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Our friends from CHA:COL shared with us their urban strategy, PARENTHESIS, with us. When the New School of Planning and Architecture decide to relocate an institution, CHA:COL imagined this new school as an interconnected whole where the plan connects disparate structures with the natural environment. Set in India, the country already has a rich history of education that synthesizes the exterior with the interior, so CHA:COL’s strategy enforces this pedagogical mentality.

More about Parenthesis after the break.

Set on a site characterized by the South Central Ridge to the North, Residential Development to the South and major Commercial and Institutional buildings to the East and West, the existing terrain was fairly undulated and rocky–conditions that appeared ideal for proposing a zone to recharge groundwater and enhance local flora. These environmental features could then be enhanced to accomodate outdoor program usages and become a social space as well.

The site is diagonally sliced by a feeder road that helps unify the Academic and Residential zones.  Programmatically, the residential zone is located to the West of the road, and a private zone and Academic program to the East.

The Ravine became a primary armature for organizing built structures around it so the design strategy was therefore defined by ‘bracketing’ this ravine. Programmatically, it allowed the school to function as a continuum between the interior and the exterior.

The school component was based on research of ‘vertical studio’ prototypes which allow flexibility for modular studios to be reconfigured based on academic considerations.  The three zones of studio, research and housing were therefore, proposed to be integrated as far as possible by the exterior environment.

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Karen Cilento

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Cite: Karen Cilento. "PARENTHESIS / CHA:COL" 10 Mar 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
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