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This Cafe Hopes to Revive the Culture of Nashik

Updated: May 16, 2020

The Dockyard Cafe by Spandan Design Studio

The project, sited in one of the urban localities of Nashik, is meant to serve as a café. The idea was to reconnect and revive the city’s culture into the setting.

Since the team at Spandan Design Studio is always up for experiments, they knew this project was another opportunity to up-cycle an unexpected material in amalgamation with the cultural richness that is embedded in the city. Use of shipping containers definitely saved construction time, money and most importantly did not increase any carbon footprint. This was a modest attempt to create something extravagant that contrasts the otherwise concrete density that is in the surrounding and to give the culture a face-lift.

Picture courtesy: Spandan Design Studio

To make this project one of its kind, the shipping containers, being an interesting architectural element to build quickly, were reclaimed. This saved the architects the construction time, allowing them to evaluate over the stationing and modulation of the containers.

The four containers are so deliberately arranged around a central square to maximize opportunities for encounters and interactions. This typology is a fine example of ‘ Wadas ’ with narrow shaded streets and public courtyards. Since the project tries to explore the idea of chit chat, the space tries to visually connect to people. The containers have strategic cut outs framing views both for those peering inside as well as for those passing along the street side, thereby exploring the ‘peep in’ idea.

Picture courtesy: Spandan Design Studio

The project adapts and applies concepts of socio-cultural behavior. The grassy suspended walkways allow users to take a stroll within the site. The design features re used door/window frames from older quarters of the city.

The juxtaposition of containers created different frames and transformation of spaces. Depending upon the site conditions and social conventions, the containers are so arranged that they form a square courtyard in the center. A linear flowing water channel cuts through the center of the site that runs in east west direction, same as the direction of river Godavari in Nasik, dividing the site into two. The channel leads to a walled courtyard. Tucked at the end of the site, a patterned brick wall fans out in the center giving it an ornamental character. This particular setting renders the traditional phenomena of a shrine. One of the horizontally placed containers on the upper floor has deliberated a view frame. This particular one can be transformed into an event space as it is seen throughout the interior. The courtyard and the jutting out balconies eliminate the boundary between inside and out.

Picture courtesy: Spandan Design Studio

The white painted containers provided a blank canvas to showcase the art. The large paintings on display have been structured to suit the venue. In a rational order, visitors come to a painting of an Indian lady to recall a welcoming gesture. The iconic figures of Charlie Chaplin in

his witticism and Salvador Dali in his versatility add so much drama that every element in the frame appears alive and conscious. These vintages steal their time, garnering attention through surrealistic aesthetic. The setting for this art is rather a plain serene white backdrop to compliment the colours of the paintings, the flooring and that of the vibrant furniture.

Picture courtesy: Spandan Design Studio

One of the many design elements in this project, the installation of two spiral staircases have added up a great value through dramatic flare. The circular movement as you climb or descend gives a glimpse of the entire site. Though it’s not a traditional element that we see but it uses

up a smaller footprint and serves no less than a sculptural object. The roadside elevation is hugely covered by the existing trees. Keeping them undisturbed, external interventions are set to a minimum. The façade features a distinct balcony that juts out overlooking a small piece of garden, providing a rather intimate view to and from the road. Aiming to appeal to the visitors, the entrance to the café is an offset configuration of a brick wall which is intended to direct the

north. With the help of 3d modelling, the studio shows how a simple construction material like the brick can be assembled in so many unique ways.

The roof has a grid of coloured polycarbonate sheets that lets coloured light stream through the canopy to make the space more playful. Floor to ceiling, plain curtains shelter the voids.

A lot of thought has gone to translate the advantage of day lighting through fenestrations and perforations. In addition to a light filled café, the studio also promotes natural ventilation into the design. By building vertical shafts to the existing container, with the same material as that of the container, the team has tried to achieve passive cooling technique through sophisticated detailing.

Project: The Dockyard Cafe Location: Nashik, Maharashtra, Firm: Spandan Design Studio

Website: Principal Architect: Ar. Suraj Pawar Project Architect: Ar. Abhishek Datar Photography: Ar. Suraj Pawar


Structural Engineer - Shailesh Patil

Project Management - Abhishek Malode

Contractor: Sharad Patil

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