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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Castro Cafe in JMI University, New Delhi by Romi Khosla Design Studios

December 22nd, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Romi Khosla Design Studios

A Cafeteria in a University Campus located near Auditorium, Cultural Center, Mass communication, was expected to become hub of all social activities of the Campus. Due to the extreme climatic conditions of New Delhi, where the summer sees temperatures of above 45 degrees centigrade, and the winters often see temperatures below 5 degree centigrade.

Image Courtesy Saurabh Pandey

  • Architects: Romi Khosla Design Studios
  • Project: Castro Cafe
  • Location: JMI University, New Delhi
  • Area: Total Designed: 890  Sqm, Covered Seating: 290 Sqm, Kitchen: 71 Sqm
  • Client Name: Jamia Milia Islamia University, New Delhi
  • Chief Architects: Romi Khosla, Martand Khosla

Image Courtesy Saurabh Pandey

  • Design Team: Maulik Bansal, Praveen Rajputh
  • Photographer: Saurabh Pandey
  • Date of Construction: Dec 2005 – July2007
  • Electrical Consultant: WBG Consulting Engineers
  • Structural Consultant: Chordia Techno Consultants
  • Plumbing Consultants: Kumar Endecon Pvt. Ltd.
  • Contractor: Zumair Khan, New Delhi


Image Courtesy Saurabh Pandey


  • Walls: Kitchen, Marble Cladding over kitchen walls comes in handy for this kind of busiest place.
  • Eating Area: Waste off cuts of marble stacked on its side, elevated from the floor on a steel I – section
  • Floor: Kota stone is the hardest locally available stone. Its slabs have been used for flooring, skirting, dado, risers of steps etc. keeping in view the high expected usability of the building.
  • Roof: Coated galvanized iron sheets lay over steel framework
  • Ceiling: Perforated aluminum sheet has been used as a ceiling so as to reduce noise levels within the canteen. Lights have been concealed in this ceiling to achieve a clean soffit.
  • Furniture: Benches: Precast RCC, with Sheesham wood tops.
  • Tables: RCC with granite top.
  • Structure: Kitchen: RCC and Brick, Eating Area: Steel


Image Courtesy Saurabh Pandey

Most student canteens in India are not air-conditioned, and are often poorly ventilated, making them very hot and oppressive in the summer and very cold in the winters. This canteen was proposed as a ‘Semi open air Café’.   This allowed to have an ambient temperature for most of the year along with good ventilation, and a variety of degrees of shade from the climate. The design is truly unique and contemporary and we feel, will herald a new age of Architecture for the University.


Image Courtesy Saurabh Pandey


The building block has a kitchen block to the east, which is a fully enclosed space to cook and serve in.  As One walks along the length of the building westwards, initially the eating enclosure is defined by two walls and a roof, further still the sense of interior is defined by one wall and the roof, further still the space is articulated by only one wall, and yet further still, there is only the floor, and then that too stops continuing.


Image Courtesy Saurabh Pandey

Throughout this changing sense of interior and exterior, the eating surface and the seating surfaces continue, almost acting like stitches that tie this entire space together. The idea was to try and blur the boundaries between inside and outside, where these undefined boundaries act as a negotiator between the user and the climate of Delhi.


Image Courtesy Saurabh Pandey

All the elements of the building are defined distinctly and independent from each other.  The walls don’t touch the floor and the roof does not touch the walls. This was the first steel building built at the university campus.

Image Courtesy Saurabh Pandey


Image Courtesy Saurabh Pandey

Site Plan

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Category: Cafeteria

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