This Rock-Lizard Inspired Art & Innovation Hub Seems Carved from the Earth, Boosting Students’ Creativity in A Novel Way | Mistry Architects

Art & Innovation Hub  Mistry Architects

As schools modernize and change what learning and teaching pattern appears on their campuses, the design of the schools, colleges or academy is likely to transform in dramatic ways as well. This Art and Innovation hub- a part of the rural educational campus of Agastya International Foundation in Andhra Pradesh, gives the glimpse of what future of academic buildings design could look like. The architects shared with SURFACES REPORTER (SR) about their thought process through the design, the way it was structured and more. Read on:

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The architecture of this building stemmed forth from the understanding to bring together the arts and science and allow the learning that happens when strict disciplines are broken and a natural leap frogging from one to the other becomes the norm rather than the exception.


“The structure seems carved from earth with each space creatively sculpted to suit the requirement along the lay of the land”.

Design Idea

Architect said, “this idea is further strengthened from the belief that the attributes of the future are clearly stacked in favour of our creative community, if we pay heed to the idea of design thinking to solve many problems that escapes a fixated rationalist approach.”


“We lowered our gaze to what lay under our feet, the ‘rock lizard’ shaking its head drew our attention to re-adaptation here. It was this simple, fun intuition that excited us to explore further this connections we were seeking from ‘the language of this land’, which is older than words,” they further added.


The next priority of the firm is over laying the structural determinants and costs along with capturing the views of the valley beyond. 


Tucking the ensemble into the contours further excited them about the potential of this approach so that it “effortlessly slips into the earth.”


To the cut and fill that became the process of integrating the structure to the slopes, the firm added the dimension of covering part of the building under the sweep of the earth, which eventually was covered with greenery, merging the structure to the surrounding landscape.

Multipurpose Space

The main entry meanders around the structure, where the earth berm covers the roof and merge into the landscape. As one moves closer to the entry, vistas open towards the exterior at various volumes.

art-and-innovation-centerWaste _ local shale rock as art

The double height area is a multiuse space for art installation, workshops and exhibition.

Double-Height Gallery in the Class Rooms

Class room span along the contour, opening into semi covered decks. The double height gallery connecting all the class rooms has skylights at the roof level that create interesting play of light and shadow along the path.

art-and-innovation-center-andhra-pradesh-surfaces-reporterDouble height art gallery

The storeroom and services are tucked on the rear zone. The studio space spread in and out of the structure, blurring boundaries between interior and exterior. The toilets and services are located away from the main structure with a connecting walkway, the space along the walkway is used as outdoor classrooms and workshop area for doing outdoor activity connected with clay and water.


Break out Spaces

Taking advantage of the land profile, spaces are carved below the service block, which is used by the children as break out spaces. The parking bay for the school buses is located at a distance from the main structure, tucked away in to the existing tree groves. The first floor accommodates the innovation hub, which extends to an additional block connected with a covered walkway.

art-and-innovation-center-andhra-pradesh-surfaces-reporterConnecting pathways

The earth berm hugging the structure at the entry accommodates the ramp to the first floor, creating an independent entry to the innovation hub. The facility extends to an additional unit lifted on stilts over the valley, connected by a semi covered walkway overlooking the surrounding valley beyond.

Fun Based Interactive Learning Environment

The interior layout of the innovation hub is designed based on the theme Fun based interactive learning environment”.The space reflect ‘Design thinking’ and Learning-how to learn’ attitude. Floor plate accommodates zones for orientation area, innovation resource centre, lab area and design studio zones for curriculum activity.


The uniform colour scheme of the structure and interiors, creates a perfect background, an open canvas to display art and sculptures done by the kids that brings colour and texture into the interiors.

Also Read: Shanmugam Associates Takes Cues From Stepped Wells of Gujarat To Design Courtyard of the Northstar School | Rajkot


Project Details

Project Name: Art & Innovation Hub at Agastya International Foundation
Location: Guddivanka, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh
Built-up-Area: 1487 Sq M
Architectural firm:  Mistry architects
Design Team: Sharukh Mistry, Sandeep Umapathy & Vinoth Kannan
Photographs: Umeed Mistry, Tasneem Khan & Anand. R
Clients: Agastya International Foundation
Year of completion: 2018

Other Credits:

Structural consultants: Cruthi Consultants
Electrical & Plumbing consultants: Maple Hydraulics Consultants

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