Architect: Sarbjit Singh Bahga, Chandigarh

Punjab is an agrarian state with wheat and paddy its main crops. Over the last one decade the state is facing problem of plenty with respect to these crops. The Union Government is laying stress on diversification from wheat and paddy to other crops because of huge buffer stock in the central pool. The State government has taken a policy decision to cut substantial area under wheat and paddy. The area spared from these crops is being diverted to horticulture besides other crops like gram, barley and oilseeds. Area under horticulture in the state currently is only 2 per cent of the total cropped area which can go up to 10 percent of the total. With this target in mind the government has established five Citrus Estates in the State. Apart from the diversification programme, these Estates are aimed at to increase the production of citrus fruits (Kinnows particularly) and to improve the quality of the crop.

Each Estate will cater to the need of 20 kms area around each. The Estates have been set up in the citrus growing area of Hoshiarpur, Hariana, Abohar, Badal and Tahliwal Jattan. These Estates will have scientific centres, disease diagnostic and preventive centres, knowledge dissemination centres, citrus nurseries and other facilities. The Estates will have imported farm implements like orange pickers, pruning saw and ladders.

Out of these five Estates, buildings for four Estates have been constructed at Hoshiarpur, Abohar, Badal and Tahliwal Jattan. Type design has been evolved and adopted at all these places. Buildings at Abhoar and Badal have three stories while at other two places these are two storied high. Each building accommodates offices, entrance/exhibition hall, conference hall for 100 persons, stores and toilets at ground floor and various laboratories and some offices at first floor. On the second floor at Abohar there are regional offices of Horticulture Department and some residential suites at Badal.

Since these buildings were to be located in remote, rural areas, the design has been kept as simple as possible with minimal elements for easy construction and subsequent maintenance. The building is designed on the grid-iron-pattern with RCC frame structure having columns at spacing of 5 metres on both the axes, except for multipurpose hall where the spacing has been kept 5m x8m.

All the service ducts have been placed on the periphery which not only serve their intended purpose but also act as cavity walls ensuring cool interiors in hot summers. Fenestrations are designed in conjunction with these ducts and have been kept deep recessed with horizontal projections at top. Uniformity of the ducts and fenestrations lend a strong and modernist visual character to the building. The design of the building affords adequate natural light and ventilation in all parts of the interiors making it less dependent on artificial energy.

Externally the building is finished in Spectrum paint. All the doors and windows are in aluminium and flooring is in vitrified tiles. The design and outlook of the building is in consonance with the latest trends in architecture. It proves architect’s endeavour to move with time and to bring modern architecture to remote rural settings.