Balaji Temple (Temple of Steps), at Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh, India, by Sameep Padora & Associates

Best New Public Building: Balaji Temple at Andhra Pradesh by Sameep Padora & Associates wins Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021

The brief was to design a temple for the residents of villages around Nandyal. In the dry terrain of Nandyal, the main concern was to provide a space which would marry the socio-cultural expectations of a temple with the ecological framework and dynamics of and around the site. The immediate context of Cotton and chilly farms in the region were fed by a natural canal system which had dried up.   - Sameep Padora & Associates
Balaji Temple (Temple of Steps), at Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh, India, by Sameep Padora & Associates

Best New Public Building: Balaji Temple at Andhra Pradesh by Sameep Padora & Associates wins Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021 1

The brief was to design a temple for the residents of villages around Nandyal. In the dry terrain of Nandyal, the main concern was to provide a space which would marry the socio-cultural expectations of a temple with the ecological framework and dynamics of and around the site. The immediate context of Cotton and chilly farms in the region were fed by a natural canal system which had dried up.

Best New Public Building: Balaji Temple at Andhra Pradesh by Sameep Padora & Associates wins Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021 3

The ecological strategy for the temple, thus began with recharging of groundwater. Water overflow from the limestone quarries was led to a low-lying recharge pit or ‘kund’: the banks of which was imagined as a social space, in the manner of a traditional ghat ; a flight of steps leading down to a waterbody.This negotiation of land and water with steps is a significant part of India’s architectural heritage as is seen in the kunds(watertanks) within temple precincts. The water infrastructure is able to harvest rough 1370000 litres of water.

Best New Public Building: Balaji Temple at Andhra Pradesh by Sameep Padora & Associates wins Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021 5

The planning of the temple itself was based on a 10th century temple for the same deity at Tirupati in Southern India and similarly includes the Balaji & Varahaswamy shrines and a Pushkarini (water tank).

Best New Public Building: Balaji Temple at Andhra Pradesh by Sameep Padora & Associates wins Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021 7

The construction process uses locally available black limestone slabs corbelled to form the main body of the temple. The same corbelled profile also incorporates soil and planting in the lower half of the temple body to buffer against the heat and finally this stone corbelling turns into  a ghat i.e the steps that access the water.

Best New Public Building: Balaji Temple at Andhra Pradesh by Sameep Padora & Associates wins Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021 9

Best New Public Building: Balaji Temple at Andhra Pradesh by Sameep Padora & Associates wins Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021 11

Best New Public Building: Balaji Temple at Andhra Pradesh by Sameep Padora & Associates wins Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021 13

Best New Public Building: Balaji Temple at Andhra Pradesh by Sameep Padora & Associates wins Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021 15

Best New Public Building: Balaji Temple at Andhra Pradesh by Sameep Padora & Associates wins Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021 17

Best New Public Building: Balaji Temple at Andhra Pradesh by Sameep Padora & Associates wins Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021 19

Best New Public Building: Balaji Temple at Andhra Pradesh by Sameep Padora & Associates wins Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021 21

Best New Public Building: Balaji Temple at Andhra Pradesh by Sameep Padora & Associates wins Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021 23

Sketches – 

Drawings –

 

Project Facts –

Name: Balaji Temple (Temple of Steps)

Client: Anushree Jindal, JSW Cement

Location: Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Area: 2.5 acres

Architects: Sameep Padora & Associates

Design Team: Sanjana Purohit, Vami Sheth, Aparna Dhareshwar, Kunal Sharma

Material: Limestone

Photographs: Edmund Sumner

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