PMA Madhushala strikes a balance between nature and architecture for its studio in Pune
JUL 17, 2021 | By Sharayu Shinde
The search for PMA Madhushala’s third studio was centred around striking a balance between nature and architecture. “It has always been a conscious choice to search for leftover urban spaces along with its constraints and limitations, and then to turn it into a creative studio space,” explains Prasanna Morey, principal architect at PMA Madhushala.
The first two studios drew from the philosophy of embracing nature and retaining it as it comes. Embodying the close connection to the earth and sky, the former studios were encircled around 5 trees within the setback of a bungalow. “The present studio of Madhushala is an outcome of collective learning from the past journey of our two workplaces,” says Morey.
The designers, in an effort to minimise the overall footprint of the space, set stringent spatial boundaries. Delicately weaving together the past journey of Madhushala with the collective learning from the two studios, designers Prasanna and Divya revitalised this abandoned urban space.
Spread over a comfortable 690 sq ft, the lush sanctuary is a calm, secluded temple to work and learn, right in the lap of nature. Efficient construction techniques are the foundation of this one of a kind structure. Generous help from student volunteers helped perfect this unique installation and is one of the best memorabilia of the building process. Natural earth casted in modules make up the multifunctional structure which allows water to flow through its crevices to the surrounding flora and acts as a natural air conditioner.
The first studios thrived with minimal yet flexible, cosy zones. The inviting and collaborative workspaces used upcycled, natural materials to create shelters and pavilions that are demarcated by a central water body. On one end is the main studio and on the other, a model making area perfect to host occasional discussions and meetings. The studios’ fluid nature, enabled by porous materials, added to its charm and warmth. This unique trait is also fundamental in the design of the third studio.
Offering an insight to sustainable details intermingling with aesthetic and ornamentation within the studio, Prasanna explains, “The studio is flooded with natural light from windows and skylights for most part of the day. Along with the lush greens and the warm yellows, the cool blues have also been an integral part of the Madhushala ecosystem. The water body in the studio helps in cooling the space by adding moisture in the environment. All these parameters gradually reduce overall energy consumption of the studio.”
The studio boasts of a pragmatic approach to design. The furniture is exclusively made out of reclaimed wood and light fabrications. Adopted from previous studios, the upcycled movable furniture, windows and studio tables helped keep the costs in check. Handpicked from the rejected and unused stock of a stone showroom, the flooring adds an alluring, earthy touch. Built-in seating spaces and in situ basin minimised the use of materials, especially hardware, aligning with the architects’ goal of maintaining a low footprint.
An earthy and natural palette unifies the novel spaces of the studio. Skilled use of innovative materials and distinct, contemporary approaches characterises each studio, nonetheless, the brand’s essence runs throughout seamlessly.
The inclusive atmosphere across the studio promotes equal responsibility and independent way of work. The designers emphasize that an important aspect of Madhushala learning is generating a sensitive approach towards nature. The design intently blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor, crafting an open, non restrictive plan.
The spaces aim to facilitate working in close proximity to nature where one can develop an individual connection with the earth. Owing to the tactful integration of biophilia, the studio is also a welcome abode for pets, birds and fish and turtles.
Prasanna summarises the ethos of Madhushala, “Sustainability is a sensitive thought towards our living, and we believe that it has to be reflected in even the smallest of our activities. We believe that small decisions always make a world of difference and therefore everything from building a studio to running it is a collective of conscious decisions, decisions that would minimise the overall burden on earth.”