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Temple in Stone and Light // SpaceMatters

Barmer, India

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Text description provided by the architects.

The project was an opportunity to explore and establish contemporary interpretations of traditional typologies and building techniques. Located in the culturally rich area of Rajasthan, the contextual response to the region’s architecture rendered a design which sought to push the boundaries of modern temple architecture without compromising on the symbolic aspects of temple design.

© SpaceMatters

© SpaceMatters

© SpaceMatters

© SpaceMatters

The decision to use stone masonry was an attempt to pay homage to the region’s building style and yet provide novelty in a temple of that region. The availability of resources such as excellent quality of stone and depth of knowledge of skilled traditional craftsmanship which we wanted to utilize, led to the consideration of stone as the only material to use.

© SpaceMatters

© SpaceMatters

© SpaceMatters

© SpaceMatters

Considering the setting of the temple in the wonderfully stark and alive canvas of the ‘Thar Desert’, the primary building material was the yellow, locally available Jaisalmer sandstone. The main innovation is in the shikhar of the temple which is supported by solid dressed stone masonry. Rather than a solid block, the individual components of the shikhar of the temple are offset from each other using interlocking stone blocks with epoxy binder.

© SpaceMatters

© SpaceMatters

© SpaceMatters

© SpaceMatters

The massive stone masonry walls designed to hold the stone shikhar had to be placed precisely in place to balance the various requirements. Heaviness of stone was to be balanced with lightness. And it was done through introduction of light. The interlocking stone joinery is employed to let light into the inner sanctum or the garbhagriha of the temple during the day and let light out during the night, transforming the temple from day to night.

© SpaceMatters

© SpaceMatters

© SpaceMatters

© SpaceMatters

At different times of the day, from different directions, the temple is heavy and light, solid and translucent, valid and void, past and present. Credits:- SpaceMatters – Amritha Ballal- SpaceMatters – Suditya Sinha.

Temple in Stone and Light Gallery

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