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Grid shells crown MOFA Studio’s undulating water sports centre in Goa

Grid shells crown MOFA Studio’s undulating water sports centre in Goa

The Fluid MOFA Studio design for the National Institute of Water Sport

The National Institute for Water Sport (NIWS) in Goadesigned by MOFA Studio, represents a fusion of intuitive and parametric design processes, creating an architectural language that is both globally relevant and locally rooted. Recognizing Goa’s dependence on the sea for economic growth, the government established NIWS, the largest water sports institute in Southeast Asia. This initiative aims to formalize and promote the training and development of marine tourism and adventure sports in the region. The design for NIWS was selected through an international competition, reflecting a bold, iconic statement that puts Goa on the world map.

The design integrates the cultural and economic significance of water sports into the educational framework, and provides state-of-the-art training for local lifeguards and tour operators. The use of local materials on the ground floor in combination with a floating roof creates a balance between local ethos and a global architectural approach.

The functional brief is divided into different zoning areas: institutional, administrative, residential and recreational. The spaces between these zones are fluid and continuous, which promotes informal interactions between different campus users. This design approach connects the architecture to the broader context, merging the energy of adventure water sports with the educational environment.

Grid shell with trapezoidal panels atop MOFA studios undulating water sports centre in Goa
all images by Vinay Panjwani

Sea-inspired architecture with advanced digital fabrication

The architecture of NIWS by MOFA Studio is inspired by the dynamic nature of the sea, with forms erupting, rising and folding in a series of trochoidal waves. This creates a sense of constant movement and shifting perspectives within the structure. The design blurs the boundaries between elements, with walls, floor slabs and roofs entering into a fluid dialogue influenced by the interplay of light and shadow.

Designed within tight government budgets, the complex uses digital fabrication techniques for its mega roof structure. Resembling a free-flowing wave, the roof spans 4,000 m² and is constructed using a lightweight grid structure with trapezoidal panels. Comprising over 15,000 pipes and over 5,000 custom roof panels, the structure is assembled like a jigsaw puzzle, ensuring efficient water flow through continuous gutters. This innovative approach makes it one of the most complex digitally fabricated roofs in India.

Grid shell with trapezoidal panels atop MOFA studios undulating water sports centre in Goa
The National Institute of Water Sports creates an architectural language that is both globally relevant and locally rooted

Grid shell with trapezoidal panels atop MOFA studios undulating water sports centre in Goa
NIWS is the largest water sports institute in Southeast Asia

Grid shell with trapezoidal panels atop MOFA studios undulating water sports centre in Goa
Local materials on the ground floor and a floating roof create a balance between local and global architecture

Grid shell with trapezoidal panels atop MOFA studios undulating water sports centre in Goa
The plan is divided into destination areas: institutional, administrative, residential and recreational