Ar. Sarbani Ghosh believes that Architecture teaches her something new everyday and helps her reinvent herself in every project. Her mantra is “to be a student of the profession that she loves”.
Ar. Sarbani Ghosh graduated from Sir. J. J. College of Architecture, Mumbai. After training under several renowned architects like Raja Aederi and N.M. Barai, she joined Ar. Pheroze Kudianawala in 1996. She was mentored by Pheroze and John Kudianawala personally and became a Design Director with them in the same year. She headed the Interior Design Department of Pheroze Kudianawala Architects from 1997 to 2001. During her stint there, she designed, executed and did project management for several mega-scale commercial buildings and interiors from conception to completion during this tenure. Ghosh started her independent practice in 2001. Since then, she has completed varied Architectural and Interior Projects across the length and breadth of India. She has also done project management for several prestigious projects for other eminent Architects and Builders.
Besides practicing Architecture, Sarbani is also an educationist. Her love for teaching has kept her occupied as visiting professor in most of the premier Colleges of Architecture and Interior Design Colleges in Mumbai since 2003. Her love for the profession has indeed transpired into sharing her vast practical experience with students to nurture them into successful professionals.
Following is a narrative on Als Fitness – A Gym Experience Par Excellence, as decoded by Architect Sarbani Ghosh for Gallopper on a project recently completed by her.
This gymnasium design was deliciously challenging from the very beginning for three reasons. The space was extremely tight to fit in all the requirements, the budget was also tight and the time for completion was only forty-five days! This was my 13th gym project (13 is always lucky for me) so I was certain I could do full justice to it. The site was spread over 2 floors of a swanky commercial building in Bandra West.
The client’s vision is “Getting Fit Made Easy” and this is the philosophy that runs throughout the gym. In keeping with the client’s vision, several outdoor activities that one encounters in one’s daily lives have made may into the gym. Fitness seekers are always charged up doing such exercises. These exercises also make use of the hidden muscles in ones body and this gives a holistic approach to fitness as following this type of a regime is much easier than walking on a treadmill only. The FX studio is given a rustic workshop or garage look.
The Fitness Training Studio aims at breaking the monotony of boring cardio exercises and introduces innovative exercising with hammers, tyres, hanging and climbing equipment.
To start with, we broke down most of the existing facilities for paving the way towards achieving our goals. We followed the mantra of multi-activity spaces to accommodate all the requirements. Within 3000 square feet of space, we managed to create a cozy reception and juice-bar, the gym floor with cardio and free weights on one side of the reception and changing rooms, steam room, massage room, back office and fitness training studio on the other.
The upper floor was reserved for the multi-functional aerobic, spinning, circuit training classes, TRX and power yoga studio. An area has also been demarcated for merchandise sales. There is a small washroom and changing area on this floor as well so that this floor can function independently of the main gym floor below.
The two different changing areas house state-of-the-art steam cum shower cubicles in energizing fluorescent orange colour. Individual lockers for members have been provided inside the changing rooms. Televisions have made way inside the changing areas, in addition to them being in all other parts of the gym. High-end music systems have been installed in various rooms playing different music to suit the different activity carried out within each room. Like the massage room has soothing music playing to relax muscles and the FX studio plays loud volume pumped up music for motivating members to train.
The entire gym has comfortable air conditioning for encouraging members for a prolonged visit. There is general and ambient lighting provided on the gym floor in a funky manner and some exclusive light fittings have been used as highlighters to enhance the spaces. The “Monkey Lights” provided strategically in rigorous exercise areas act as a fun element!
The design of the transition spaces is also unique in this gym, as the slit pattern and fluorescent paint, tie up the various components of the gym to one wholesome experience. The play of materials, also form an interesting background against which certain elements are subtly highlighted.
The multiple activity group studio on the upper floor has a spring action aerobic flooring suited for jumping and dancing activities. Mirror balls and funky LED profiles are provided here in addition to ambient lighting to create a theme of radiance and energy. Hooks hang from the ceiling for power yoga and aerial activities. The DJ console table has all the light and sound controls of the floor and is made in attractive two coloured translucent acrylic which is backlit.
The reception and lift lobbies on both floors are given a similar look to create a brand identity. The signages too are prominent but not pompous and loud. Sensor lights are fitted in both reception areas for ease of operations. The gym floor reception also houses the well equipped juice bar where healthy snacks and juices are freshly prepared and served.
Designing this gym was a fulfilling creative experience for me and my team and I am positive that the members shall enjoy their time at this vibrant place full of interesting activities to achieve their fitness goals.
I would like to close this narrative with a quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
The lives of great men all remind us,
That we should make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.
My projects and my students are two types of footprints I would like to leave behind. That I believe would be the true essence of being an Architect when ones works and ones students shine on much after one is gone.