Wrapped in a Perforated Screen

Project: Krohne Marshall New Manufacturing Campus, Pune (Re-development and Expansion)


Text by: Aswathy Ganesh

The factory provides an example of industrial architecture that goes beyond the basic necessity of housing complex manufacturing processes to provide a salubrious work environment for its users. Constituted with the purpose of manufacturing valves and liquid-flow metres, the factory is a joint venture between the German and Indian corporations Krohne and Forbes Marshall respectively. The quest for a fresh design approach towards expanding their existing factory led them to the architects. The factory building is the result of elaborate planning and design strategies to accommodate two major challenges– first, the need to bind an old factory premise with a new structure, and second, the construction of the new building while the old factory continued to function.

On a 1.1 acre plot, the expansion of the factory is a four storeyed structure (G+3) of roughly 8000sq m, linked to the existing two storeyed factory of roughly 2000sq m. The space where the two structures meet is transformed into a triple-height atrium by replacing part of the existing terrace slab with a polycarbonate roof. The new structure includes a partial double-height workshop space, vortex rigs, office spaces, training rooms, utility and service areas. One enters from the south-western side into a reception lobby that overlooks the atrium. Vehicles are lead into a basement parking facility below the new building. The reception lobby is flanked by workshops on either side. In order to avoid exposure to the harsh sun on the south, the service block forms a solid mass to the south- western side of the building. The upper floors house the office spaces and administration. Externally, a perforated aluminium jaali encapsulates the entire structure to bind the old and the new blocks into a singular whole. Custom-made with triangular perforations inspired from the logo for Krohne Marshall, the jaalis are supported on a steel framework. Coloured glass windows placed behind these screens create a play of coloured light and shadow in the workshop spaces, reminiscent of a cathedral with stained glass windows. Ferrocrete frames define the boundaries of the external façade of the building, bordering the edges of the aluminium jaali and the openings in the building.

In order to span the large areas required for the factory’s spaces, post-tensioned beams and slabs have been employed throughout the building. Due to the requirement for a brighter and lively work environment as compared to the workshop areas, the office spaces have been restricted to the entire third floor. The difference in its spatial quality is brought about through the introduction of a breakout space lit from the top using a polycarbonate roof and enclosed within a transparent glass cylinder. This serves the dual purpose of creating a splash of light in the interior while also providing a space for employees to connect to the natural environment outside.

The master plan takes appropriate advantage of the site which is located on a corner plot flanked by roads on two adjacent sides by creating an exhaust tower at the south-east corner. This tower acts as a focal point, drawing the viewer’s eye to the building. Tall water towers that measure the flow of water anchor the project to its site.

An external fire staircase provided on the south-eastern façade further breaks down the mass of the building. The building is an example of how even the most mundane components of industries can be effectively turned into harmonious elements of an architectural composition. At a time when the construction industry urgently needs to adopt sustainable measures for a sensitive built environment, the project teaches us to judiciously use our existing built environment rather than destroy them to accommodate our ever-changing needs. Architects need to look beyond their immediate goals towards a greater future to create structures that can adapt and evolve in time.

Let us also not forget, in our haste for rapid progress, the primary intent of our built environment– to serve humanity.

Photo credit: Deepak Kaw


Client: Krohne Marshall Pvt Ltd

Principal architect: Prof Christopher Charles Benninger Design team: Daraius Choksi, Jasmeet Kaur Jite, Rahul Sathe

Structural design: Antarkar Consulting Engineers, Pune

Landscape and interior design: CCBA, Pune

Prime contractor: Harshall Enterprises Pvt Ltd

Built-up area: 8,806sq m

Building type: Commercial

Year: 2014-2016