A Green And Healthy Habitat

A green and healthy habitat by Aparna Rao

Once a thriving mango orchard and then a terracotta workshop, this 13 acre site lies on an invisible symbolic east-west alignment which links Udayagiri-Khandagiri and Sisupalgarh, placing it in a wide arc of ‘Place’ and ‘Time’.

Today the very site is on an Institutional and public land use zone comprising of various State institutions related to handicraft and handloom. The western part of this area is a residential neighbourhood while the eastern side is flanked by a continuous park reservation (Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose park-Madhusudan Das park) beyond which lies the Biju Patnaik International airport.

As a consequence of interim development, presence of natural streams and low lying lands, the urban form in this area is markedly different from the organized layout of Bhubaneswar City as well as the organic fabric of Bhubaneswar Old Town.

Landscape Design Approach

Kalabhoomi, the Odisha State Crafts Museum is envisaged as a confluence of the state’s diverse ethnic, folk and craft culture in its capital - Bhubaneswar. The museum has dedicated galleries for Terracotta, Traditional painting, Stone and Wood crafts, Metal crafts, and Handloom. It has Courtyards dedicated to showcase tribal way of life and temple architecture as part of the museum complex. The vernacular landscape of Odisha was studied as a means to understand the key factors that could be a ‘spirit’ for approaching the landscape design for the Museum.

In the journey across some parts of Odisha, the observation about people modifying an outdoor space, on regular as well as daily basis, to create a place meaningful for them, formed a strong theoretical stance for the landscape design. The general

A Green And Healthy Habitat

reverence for Nature across these sample spaces –structured, wild or managed, and seldom manicured, became another essence that needed to be woven into the landscape design. The intent was to achieve an inimitable balance between the architecture and landscape by carving out rhythmic and optimally scaled spaces for outdoor exhibits, installations and activity areas to heighten the overall museum experience.

Landscape Design Approach Aparna Rao, Co-founder, FICUS, Bangalore

The outdoors were deliberately articulated to hold visual cues to enable visitors to “read” the fundamental ideas and connect the impressions to a larger context of Odisha’s cultural heritage. On a subliminal level, the landscape design attempts to invoke a deeper appreciation for the unique themes and essences of the Odishan way of life and also create resilient sojourns rooted in time and space which engage the observer to reflect upon direct and associated linkages with culture, folklore, livelihood or even leisure.

Project Details

Name: Kalabhoomi – Odisha Crafts Museum
Extent: 12.68 acres
Location: Pokhariput, Gandamunda, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Year of completion: January 2018 Architect: Architects’ Studio, Bhubaneswar landscape Architect: FICUS, Bengaluru Museum Curator: Shri. Jyotindra Jain
Client: Handlooms Textiles and Handicrafts Department, Government of Odisha

About Aparna Rao

Co-founder, FICUS, Bangalore

Landscape architect Aparna Rao is the founder partner of FICUS. She leads the firm along with Sriganesh Rajendran on a variety of design scales and typologies with a strong scientific, cultural and artistic grounding. one of her beautiful works received additional recognition in the form of WADE ASIA 2019 Excellence-landscape Award.


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