Updated: Jul 21, 2020
Project: Vijay Café
Architects: Shanmugam Associates
Project location: Peramangalam, Trichy, Tamil Nadu
Area: 1330 sqft
Principal designers Shanmugam A, Raja Krishnan D, Santhosh Shanmugam
Design Team: Balasubramaniam, Manikandan, Manoj Kumar, Chandrasekar
Photo Credits: LINK Studio, Bangalore
Structural Design: Balasubramaniam, Shanmugam Associates
Engineering: Hitec Construction, Trichy
Vijay Dairy sits on the state highway 62 that connects Trichy, a tier-II city to northern parts of Tamil Nadu, India. The client initially suggested designing a marketing hoarding to give visibility for the existing factory that processes 125,000 LPD of milk
1. Another business proposition, that was ideated over a casual conversation with the architect, was to have a drive-in café at the factory entry using existing labor & dairy products. This was because the capital costs worked out nearly the same for both the cafe and hoarding. Further, it made more sense to taste and know about Vijay’s multiple food products, than have a huge hoarding speak about what they do.
The two huge tamarind trees (Tamarindus indica) located abutting the highway were the key elements to start with the design exercise. The form of the café derives from the proximity to both these trees to ensure that there is sufficient shade as well as lush landscaping that a weary traveller sipping either hot filter kapi or chilled buttermilk can capitalize on.
Vijay café’s visibility needed to be a key factor to draw customers driving by to stop for a break. In order to achieve this, material and color were to be planned succinctly to draw attention on the building sitting on the highway.
The curved profile with a glazed cut out on the entry wall was designed such that the customer could visually see and buy products on the go. Taking to the earthy context that the site is located on and drawing attention to the cafe, exposed brick work and cuddapah louvers were used on the external wall fascia.
The space has been planned in such a way the customer can either drive in, shop or dine. The three programs of the building - counter, restaurant and kitchen, are distinctly split using different materials and color. The 25-seats capacity restaurant is placed in the centre with vegetation on either side, the kitchen forms the rear end and the counter/ billing covers the front end.
Further adding to the design elements, is the contemporary sloped roof and modern grey colour terracotta tile. Taking consideration of the tropical heat, a reusable sloped roof with huge overhangs was designed to contain all the programs within and dissipate heat. Apart from the existing 16-seater outdoor dining area, there is adequate spillover space on either side of the restaurant that could extend to be a garden type seating in the future with natural canopy.
The project culminated as a marketing exercise to propagate the plethora of F&B products that Vijay as a brand specializes in. The key characteristics of this cafe are the use of earthy building material, sufficient car parking, drive-in facilities, clean restrooms and fresh produce from the factory. Vijay café presently serves as a 24- hr regular pitstop for anyone driving down this state highway, a hang out space to the students from nearby colleges and a factory outlet that caters to the local community.