The great universities of the world are wonderful places. They provide all the advantages of normality within an urban structure that is a special and memorable place. As part of a town, they avoid becoming hermetic and institutional and instead enjoy a reciprocity of influence between what they need to be and the place and context in which they find themselves.

They work best as places to study in when they are a part of a normal urban fabric - where day to day things happen, where interactions are serendipitous and where the pattern of uses are complex. Their whole is greater than the sum of their parts.

Our proposal seeks to make the University of Nalanda both practical and memorable. Practical because the buildings are simply constructed, straightforward in their planning and flexible in their use. And memorable not because the buildings are iconic architectural statements, but because the spaces between them are interesting, rewarding and legible.

This network of spaces will reflect the plan of a town.

A comfortable series of interlinked spaces will provide an urban pattern with a relaxed permeability and a clear hierarchy. A series of pedestrian routes will link every building and lead to directly to a primary street in which the major university activities are located. At one end is the library, the food court, the campus inn, the international centre, the administrative building and the faculty of historical studies, at the other, the museum and auditorium and a temple.

This is a plan that will have seemingly grown organically and yet it is a plan that is quite deliberate. Its central spine is a busy pedestrian street - its east-west alignment running parallel to the more distant topography of the escarpment to the north. This dramatic landscape becomes a constant reference as it is seen as the backdrop to all of the routes that link the residential and the teaching spaces which run perpendicular to the main street.

The landscape, the informal plan, the natural hierarchy, and the pattern of simply-planned buildings are the elements of a composition that, on the one hand, is inherently flexible and easy to make, but, on the other, has a clear urban pattern and a unique identity.

The plan for the new University will produce a place that facilitates efficient study and research and manages to achieve that within a calm series of spaces that are ordinary when required to be but which together are extraordinarily memorable.