Reading Centre, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad 1975
Like the other buildings designed for Gujarat University in the 1970s, the Reading Centre had but a single briefing requirement: in this case, to provide a place for students to study. The Reading Centre was an addition to the Gujarat University Library, designed by B.V. Doshi. Patel responded by keeping the Reading Centre low. Although it is a two-storey building, the lower level is set a half storey into the ground and the upper third of the facade is sloped steeply backwards. The facade curves elegantly around the building’s corners, suspended, low and crisp. From the main road, it hovers in the foreground, but it is the profile of Doshi’s library and its entrance stairs which remain prominent. The entrance to the Reading Centre is not actually visible from the main road. Once inside, the simplicity of the diagram is revealed. Three sides of the interior open onto a courtyard. The fourth side contains a staircase. The atmosphere is one of monastic contemplation. It is true that the Reading Centre, like the rest of Patel’s other seven buildings for Gujarat University, badly needs maintenance. While some work subsequently appears to have taken place, it would be a shame if this building were to be lost. It is not only a valuable facility for the city’s students, but is one of the most exciting and unusual buildings of 1970s’ Ahmedabad.