Gautam Buddha University

The principles of site planning were inspired by Buddhist philosophy. This ethos was to be included and ingrained in the formulation of the landscape. To turn this idea into reality, extensive research was done on Buddhist principles, teachings, art and architecture. The configuration of the core of the university, the academic block was loosely based on the geometrics of the three wheels (triratna), as understood through the image of the Buddha, delivering his first sermon at Sarnath.

As a centre for higher learning, the spaces within the campus needed to stimulate cerebral consciousness. Reflective waterbodies- structured and freeform, lotus pools and fountains dotted the campus so as to instill a sense of calm and contemplation within the environment. With only 12% of the campus being built-up, the right treatment of the remaining open spaces became imperative. Spaces for informal congregation such as lawns and open grounds (samooha kunj) for active and passive recreational use were carved out. Formal zones up to the administrative and academic blocks were treated with a structured character of landscape. Seating pavilions punctuated the hostel courtyard (vihara vatika).

Spaces were carved out within the proposed woodland and the other sections of the campus. The student hostel blocks and the faculty housing blocks, were located within it. The vegetation buffer also placed the residential units at a comfortable distance from the academic core. This configuration was similar to the organization of a gurukul. The Administrative areas and formal congregation zones such as the auditorium and the amphitheatre were placed closer to the campus entrance, for easy access. Large wooded areas were introduced, to achieve a feeling of tranquility within the campus. Native and naturalized, long life trees were extensively used, to inculcate a sense of continuum within the campus. The planting palette also included plant species mentioned in Buddhist texts.

Exponential as well as department-wise expansion was taken into account in the masterplan. Area was also reserved for future expansion at the rear of the site. Circulation within such a large campus was a crucial design factor. A road along the perimeter of the site connected and provided an intra-campus bus transit route. Cycles within the campus could gain access up to the periphery of each building unit. A covered pedestrian walkway connected the student (shishya path) and faculty residential (shikshak path) units to the academic block. This pathway skirted around the central open sports area.