An energy-conscious structure

Project: Collector’s Office, Pune

Architects: Sunil Patil & Associates, Pune

The project is an administrative headquarters of the district. It is perceived as the ‘Power House’ and hence it needs to be designed as a ‘monumental building’. It is designed on the existing site, which was meant to replace the cluster of number of small and old structures which were found functionally inefficient to cope up with the growing occupancy and requirement of the building.

The visitors come from all over the district to this place and sometimes they need to spend the entire day in the campus. Therefore, as much as it’s an office building, it needs to have efficient public spaces, and to combine both was the major challenge while designing.

The site contained some old stone structures and 197 fully grown trees. The new office is designed incorporating the stone and some of the architectural features from the old structures. The main stress was given on preserving the existing old trees and the flora-fauna without depleting the established ecosystem while constructing this new 19,797sq m of structure.

Adhering to the site conditions, the design started with the evolution of three masses– office wing A and B, and a parking building set apartfrom each other to create a semi-open plaza and the fourth mass– wing C is designed on top of these three masses which completes the plaza. All the wings are connected to each other by bridges at various levels. Each of the office wings is designed with a central courtyard, to facilitate natural light and ventilation to every nook and corner of the space.

The multi-storeyed parking building is designed instead of a basement parking in order to save the number of the existing trees. The connection of parking building to all floor levels allows officers to park their vehicles at the same levels of the offices, minimizing the use of elevators. The bridges spanning 24m provide columnless connections between the two office wings. Skylights have been provided over the internal courtyards to facilitate stack ventilation and admit natural sunlight into the building. The vertical GI fins protect the internal areas from solar radiation and harsh light, allowing the indoor environment to be comfortable, both thermally and visually.

The landscape of the campus is been designed around the existing trees and including native trees serve as naturally shaded waiting areas. The memory of the old Collector Office campus has been retained by giving due importance to the old porch structure holding the national emblem above it, which is now treated as a monument. The large public plaza of 9400sq ft is formed connecting all three wings and covered by the top floor, also accommodates the heritage monument. It also plays a significant role in shaping the visitors experience while entering the main building.

A metal mural of size 10.5×10.0m has been created with the composition of hands creating a form of a tree which gives the message “Lets join hands to save our environment.”

The building design is completely based on solar passive, climate responsive design strategies. All the areas are naturally day-lit and ventilated with optimized shading devices designed to control glare and heat gain, achieving thermal and visual comfort.

The wall window ratio of the building is limited to 38%, reducing the use of glass in the building. The project EPI is brought down to 28.62 KWh/ m2/year, that is, 22.5% reduction in Energy Performance Index. Native landscape species has been planted, which help and maintain the flora and fauna, reducing the demand for water. 100% treated water from STP is used for irrigation purpose reducing fresh water demand by 53%.

The hardscapes were drastically reduced to minimize the heat island effect and to maximize water percolation by the use of softscape, that is, grass pavers resulting in one degree drop in the surrounding.

The project has proposed installation of approximately 185 kW solar photo-voltaic system which will cater to 100% internal lighting and HVAC consumption of the building. Efficient water fixtures have been used, resulting in 50% water conservation. Building execution is done with all safety measures and procedures, innovative green construction techniques and effective air and noise pollution control measures. Eco- friendly materials such as AAC blocks, fly ash and adhesives have been used in masonry work which saves on mortar and curing. Most of the furniture is made in metal reducing use of wood.

The execution of the project also followed environment-friendly ways of construction as per GRIHA norms– Protection of top soil, barricading with GI sheets to reduce the air pollution, protection of existing trees, replanting the existing lawn, curing with gunny bags to save water, labour safety, being a few of the important aspects.

Photo Credit: Subhash Patil

Client: PWD
Design Team: Ar Sunil Patil, Ar Anuja Pandit, Er Sanjay Patil Consultants: Sunil Patil & Associates (Interiors, Landscape); Environmental Design Solutions Pvt Ltd [EDS] (Green Building Consultants); Precision Precast Solution Pvt Ltd (Structural); Siddhivinayak Mep Consultants (MEP, Plumbing
Civil Contractors: Shubham Civil Projects
Built-up Area: 19797.83sq m
Cost of project: Rs 67.30 crore
Year of completion: 2017