TOP RIGHT: A central landscaped area forms the verandah for the two rooms on the ground level.
DOWN: The circular form of the building creates a flow of energy into the different spaces.

An architectural consultant, very aware of the socio-economic and environmental concerns around her and a graduate of the Kamala Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture & Environmental Studies, Mumbai, Sheril Castelino has been practising in Auroville since 1997. She has worked on many projects independently and in conjunction with other architects based in Auroville. She is presently part of ‘Auroville’s Future’, a Town Planning service centre for innovative urban management.

Project : Extension to the guest house
Category : Architecture
Location : Quiet Beach, Auroville
Client : Quiet Healing Centre
Architect : Sheril Castelino
Project Team : Sheril Castelino, Pino Marchese
Area : 200sqm
Cost : Rs 13 lakhs
Contractor : Mario & Mohan
Year of Completion : 2000

Exposed brickwork and mosaic tiles form the design vocabulary in this project.

In her personal quest and concern for sustainable architecture in Auroville, Sheril has tried to use alternative low-energy building technology in her projects as far as possible. The existing complex was built on the principles of ‘Baubiology’, the term for ‘building biology’ or the relationship between buildings. Already included within the premise was a Healing Centre for Alternative Therapies and its 10 guest rooms. “As part of the extension, 12 more rooms were envisaged with kitchen and dining facilities for 50 guests. Phase I included the construction of 4 guest rooms,” says Sheril. The brief also demanded that the building be barrier-free.

The existing Healing Centre was in exposed brickwork and white china mosaic. Respecting the structures already built, the new structures and domes were designed similarly in terms of aesthetics and building materials. A circular form believed to be conducive for the flow of energy was arrived at while designing the rooms. A central landscaped area forms the meeting point and acts as a verandah for the two rooms on the ground level and is naturally lit by a circular skylight The upper rooms are accessed by independent staircases and have a sea-facing terrace between them.

The circular skylight helps bring natural light and ventilation into the structure.

Load bearing double brick walls with lime mortar joints (350 mm) have been used for the entire building with the exception of columns to support the terrace on the upper floor. The double wall serves the dual purpose of heat insulation as well as rain protection. The designed structure is largely eco-friendly in character and takes various energy conservation factors into account The phenomenon called Auroville, the mecca of research in building technologies, made it possible to apply some innovative technology to the walls and roof in this building,” concludes Sheril.

Text by: Darpana Athale
Photographs: courtesy the designer