Gallery House, a community building in Bansberia, India

The building designed by Abin Design Studio in Bansberia, India, is a compensatory work commissioned by a private client for the benefit of the community.

A client for whom Abin Design Studio had completed a grandiose private villa subsequently purchased a lot across the street and commissioned the architects to build a garage for his cars with some rooms to house the staff. The context is that of the peri-urban area of Bansberia in West Bengal.

Given the simplicity of the request, the architect, originally from the area and with a deep knowledge of the social milieu, convinced the client to do something for the community. The project originally envisaged a garage on the ground floor with a multifunctional space on the upper floor that would also be used by the neighborhood. Looking at the way the building was emerging, the client decided to abandon his initial request for a garage and embraced the proposal to reuse the ground floor for a community room, while the upper floor houses a multipurpose room, a space with seating and a pantry. The multipurpose room was designed primarily to provide yoga classes and sessions for the local community. At night, this space functions as a dormitory for the resident staff.

Abin Design Studio, Gallery House, Bansberia 2020. ph Edmund Sumner
Abin Design Studio, Gallery House, Bansberia 2020. ph Edmund Sumner

The building is designed over an area of 330 square meters and to maximize its public utility, it is designed to extend out onto the street, both visually and physically. A festive procession is held every year along the narrow, winding streets of the neighborhood as part of a cultural celebration. The building descends towards the street forming a gallery for the spectators, who gather at the side of the street during the event. Through careful design and a play of volumetric voids, the space of the building is shared with the people of the neighborhood as a gesture of restitution to the local community, without disturbing the privacy and security of the internal functions.

From a formal point of view, the building was inspired by the terracotta temples of Bengal. The exposed brick walls with ceramic inserts define the character of the building. The bricks come from a factory located along the river nearby, while the ceramics were chosen, with the help of a ceramist, among the industrial waste and the realization was entrusted to the executive finesse of the building masonry of local masters.

Gallery House
Bansberia, West Bengala, India
Mixed-use building
Abin Design Studio
Project team:
Abin Chaudhuri, Sohomdeep Sinha Roy, Qurratul Ain Maryam
Soma Kazi
Project coordination:
Debjit Samanta, Debkishor Das, Dipankar Mondal
Partha Dasgupta

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