Retaining Industrial Aesthetics

Project: Corporate Office of Motherland Joint Ventures, Gurgaon

Architects: Architecture Discipline, New Delhi

The project is a corporate office of the client exhibiting minimalistic re-fabrication of an old warehouse, a former rice granary in Gurgaon, retrofitted to reflect a combination of the existing ethos and the creative palette of company’s joint ventures.

The design process started with the client’s vision of an office characterized to be a multipurpose workshop to support the company’s creative work and braced by spaces for cabins, meeting areas, workspaces, etc. The preservation angle demanded a straight-forward layout and retention of industrial aesthetics with minimal structural damage– a frugal yet sophisticated outlook. The entire vision formed the requirements to be crafted within the existing structure with brick masonry walls and piers holding a sloping flat-truss system surfaced by asbestos. With respect to site surroundings, the north and west were blocked by adjacent warehouses while the remaining sides stayed open. This led to an increase in sizes of existing doors and windows and also addition of new ones to augment the natural daylight spreading out across spatially.

The main access to the office structure has been planned through an exaggerated ramp that leads to an expansive layout to accommodate the multipurpose workshop. Functional add-ons to the space include an industrial grade screed floor finish, lit by three long rows of light fixtures of industrial ‘box type’ that are mounted on timber batons running along the longer span. The central shop floor area has been designed from front to rear to constitute a reception/ waiting area, research and development area, space for installations/display, an informal meeting space, shelving units and a pantry respectively– all separated by stainless steel ledge walls. The cabins, meeting room, common workspace and other ancillary spaces have been linearly stacked along the east elevation of the warehouse, demarcated using visually light partitions designed to add layers and depth to the open floor layout while accentuating the dynamic inflow of light.

Considering the preservation format, material palette was kept simply restricted to timber and glass. The hand-built partitions made of simple plaid glass with intermediate sleek timber sections have been used to allow the spaces to be visually connected with eachother and the main workshop area. Meanwhile,  the the acoustic ceiling that ensures the sound isolation within the spaces has been designed paint and the timber sections with murky green using wood wool panels with a layer of micron insulation sandwiched between them. A layer of bubble wrap and aluminum foil insulating panels have been topped on the asbestos ceiling to reduce the heat gain in the building.

Fire grade industrial lights, suspended using metal cables have been used to light the cabins. The washroom and pantry walls have been given murky green enamel and black cudappah stone have been used in the wet areas. Balancing both economic and time-efficient construction for the office whilst adding to the expression of the bare and functional, the armoured electrical cables and supply plumbing have been left exposed and neatly managed on the walls. The exterior of the office has been painted white while the steel door and window frames in Georgian geometries with metal flashing, and steel beam lintels have been coloured black; the interior walls have been planned to reflect charcoal blackboard paint in juxtaposition with the external white paint and the timber sections with murky green highlights. The wall grazing down lighters under the eave on the side underscore the inherent texture of the naturally worn out exposed brickwork; bracketed well lamps on either side of the 4m- wide door mark the entrance.

By contributing to lowering the carbon footprint in construction, the corporate office promotes a balance between creativity and building-preservation.

Photo credit: Jeetin Sharma

FACTFILE

Client: Motherland Joint Ventures Pvt Ltd
Design team: Akshat Bhatt, Himanshu Chopra Consultants: Architecture Discipline (Mechanical, Landscape, Lighting, Plumbing & Fire fighting, Civil, PMC, Acoustic) Lirio Lopez (Electrical, Project Lead), Techfour Engineers (HVAC)

Built-up area: 5500sq ft