi Bhawan embodies the true ideal of Indian democracy – one created for the people, by the people, and from the essence of their collective cultural identity.

Photo credit: Sergio Ghetti.