A Model of the Cosmos… this was what Architecture, since the beginning of time, has sought to represent. Is it possible to express our own contemporary notions of what the Universe is about? The inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, located on the campus of Pune University, at such an attempt. The site consists of three contiguous pieces of land, with two campus roads passing between them.

One arrives down a road between two swerving black walls of local basalt stone, surmounted by courses of a deeper black Kuddapah stone, topped finally by a glossy black polished granite (which reflects the sky and clouds above) Black on black on black: the visual structure of Outer Space. These black walls draw one into the entrance, between two columns of exposed concrete with de-materialise at the top into a soft blue.

Ahead and to the right, lies the kund – here transformed into a metaphor for our Expanding Universe. The stones along the edges fly apart with centrifugal energy, setting up the diagonals that connect to the other facilities in the center of the campus: the Computer Centre to the Northwest, the Hostel to the southeast and to the Visiting Faculty Housing that lies beyond.

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