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Forbes Marshall Green Field Industrial Building with Positive Energy

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Industrial buildings, when visualized, conjure images of typically large scale, disciplined, stoic, systematic frames and structures. Design of industrial buildings in this country has lately taken a shift from being vapid steel trusses to treating them as institutes of dynamic potential that when tapped right, contribute to the country’s progress. The 1,06900sqm industrial park at Chakan, Pune, was designed to be a mirror of what the Forbes Marshall group stood for. It not only reflected high technological and global standards it was also a testament to an exemplary social commitment to safety, hygiene and sustainability.

Spread over fifty acres of land the first phase of the project is composed of two large manufacturing plants supported by linked on office spaces. The work areas are conceived more like creative studios than as mere factory areas, bringing daylight and plants onto the working floors. All of the functional units are gathered about a large pedestrian garden that acts as a visual retreat as well as a break out area. The intent of the architect falls within several inter-connected layers of purpose. At a very basic level, each building on the site is a “machine for working” in its own right and must be functional, efficient, durable and easy to maintain. At another level, all of the structures are players within an overall campus and they must be situated within that campus in a manner that optimizes synergies among st the various parts.

The boiler workshop is the marquee structure constructed in phase one. Covering a footprint of over one hundred and sixty five thousand square feet and soaring over seventy feet high this space is a cathedral for manufacturing processes. The roof (light-weight aluminium sheets) floats over this volume, is punctured by skylights and supported by light pronged trusses. The facade is enveloped on the south by a glazed wall with aluminum jaalis filtering in light. This ensures minimal use of artificial light over the entire workspace. The north side of the boiler workshop has got the office units overlooking the workshop. The northern facade of the office units is a curved glass wall that filters in north light for the office units.

“The most unskilled worker and the most senior manager must feel a sense of pride in their place of work. Positive emotions of pleasant anticipation should swell up as they approach their place of work each morning. A visitor should feel they are within a global company’s environment when they reach the Forbes Marshall campus, yet there must be “signifiers” that tell them that they are in a place called Pune.”

The purpose of architecture is not about making aesthetically pleasing spaces, but to relook at spaces for the next decades to come. Architecture must assist in social change while creating timeless buildings. Taking Two steps backward picking up basic concepts of the right circulation, the right light and the right feel, one can leap through steps forward by adopting complimentary technology in making truly modern buildings that are rooted in age old beliefs of channeling positive energies in space making against the normative of cutting costs and sensibilities, in lieu of increased profits.

— Christopher Benninger
Chairman, Christopher Charles Benninger Architects, Pune

The design is yet another specimen of the studio’s crusade to comply with regional context, functional reference, climate, topography, culture and humans. A humane approach to designing thi particular campus, full of buildings that are predominantly inhabited by machinery, is what makes it illustrative.

One of the special features is that the glazing on the southern facade is shaded by aluminum jaalis which helps reduce the solar ingress and filters in the natural light into the workshop spaces. The eastern and the western facades are devoid of openings to reduce solar heat gain. Office spaces are located along the curved glazed northern face which filters in light into the interiors and reduces the surface area receiving direct radiation thus lesser heat gains. The working platform receives optimum lux levels for maximum time of the office hours thereby reducing the load on artificial lighting.

Walls are constructed using light weight concrete blocks. The external facades are constructed using aluminium composite panels. The workshop is an exemplar of an optimally designed light weight structure. Roof is composed of corrugated aluminum sheets with skylights at intervals to reduce heat admission and filter in natural light into the workshop interiors.

Founded by Prof. Christopher Benninger along with Ramprasad Akkisetti, CCBA believes in transformation and social change. Each creation whether in urban planning or architecture is a benchmark of India’s evolving character.

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