“Arriving in 2 minutes” Google maps read out loud. I was too pre-occupied anyway to have heard that. As for in my head, there was a slide show of all the Instagram pictures I had seen from the cept1 page, its official Facebook page, and to my annoyance, the pictures that my friends who had been there had posted.
The GPS although hit the wrong target, as my, 45 year old companion had already started off with how his life is going to be having to sent his daughter to an other part of the country, yep, that’s me.
His continuous ramble as to how I might suffer in a new state, what with all the new culture, language, people and umm, life, was going for a bouncer, yeah I mean, above my head. And why was that? CEPT was two minutes away.
In order to fill you readers up on some basics, I am an architecture student to-be, from a pretty small sized CBSE school from down south, Chennai. To an 18 year old from a perfectly proud Tamil conservative Brahmin family, but with a perseverant aspiration to do something considerable in a creative field, architecture is definitely the chosen career I guess.
But surprisingly, I have fed my curiosity about this course considerably well, browsing through almost all the architectural schools online, and stalking students of such schools to an impossible extent, which later on became a part of my daily routine.
Now as the filling in has been done, so have my two minutes.
I’m right outside the university. The bright red brick walls and the contrasting greys are literally calling out to me as I stand outside the university waiting for my father to take a picture of me along with the sign board that reads, yeah you guessed it right, CEPT!
I will try to not let my intense state of excitement not be a part of my description, as I introduce this architecture marvel to you. (oops, did it already)
The campus of CEPT is completely designed by the Architect, BV Doshi who was the conventional architect of the city then and now. Shades of brick red and pale concrete fill the campus with the seamless intrusions of various greens that blend, and create a natural ambience for education. These intrusions are carefully composed so as to form a part of the campus, and are integrated with the functions of the spaces designed.
The campus contains about 6 departments in total, including the school of arts and interior design. And the built forms of the campus are laid out radially, placed around the central ground. The faculty of architecture is the first building that one might see as one enters the campus, as they cross the north lawns. There is an entrance in between the north lawns and the FA (faculty of architecture) building, which is the ideal one as it offers a visual treat to see the two seamlessly coexist beside each other. If you happen to visit the school during the working hours, you might even see the students using the lawns for their little discussions, and to stimulate their creative juices.
There are a few parts of the campus that will linger on in ones mind, and captures the eyes of a visitor. Each of these places are significant for its own reason, like
the north lawns, artificial mounds, a few, with a skin of soft grass, is a multifunctional space that is a part of CEPT’s landscape. It features as a backdrop for all of CEPT’s events while it still holds an important role as one of CEPT’s active zones, with students sitting alone, in pairs or in groups, dwelling in their thought, ideas and more.
the canteen, an octagonal building, which is not so much a building as is a shelter of sloped roof supported by brick columns with a counter. The canteen is obviously one of the most active hot spots of the campus, surrounded by tall trees that act as a shade for those using the steps below as seaters.
the Sagara basement, a low lying space that opens up to the north lawns that features an interesting view of the ground on one side and the lawns on the other. the difference in level of this space adds to the interest of the user acting as a cosy comfortable student friendly space where most of CEPT events are hosted.
the grounds, centre of the campus, activity hub that facilitates various activities during different times of the day, week and semester. the ground holds good for all festivals and cultural events hosted by cept and in cept. You can also see a few students playing football and other leisure sports during lazy summer afternoons occasionally. Facing the ground and bordering it are many unique seaters designed and worked on by the students themselves. artistic expressions, dynamic installations and several other works of creative minds bound the grounds leaving the beholder dumbstruck.
Well, if not for others, it certainly would for an aspiring architecture student like me.
As I entered the sagara basement and walked across, I could see a few students in their sarees working on a phool-rangoli and several others on a suspended lamp.
The way they worked for a simple half day celebration made me question their passion towards what they do and further more, left me intimidated about the kind of passion I had for the subject, or what I thought I had.
Moved upwards, climbed a few steps and stood there facing the ground with the canteen to my right, I could tell with the odour of Samosas and Coffee.
There was a tyre I remember that caught my eye, that hung from a tall tree with three people swinging, with a rather accelerating speed, holding onto their coffee cups.
My dad nudged me that it was time to go meet the faculty for applications, and I followed him towards the gate, rather slowly, still trying to take in as much as i can.
Who knows, if I ever might come back again, the dramatic side of me thought.
Of course, I was back again, right after I was done with my procedure. It was almost time for lunch, and the sun was shining right above our heads, but no my father had to wait. I needed to spend some more time here, explore the campus as much as possible and its not like I had a problem finding my way, I had the campus map by heart anyway.
I initially spent most of my time trying to figure out the paintings murals and installations, which were in vain. I captured them in my mobile and moved on to capture more through the campus.
The entire campus was based on so many levels, which made moving through the space interesting. And the way they had integrated all their community spaces, studios and study spaces, showed how the value and intensity of the design.
B.V Doshi was the man, I began to think.
There was a particular interesting part of the Faculty of Architecture that inspires many even now, the perspective stairs. I climbed down the stairs and to the basement again but this now was a very different experience owing to the play of its perspective. The way the light moves inside the building and the semi open areas made the entire structure as dynamic and soulful as possible.
Inspiration was all it was to every student that aspired to study there, and architecture in general as well.
I moved around the places, taking pictures with every brick, I need to remember these moments, I exclaimed to my impatient company.
But I knew, I needed none to remember this experience.
I experienced a two year old dream.