Re-imagining the relationship between the State and its People
Architecture + Design|December 2020
Project: Krushi Bhawan, Bhubaneshwar.Architects: Studio Lotus, New Delhi
Ar. Sidhartha Talwar

Located in Bhubaneshwar, the state capital of Odisha, Krushi Bhawan is a facility developed for Government of Odisha’s Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment. The 1,30,000 sq ft administrative centre has been designed as an office for a team of nearly 600 people, in addition to accommodating spaces for community engagement and learning. Home to multiple agrarian communities, the state is the third largest contributor to India’s grain supply. The new campus sits adjacent to the old ministry office with several ancillary structures of power in the vicinity, such as the Police Commissionerate Building and the State Guest House.

The Programme & Planning Principles

Krushi Bhawan was originally planned as a purely administrative space. The architecture firm then took a cue from Königsberger’s original vision for Bhubaneswar, in which he envisioned the Capitol Complex with a host of government offices becoming “a lively point of public life”. Thus, the architects’ suggestion to include public functions and community spaces to create a building that would add to the city’s social infrastructure was willingly embraced by the client. This attempt to include the building in the public domain has been achieved by designing the ground floor as a free-flowing public space that opens out into a plaza, which is an extension of the street. Congruent to the project objective, the ground floor comprises of a learning centre, a gallery, an auditorium, a library and training rooms. Similarly, the roof top has been designed to house urban farming exhibits and demonstrations of agricultural practices.

The offices for the State Department and Directorates—which require restricted access— have been placed on the first, second and third floors. This allows the offices to be secured off, making it possible to keep most of the other facilities open to public, even on holidays. Through exhibitions, workshops, haats (weekly markets), lectures and school visits, these public spaces become a hub for imparting skills and sharing knowledge that engage diverse sections of the city’s population.

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