A mountain-like residential development has risen in Pune — India’s eighth largest city and one of the fastest-growing cities in the country — and brought with it 1,068 apartments to house approximately 5,000 people in a single building. Completed as MVRDV’s first project in India, the Future Towers bucks the local standard for cookie-cutter freestanding buildings in favor of a singular mountainous structure with peaks and valleys. The mixture of unit types is meant to encourage interaction among the diverse residents who come from different backgrounds and income levels while keeping housing prices competitively low.
Created as part of Amanora Park Town on the outskirts of Pune, Future Towers consists of apartments that range from 45 square meters to 450 square meters. Despite its striking mountain-like appearance, the design of the enormous building was mainly informed by research into Indian housing standards and cultural expectations. For instance, the building floor plans incorporate the principles of Vastu Shastra, a traditional system of architecture that has been likened to Feng Shui. The natural ventilation system that helps extract air from kitchens and aids in natural cooling found in typical housing developments has also been used in Future Towers.
“In Asia, cities are growing so fast, and uniform repetitive residential towers are the norm,” said Jacob van Rijs, principal and co-founder of MVRDV. “With our design, we are making an effort to offer more variety and bring people from more different backgrounds together. In the original master plan, 16 separate towers were planned, all of which would have more or less the same type of apartments. The MVRDV team thoroughly researched modern Indian housing and came up with a system to create a mix of different types of apartment inside one building. This project will attract residents with a variety of incomes, something that will benefit the diversity of Amanora Park Town. Thanks to the client’s willingness to try something new, the efficiency needed for mass housing has been achieved without cutting back on residents’ comfort.”
Since construction costs are low in India, but elevators are comparatively expensive, Future Towers comprises just four circulation cores around which the nine wings — each ranging from 17 to 30 stories — are clustered. Large social spaces, known as ‘scoops,’ are scattered throughout the building and are designed for different activities or purposes, such as mini golf or child care. Each one is brightly painted to create a sense of a “neighborhood identity” in different parts of the building. Outdoor courtyards accessed via four-story-tall triangular gates provide additional gathering space.
Photography by © Ossip van Duivenbode via MVRDV