Text description provided by the architects. This was to be a straightforward office project until we visited the site. This client desired a head office for his automobile dealership company and the same was to be located on the 3rd level of a commercial building cum showroom (for a particular Indian Bike brand) owned by the client. The building prominently sat along the main commercial street in the city of Hubli (2nd largest city in the Indian state of Karnataka, after its capital city Bangalore). Having previously seen an office-building project done by the firm in Bangalore, the client approached us to design their head office and hoped to build the same on the 3rd floor of the building they own. When we visited the site, we observed the 3rd floor was a later date addition to an otherwise G+2 building and had a rather robust structural system of columns & deep beams, as we proceeded towards familiarizing ourselves with the site and its context, we realized the building had a terrace waiting to be explored – a well scaled metal structural frame with a temporary curved metal sheet roof functioned as a shed/yard to store “Bikes” and otherwise housed all the Building MEP services like Water tanks, several Air conditioning outdoor units, a Diesel generator, a mobile network tower…etc.
We jumped at this opportunity and expressed to the client, our desire to transform this “Terrace shed” into a “Terrace Office” and thus began a journey to create an office space that relishes its high volumes, under a curved plywood roof with cabins, cubicles and open workstations, arranged in the midst of long balconies and lush green terraces, strategically located to cut down the harsh summer sun and bring in diffused day light & breeze via full height doors along the East & West, allowing cross ventilation & peripheral “PAUSE” spaces that one can walk out to!
Other than the usual program on functional office spaces required by any office, the brief here required us to create a dual purpose space: a Training room cum Conference space for about 30 pax and the same had to be worked such that this space is not accessed via the Main office reception area and is still connected with the Main office space. Having understood the brief for this space and that it required controlled light & temperature, the most glare-free space along the North was chosen to locate this function. This space overlooks a lush green Terrace Café created on the floor below & functions as a leisure space to unwind, thus allowing a Work-Leisure balance.
Hubli is blessed with a beautiful climate- cool & windy most of the year and given that the buildings here are small storeys, this Terrace office enjoys great wind circulation, thus ensuring a naturally ventilated office space, replete with mosquito meshes and fans. The use of air conditioning is limited to the extreme summer months of March-May. The addition of balconies and the deep metal curved roof overhangs, adequately shades the otherwise glazed façade and brings in diffused day light along with polycarbonate skylights punctuated along the curved metal roof, thus allowing the office to optimize day light, using almost “No Electricity” throughout the day in non-summer months.
Being a Terrace shed that housed various Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing services for rest of this building, the task was to seamlessly re-accommodate these services across the building and make way for habitable spaces here.
The space itself – black Cudappah floor (a black limestone locally available), concrete partitions and plywood doors, plywood workstations and a curved plywood ceiling, is all about the light…. the sunlight that streams in from skylights, through the greenery of the terraces, and accentuates the neutral raw palette of materials. To solely read the curved plywood ceiling, it was important to carefully & discreetly suspend all mechanical services like A.C ducting, ceiling fans, a Lighting system- that explores a suspended floating metal structure with LED CAN lights, thus creating a subtle ambience of artificially lit space that accentuates the warmth of the plywood across the project. The office was occupied last year and they seem to enjoy every bit of openness and greenery they experience within their new space.