- Design Team:Stephane Paumier, Krishnachandra Balakrishnan, Reena Mahajan, Shashank Jain, Cibi, Priyanka Singh, Chinmay Kumar Mohanta.
Text description provided by the architects. The project aims at recreating the transparencies of the Adalaj stepwell and the terraces of the mythical hanging gardens of Babylone in a contemporary manner for an office building.
The footprint of the building consist of a snake like shape that creates four large courtyards giving subdued light to the offices, adapted to the harsh climate of Delhi. The new structure is a Single Basement + GF + 1 to + 6 storeys, increasing gradually towards the back of the building upto a height of 30m.
The structure is of exposed Reinforced Cement Concrete using large span mushroom column with clay brick lining underneath, offering open space offices with 12 ft high vaulted ceilings. The arched facades are overlooking enclosed garden and courtyards with different types of landscapes, from water bodies to desert and jungle, keeping the vistas protected from neighboring developments.
The project makes use extensively natural clay bricks for outside paving, walls and vaulted ceilings, giving the precint a warm charactere and a deep sense of craftmanship. The terraces are covered with hanging gardens to protect the structure from direct heat and provide with greens at all levels. The last floors are fitted with skylights to take full advantage of the natural light. The South East, South West and West facades will be equipped with terracotta louvers to modulate the light in the offices and lobby.
The innovative use of structural exposed concrete in the mushroom columns is combined with the vaulted brick ceilings. The mushoom shape of one column is meeting the next in continuity, creating a continuous labyrinth of arches and vaults troughout the project, creating a very pleasant work environment.
The use of exposed RCC and brick vaults as a visible structure
The design decision to use RCC with bricks and display the structure was taken at an early stage of design to achieve a sense of craft in a commercial building. The client, being a sourcing agency for garments, had a deep requirement that craft used in garment should be reflected in the making of his headquarters. Moving away from mundane skin deep appearance of corporate buildings, the project aims at an Indian contemporary aesthetic, blending traditional material like brick with a highly skilled exposed concrete repetitive structural frame work.
The repetitiveness of the structure allows efficient basement parking and modularity of the open space offices. The cores at corners provides strong earthquake resistance in lateral loads and ensure the vertical life line of the building with fire staircases, lifts, services and fire fighting system. The structural system consists of a regular 8MX 8M frame of RCC mushrooms columns. The regularly curved ceilings are touching each other at the key and create continuous vaulted ceilings. The thickness varies from 80 CM at the column to 20 CM at the key.
The space is clearly divided between strips of circulation, closed offices and meeting rooms fitted with false ceiling for hiding the air-conditioning ducts and open space offices of with exposed brick vaulted ceilings. The reception lobby has a double vaulted ceiling otherwise called “Bengali vault”. The building has also a minimum number of expansion joints between the 6 story block and the 4 story block. The 45 CM X 45 CM columns and vaulted edge beam are expressed on the façade as structural elements. The entire RCC structure is 2 Hours fire rated.
Methodology of construction:
To achieve this level of craftsmanship in structural expression requires a very specific methodology of construction at every stage. The architects had to involve themselves far beyond a normal scope in the design of the curved metal shuttering and the entire process of execution. The design was tested on difference full scale mock up prepared by the contractor. The quality of the shuttering, reinforcement, the quality of the concrete and bricks was thoroughly experimented and monitored to achieve the required performance and aesthetics.
The brick tiles are lay up on the metal shuttering and put in place by pvc spacers, then covered with a minimal RCC screed. The reinforcement are then put in place and the full RCC mushroom is casted at once. When de-shuttering happens the brick tiles are cleaned from slurry and exposed with silicon protection. They are acting as dead shuttering material and finished. The modularity of the plans and sections creates a labyrinth like maze of vaulted ceilings visible at all levels.