Low-Mid-High Tech

Excerpt from the interview (Mr. Balkishan Sharma and Mr. Mudassir Ahmed) Published in SSMB Magazine in January 2017.

 

  1. What was the initial thought process before finalizing the design of the project?

Marketels is a renowned travel and hospitality company in NOIDA. The office building would be a chapter in their expanding endeavor. Design Plus wanted to capture this endeavor and the dedication of its patrons towards the travel industry. Design Plus truly believes that an office building should reflect the trade that it houses. As a continuation of this design philosophy, we were committed to find a solution that would address the brief and also advertise Marketel’s occupation.

 

  1. What were the initial challenges faced by you?

The 250 SqM. Plot had proportions of 1:2.5 with the narrow 10m being the street facia. This unidimensional plot posted a threat to the both spatial comforts and percolation of any natural light. The first constraint was dealt with by splitting an office floor to increase head room for the reception, lobby and partners’ rooms. As for the issues pertaining to natural light – both the narrow facades of the building were proposed to be completely glazed and also a staggering light well was provided at the heart of the building. While the staggering light well provided shelf shading during summers, the completely glazed South-West façade posed serious threats for the same summer months.

Another challenge was to agree on the aesthetic of the building. The clients were on board but  were nervous about such a novel idea. This building would definitely stand out from the crowd. Hence, to drive the decisions, various digital massing models were generated, that were simultaneously draped with variations of a second skin.

Another primary struggle was that, once built, the building would face the South West sun. With the client’s vision of a completely glazed façade and their limited budgets that would not support a DGU or a thermal insulated Glass, We were challenged to cater to the thermal comforts during the Hot NCR Summers. The skin, in terms of a MS jaali, provided the much needed relief from the harsh summer sun and also carried the world map which symbolizes Marketels’ playing field.

 

  1. Why was steel selected as one of the major part of the building material?

The primary steel element in the building was the MS jaali which creates the 2nd skin. The decision to use MS was more pragmatic than aesthetic.

1st decision in favour – The glazing Sections of the building were already being fabricated in MS. It would have been easiest to weld MS supports (of the jali) to the glazing sections.

2nd decision in favour – Cost. The cost of getting GRC or SS Milled, formed, painted, polished and then installed would have brought the total cost of the project way beyond the permitted budgets. Local fabricator who understood the drawings and the sensibility of design developed tools, samples to ensure an equitable execution at 1/3rd the cost.

 

  1. How would you describe the geometrics of the project?

Fortunately, architecture permits you to visualize geometry at various scales. At city scale, the geometry responds to the offsets of a rectangular plot. At the neighbourhood level, the building seems like a canvas with low resolution pixels. At the building level, it can be conceived as a combination of planes aligned along the cardinal axes. Simple extrusions and material changes add/ subtract mass, texture and lightness.