FIRM – Finer Edge Architects, Mumbai
Architect- Vivek Kishore
TYPE – Convention Center
STATUS – Built
YEAR – 2022
SIZE – 4.83 acres of land having build-up area of 81,500 sq. ft.
Located on a flat terrain surrounded by pre-existing natural vegetation, the Khajuraho Convention Center stands tall as a testimony to the rich cultural heritage and beauty of Khajuraho. The planning of the Center uses a simple and functional approach throughout, with various functions being distributed over the ground and first floor. The north facade opens up to a veranda leading up to the foyer, lobbies and pre-function areas. The central hall space and meeting rooms including part of the pre-function area are planned such that they can be used in endless ways as per desired needs without hampering the function of others, giving users ease of flexibility.
The Convention Center’s unique design elements evoke a sense of lightness and spiritual upliftment for which Khajuraho is known. A solid rap starting from the back of the building and becoming a huge cantilever in the front facade, along with a similar solid rap starting from the back of the reception until the entrance porch, defines the whole Convention Center. Placed perpendicular to each other, this element gives a very unique identity to the Center, boldly defining it such that it is now used in its branding, letterhead, visiting cards, and even crockery.
The use of hand-crafted stone cladding brings out the beauty and timelessness of the Convention Center, acting as a visual source of worship and referring back to the roots of symbolic nature of Khajuraho. The Center’s main openings and façade face the north orientation towards the main road for easy public access. The huge horizontal canopy running in the X-Y axis one on top of the other creates a strong elevational feature. This minimalist approach of massing the canopy over the Y-shaped steel columns embraces the visitors’ approach into the Convention Center.
The site is oriented at a slight angle of 45 degrees north and hence the Center’s N-S axis orientation addresses the issue of sustainability by reducing heat gain. The front façade faces north, allowing the Center to soak in natural light, while minimal openings on the other facades reduce heat transmission. For façade, Finer Edge has used energy saving glass and green certified Kalesinterflex cladding by Classic Marble Company (CMC). The 3mm slim ultra-thin, large format porcelain slab – Kalesinterflex extends into interior space as false ceiling creating a unified feeling of exterior merging into interiors. A buffer zone of trees around the Center keeps the surrounding area cool and low-energy consumption LED lights, water-efficient fixtures and fittings, and a rainwater harvesting system contribute to the Center’s energy efficiency.
The key structural element being steel provides immense strength and boldness throughout the space, while also being durable and cost-effective. The exuberance of detail on the main facade showcases the artworks and stone carvings, highlighting the rich culture and heritage of Khajuraho.
The Khajuraho Convention Center is placed in such a way that there is a huge garden lawn in front and a smaller garden lawn at the back, giving the operator an added advantage of hosting two extra functions in the area simultaneously. The two lawns get automatically divided from each other by the building itself, giving them their own privacy and individuality. The toilet blocks inside the building are also placed in such a way that they couple up for lawn functions in the interiors, avoiding the capital and maintenance cost of an additional toilet block in the landscape. Back-end services, including kitchen area with loading and unloading services, staff entry into the Center and toilet blocks are taken care of very meticulously. The technical services coming up on the first floor cater for air handling units, A.V operation room and interpretation room.
The Khajuraho Convention Center is not only a marvel of sustainable architecture but also a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Khajuraho. Its design elements evoke a sense of spirituality and lightness, providing spaces of tranquillity to ease the bustling minds of visitors, leaving them spellbound.