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Kumar Moorthy & Associates

New Delhi, Delhi, India-110070

Scientech Factory & Corporate Office, Commercial-Office Complex

The Scientech  Corporate Office & Factory was designed for a rapidly growing company in the business of manufacturing  electronic & didactic equipment on a half acre plot in the Electronics Complex Estate in the West of Indore.

The project developed incrementally but continuously , starting first as extensions & additional floors to an existing small single storeyed factory hall on the plot and culminating in the addition of the corporate office block in the front of the factory as well as interiors & furnishing of the same.

The approx 22,000 sq.ft facility is designed according to the principles of Vaastu, the limitations of which provided form giving directions to the design.

The  existing small factory situated in the Western end of the site featured a multiple columned hall with a flat slab and triangulated capitals. The extensions and the additional floors continued the same structural pattern to result in manufacturing halls of approximately 5000 sq.ft on each floor with new service cores with staircases & toilets at diagonally opposite corners. Large windows on all sides bring in natural light & enable cross ventilation and planter recesses adjoining the windows enable greenery in proximity to the work floors thus rendering cheerful work spaces. Simple orthogonal massing in a plain white painted mass, with window recesses painted grey and detailing of windows & grills in a silver colour made for a simple yet effective appearance.

The decision to shift the corporate office of the company into the same premises brought about a sea change in the approach of both the owners & the architect to the facility. As a rapidly growing , youthful, technology oriented company which has already established a reputation in the industry for the high quality of its products & processes,  it was sought to be able to capture the same spirit of the company in its new workplace. The owners are also driven by issues of environment and the company leads & funds various greening, water recharging & tree planting initiatives thru its Scientech Eco Foundation within and around  the city of Indore and it was also thus desired to incorporate various environmentally apt features into both the design as well as the working life cycle of the building.

The office was to thus conceived to be a building which provided a stimulating working environment in the form of spaces which incorporated 
- A clear logical pattern of organization of the various spaces and a clear pattern of circulation and intra-organizational  communication to enable efficiency of day to day interactions 
- a distinct crisply modern yet neutral exterior and an uncluttered and simple yet sophisticated interior which outwardly projects the desired image of company  while creating,
- pleasant spaces with maximal natural lighting, natural ventilation and views to engender employee comfort and satisfaction.
- an environmentally responsible & energy efficient design that addresses ecological concerns & promotes a sustainable operational pattern of its occupants.

The final building as completed features the office block towards the Eastern end of the factory block, with two walls of sheer reflective glass bringing in ample cool daylighting and views of the deep landscaped gardens to the North & East of the building. The service cores are articulated on the exterior in slate clad walls with minimal square apertures as end walls to the glazed sides. A large planter along the edges at terrace level cascades greenery along the Northern & Eastern glazings forming a natural curtain against  sunshine. The South wall has minimal openings and is further banked with dense trees in the landscaping fulfilling both Vaastu & climatic needs. The exterior is thus largely maintenance free reducing life cycle costs.

The externally low scaled , double height volume of a skylit reception foyer with the entrance gate right across, architecturally links together yet separates the office area from the factory floors as well as provides functional linkages between the two functions. The skylight brings natural light into the heart of the building. Internal partitions to both the office area on one side as well as a training hall & R & D areas in the factory area on the other are largely in clear glass in order to render a continuum of space, transparency as well as views of greenery. A small plantation cutout in the floor enables the greenery to continue into the interior as well.

The office halls on both floors are simple expanses of space with the only embellishment being the polished kotah stone floors as well as the finishes and treatment of the columns & structural capitals ( repeated from the vocabulary of the existing factory floor to establish a design continuum, albeit as conical rather than pyramidal capitals ). Pride of place is reserved instead for the floor to ceiling glazing and the views of the garden outside : with the sharp downward slant of the glazing serving to focus the viewers eye to the garden below rather than the rooflines of the buildings around the site and with a floor trough to form additional opportunity for greenery inside. All internal partitioning is done in floor to ceiling glass to maximize the openness & transparency of the office space as well as natural light harnessed from the glazings on the North & East. Mitred corners of glass further reinforce the spatial continuum. 

The lower floor has the managerial cabins & general staff cubicles with a visitor meeting room while the upper floor houses the Managing & other Director’ chambers, a boardroom & a lounge. The MD’s room stuck in the South West corner due to Vaastu reasons , with minimal views is nevertheless enabled views of the gardens & greenery due to the glazed internal partitions into the balance of the floor as well the sliding folding doors into the adjoining occasionally used boardroom which itself has prime views.

Other than the kotah flooring, glass framed in wood & an occasional glimpse of silver ACP cladding & silver painted mild steel form the basic material & colour palette while occasional brightly coloured panels of wall provide counterpoint & focus. The furniture used is sparse & modern in keeping with the minimal nature of the interior spaces.

Landscaping designed by by Sushmit Vyas of Indore forms a soft foil to the design of the building and engenders useable open spaces A well landscaped terrace strewn with built in planters provides a much used cafeteria & sit out as a retreat for the staff for a well deserved coffee break and is also used in Indore’s typically balmy evenings for employee gatherings.

The landscaping at the ground level is visually minimal yet effective, with sculpture, a lily pool and varied paving in local stone set amidst lush lawn. A raised platform stage in a corner of the garden has led to many a casual Saturday staff get together with impromptu skits, sing along sessions et al. According to both the managerial staff as well as the owners, the period post completion and occupation of the building has led to much more staff retention as well as staff attendance even outside working hours, possibly due to their greater enjoyment of their office space as well as a greater feeling of ownership of the spaces as active users.

Towards its stated objectives of environmental consciousness the building in its innate design as well thru client company driven methods  incorporates the following features
- Maximum utilization of natural daylight in interior spaces.
- The usage of heat reflective external glazing but only on the cooler East & North sides with solid walls & minimal openings on the South & West
- The presence of greenery as a thermal bank all around esp south & west side planted with tall shade giving trees, the planters on the roof providing insulation to the roof, the cascade of greenery curtaining the glazed walls.
- The building eschews conventional air conditioning in favour of central aircooling which is very effective in Indore’s weather with ducts from central industrial strength coolers on the roof cooling both the office & factory areas. Minimal air conditioning serve to supplement the aircooling in the office areas as well to remove humidity in the monsoon months. Bank of potted plants are used further to oxygenate the intake air into the coolers  at roof level. The use of ionizers in all interior spaces further improves air quality.
- The usage of local materials for flooring & paving to the extent possible. The usage of only ply & board made from renewable sources as well as minimal usage where necessary of local MP harvested teakwood.
- Rainwater water harvesting on a site wide basis as well as water recycling for horticulture use. Consumption of water is monitored & tabulated with metering at various strategic intake points to control water usage patterns
- The usage of cfl based light fittings and all BIS star rated appliances like energy efficient ceiling fans , pumps and motors for various purposes ,  power saving lcd monitors.

The company further:
- follows paperless office internal procedures and is highly computerized to minimize paper usage, 
- has taken measures to “ green” the process of production as well. All components used in manufacture are R.O.H.S. compliant lead free products , ISO 14000 standards are maintained, there is minimal use of plastic in the products  which are itself designed to be low power consuming, lightweight portable products produced using eco friendly raw materials.
- In packaging too largely recyclable material is used with no thermocol or plastic being employed.

Photo Credits: eyepiece photography ( Gaganjit Singh )

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Client
Scientech ( India) Pvt Ltd ( Mr Ambrish Kela)
Area (in sq.ft)
22,000
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