Text description provided by the architects. The design brief for Rice Office was to create an “unoffice” like atmosphere that is tranquil, inspiring and iconic. The two-level office was conceived as a central white floating object holding meeting spaces which would be fed by the peripheral work areas on the ground and mezzanine floors.
The two areas are separated by a double height corridor that wraps around the object. Above a bridge creates the connection between center and periphery on either side of the box.
The initial requirement was to double the real estate by creating a mezzanine floor throughout. We ultimately convinced the client to be more strategic and apply this only to the work areas while keeping the common areas taller and giving them a unique monumentality.
The materiality of the spaces emphasize differentiation of four entities. The opaque white jaali of the central object floating on a pebbled bed is intentionally contrasted with the continuous texture of the travertine floors, the lightness of the glass side walls and the infinite black ceiling.
The entrance to the space is formalised by a portal of wood and stone. The front lobby is a large expanse of travertine on which the jaali box floats. The travertine floor also wraps around the object into the corridors areas to create continuity.
Tall cylindrical lights hang from the invisible ceiling to cast a dimmed effect. The travertine floor spills into the waiting lounge below to the right. Natural light from the windows above create a blue hue and tints the glass differently.
Being a skin application, there are two sides to the central walls - the outer jaali face and the inner wood of the board room.
The jaali skin peels off to reveal the wood and the double height board room inside through large windows/niches that are uplit for future displays.
With intense supervision by SALT, the project, which involved contractors brought in from various parts of the country, was completed in a period of eight months.