Creating a sustainable building was a fusion of old-school building techniques and modern technology in the design for the Pearl Academy of Fashion. Designed by Morphogenesis, an architecture firm based in New Delhi and Pune, the academy is extremely energy efficient thanks to its use of cooling methods traditionally found in buildings in the hot-dry desert climate of Rajasthan. Situated in Jaipur, India, the finished structure is a sight to behold and looks like an incredible place to go to school.
Morphogenesis was able to develop two passive-cooling control methods to keep the work spaces and courtyards cool at 27 degrees Celsius even when it is 47 degrees Celsius outside. First, the entire building is elevated off the ground, sucking air in around the edges of the building which is eventually released up through the open-air courtyards. A large stepped well in the center of the building also plays a role in lowering the temperature of the air as it enters under the belly of the building. Fed by recycled water from the on-site sewage treatment plant, the well creates creates a cooler microclimate through evaporation.
The second control method is the use of a traditional Rajasthani architectural motif called the ‘jaali’ (or jali), which is a stone screen. In this particular building, the screen is used as a thermal skin between the building and the surroundings. A 4-foot gap between the screen and outdoor wall of the classrooms reduces direct heat gain. Drip channels on the inside of the screen also provide more evaporative cooling. The traditional building technique was modernized as computer models were used to determine the optimum density of screen pattern to provide the most cooling.
The Pearl Academy of Fashion also incorporates local stone and mosaic tiles in the construction of the building. The inner, amorphous-shaped courtyards provide ample daylight to classrooms and studio space, reducing the need for artificial light. And all rainwater and wastewater is recycled for on-site use in the building’s very own waste water treatment plant.