Shilpa Architects Planners Designers headquarters, The Global Design Studio at Chennai was awarded the LEED Platinum rating for New Construction by IGBC. While, the certification is an endorsement of the firm’s design philosophy and corporate responsibility goals, the sustainably designed office space helps lower operating costs and reduce carbon footprint. Pavitra Sri Prakash, Design Director and Chief Planner gives a detailed account.
Innovation and sustainability are at the core of Shilpa Architects’ culture and what our clients and people expect. As one of the first Platinum rated design studios in Asia, we designed the headquarters as a next generation workplace. The studio brings to life the organization’s commitment to reducing power consumption, open and collaborative work settings, natural lighting and geothermal air-conditioning.
The building is split into multiple levels of studio space with a level each for client/vendor interaction and a Gallery. The staggering of floors gives the office spatial and visual connectivity. Also, conference rooms and open spaces are designed to promote art, cultural and educational initiatives for students and the general community.
The entrance to the building is marked by a tribute to the Hindu deity, “Vishvakarma”, considered to be the divine architect. The sculpture is hand crafted specially by artisans from the Bhavani district of Tamil Nadu. In order to add local artisan touch as well, the modern “Mandap” was crafted in Mahabalipuram. Continuing with the idea of the “Temple of Design”, the grand door is inspired by traditional temple panelled door. With antique brass detailing, the door stands a majestic 12ft in height and has to be opened by each and every visitor in order to experience the feeling of having entered the space.
Upon entry, one steps into the “Akhand” which is inspired by continuity through the same treatment for the floor, ceiling and walls thereby living up to its Sanskrit meaning ‘Unbroken’. Treated with the most basic building block of architecture, the space is built using country brick bonding technique. The double height reception connects to the above workspaces both visually and aurally. The reception itself is treated with simple rustic material and one gets the first glimpse of exposed concrete ceilings. The character-building element that is interpreted throughout the spaces in varying form, scale and composition is the company logo inspired trellis detail.
The client interaction areas at the studio have been designed for various types of meetings and discussions. The conference room is styled like a functional space addressing the need for large format design meetings. The boardroom is a double height formal space with maximum views and daylighting to provide an outdoor like setting. The extensive use of fabric and eclectic collection of artefacts brings warmth to the space. The lounge has been designed with natural quartz (agate) and wood accents. With the unique hand crafted light box, this space highlights the usage of fabric in new and exciting ways. The touch & feel library is a unique client interaction area that helps envisage projects along with material samples and mood boards.
Vertical ducts rise in the “green shafts” through which the conditioned air is circulated into the work and interaction spaces. The building is a single volute with the staggered levels directing the circulating air through the entire building, till it is mechanically vented out at the top of the staircase headroom. The efficiency of the air-conditioning system is enhanced by the heat recovery wheel. Carbon-di-oxide build up is minimized because most of the air is exhausted back to the ambient. Radiant slab and Geo thermal cooling are incorporated in the HVAC System design to reduce power and water consumption. Solar power generation and use of RO treated ground water for air-conditioning are special features of the building’s engineering.
We are deeply satisfied of all that we have achieved to make the studio a collaborative and modern work environment. It stands to symbolize our approach to sustainable design thinking in all our projects. For instance, natural lighting through “Green Shafts” and high windows with every desk connect workers to the blue sky outside. We have also achieved 30% higher levels of indoor air quality to promote workplace productivity. Other workspace and building features are:
• 6% generation of power from photo-voltaic panels
• 8% lower overall construction cost
• 30% energy & water savings monthly
• 95% of office space with natural daylight until sundown
• 100% waste recycling at source