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Commercial Complex Blocking harsh sun, letting in daylight

The brief was simple. To build a structure where the design emphasis was on blocking cutting off the harsh south western sun and allowing natural light to filter through. KSM Consultants Pvt Ltd, Chennai along with Structural Consultant – V Sangameswaran and Contractors – Bhaggyam Constructions, Chennai came up with a plan for a multi-tenanted office for Shreyas Investments in Velachery, Chennai.

The commercial complex was envisaged with a strong climatic design approach to it. The property faces west, a face that receives very high solar radiation, especially in the latter half of the day. One of the principal design considerations laid out by the promoter was to provide the prime interior space of the office to be located in the south and western parts of the floor plate. The interiors also had to have access to natural light.

A sun shading device set 1800mm away from the western face of the building was constructed out of aluminum and stainless steel, both with low maintenance and long term solution, to give a ‘machine like’ aesthetic to the building. Along with the a few existing trees at the front of the property, the aluminum fins on the metal façade were angled to cut off the sharp angles of the afternoon and evening sun which would have fallen directly on the western facing windows. This allowed the offices within to keep their window blinds open and greatly reduce the use of artificial light during the day.

According to the climatic assessment, this was the area that would be subjected to maximum solar heat gain. Hence the primary design emphasis was in cutting off the harsh south western sun, while at the same time, allowing natural light to filter through. The design intention was to bring in as much of natural light and encourage the office users within to keep their window blinds open and greatly reduce the use of artificial light during the day.

“A sun path study was done along with a shade analysis of existing trees. Based on this we sought to work with a critical sun angle of 40 degrees that would cut off direct sun inside the office space,” says Sriram Ganapathy, Managing Director, KSM.

The rest of the western façade houses the staircase and lift cores. “Even here, to bring in natural light, we went for narrow horizontal slot windows that would largely negate vertical sun angles. All other walls are finished with a stone aggregate finish with precast concrete lintels and sills. This reduces the need for frequent maintenance of surfaces.”

 

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