The structure is an attempt to revive vernacular sustainable construction techniques in a contemporary setting. The building design evolved even during construction. We constantly made observations and course corrected the design to reflect the environment around it.
The construction technology is an attempt to replace concrete, and to reintroduce age old brick building techniques in a practical, sizable and economic context. The structure eliminates the use of concrete columns, beams and slabs and replaces them with brick piers, arches and funicular shells (shallow domes). Scalability is achieved through modular planning for reuse of formwork and economy of scale.
Initial Design Partner – Rajlaxmi Teli
Structural Engineer – Mr. Himanshu Tulpule
The Building is located adjacent to the company’s manufacturing units – also designed by our practice.
The site strata was hard basalt rock that split the site into two distinct levels. This level difference divides the building – only to be reconnected by the staircase. Between the two sections of the building runs a continuous open landscaped court. The building connects to the existing manufacturing units by means of overhead bridges.
The construction process was in response to the construction workers and the site. The modular FRP formwork was developed for easy handling with built-in guides. The involvement and training of masons from the initial phase created a system that was simple but created precise results.
The most intriguing aspect – the shells, are built with decorative brick patterns to create interesting shadows.
All services are integrated between these shells and the flooring above.
The open planning of the building and the large openings create airy interiors. Structural tie bands act as solar shades, the large brick piers are outset to recess the windows. The windows though large, remain shaded.
As the building is split in two, the continuous court between the split brings the landscape to the interior of the building. The open passage of the court also ventilates and lights the inside of the building. Though it is cut perpendicularly by a glazed staircase, the glazing around the staircase is staggered to allow unaltered wind flow through the woven panes of glass.
Above the tie band of the arch, planters run all along the perimeter of the building at every level. The large arched openings are protected by growing creepers and curtains of various flowering, dense, or shade tolerant plants depending on the solar access available on each face. These plants form the fenestration interface, they shade from the sun and cool the wind blowing through, acting as desert coolers.
Every detail, like the suspended light, the staircase chandelier, and the roof vents are all locally fabricated to reduce costs. The suspended luminaires used in the building cost one fifth the cost of a 2×2 fitting available in the market. The local fabrication has not only reduced costs but has also created more personalised and relevant details.
This building is a collection of many such small details put together in a context. The essence of it is in the collective experience of them all.