Commercial Office Building
Workspace,Architecture I Nagpur, Maharashtra
Client D. P. Jain & Co. Infrastructure Pvt Ltd
Area 1 Lakh Sq.ft
Team Shimul Javeri Kadri, Vaishali Mangalvedhekar, Arunima Dubey, Janhavi Sankhe, Divya Gyanchandani
The North, which remains well shaded through the year and forms the front face of the building, has been carved in to create a courtyard with an amphitheatre at its base, and small projecting meeting rooms and pocket terraces on the floors above.
The design of the DP Jain Infra office building in Nagpur recontextualizes the very meaning of workspaces by creating an environment that is a catalyst for creativity and collaboration. A simple brief– to ensure plenty of light and ventilation for a large workforce– led to an elevated design solution that balances both social and environmental concerns. The building expands beyond the boundaries of an ‘office’, creating a conversation between internal and external environments. Its biophilic design brings a new meaning to the culture of work; situating the organisation geographically and metaphorically at the very heart of modern India.
The built structure
The design of the building is centred around the interaction between people and the environment-- a key aspect of the clients’ requirement. The plot, located in a fast developing region of Nagpur, abuts the Mumbai-Amravati highway, and opens up to an expanse of green on the north and south. While the outer boundary and certain structural elements were inherited at the start of the project, it was imperative to optimise the orientation of the building to channel natural light and ventilation. The result, a striking 11-storied structure with a built-up area of 8,500 square metres, that rises smartly above the surrounding developments. It comprises ample basement space, 3 lower levels assigned for retail, and 8 upper levels dedicated to the infrastructure office and executive suites.
The building’s generous courtyard, which is visible through its facade, creates an open dialogue between the highway & the occupant activities. The use of voids and solids opens up the office into the city and brings the lush surroundings into the space within. Careful details like vertical and horizontal louvres, double heighted windows, and staggered balconies lend to the building’s unique style and sustainable functionality, making it a distinctive feature of the Nagpur skyline.
The use of voids and solids opens up the office into the city and brings the lush surroundings into the space within.
Interactions within and without
The north facing facade and its striking courtyard is a characteristic feature of the building, enhancing social interaction and inspiring work. On the inside, the courtyard provides glimpses of the activity across floors, while balancing the need for quiet working areas and relaxed breakout spaces. The staircase between floors 6-10, small meeting rooms & terraces along the north facade are used to “enhance social interaction..” - this paragraph can be entirely about interactions along the north facade to explain how its interactive better At its base, an amphitheatre that spans the 3rd and 4th floors encourages collective work, larger gatherings, and quiet reflection. Gently sloping bleachers double as informal seating ensuring uninterrupted views of the lush greenery and the city beyond. Easy access to the adjoining cafeteria, which features flowing wooden benches and clustered tables, guarantees that the space is always abuzz with activity. Abundant natural light allows a healthy variety of plants and trees to thrive even within the building. This collective space, with its awe-inspiring views and indoor greenery establishes a deeper connection with nature. Cantilevering above the amphitheatre are meeting rooms, cabins, and smaller breakout spaces which provide employees privacy, while retaining visibility and access to the incredible vistas outside and the activity below. Spacious balconies extend around the southern and western peripheries of the building, cleverly designed in an alternating manner to shade those on lower levels from the harsh Nagpur sun. From the street level, the building’s voluminous courtyard and staggered balconies invite the curious gaze of passers-by. The exterior envelope of the building, a simple blend of white calcium silicate board, wooden louvres and glass panels, creates a seamless yet playful facade. At night, the interior lighting spills out onto the street, engulfing the building in a warm ethereal glow– earning it the moniker ‘lantern’ by the team at SJK Architects. This interplay of heights, protruding spaces, varying densities, and shadows, creates an interesting dynamic between those within and without. The design of the building blurs the boundaries between the constructed and natural, private and public - a perfect vignette of the work/play culture that was so integral to the project from its inception.
The layouts of each floor and careful details in the interiors link the building’s contemporary design to the local climate and culture of Nagpur. An ergonomic reorganisation of the office’s various systems lent itself to a minimalist and modular design response that is intuitive and modern.
Each floor is planned with both individual and collective work in mind. Private cabins and meeting rooms are balanced out with a large open plan seating area, community tables, multi-heighted dividers, and informal seating. Moveable glass and fabric partitions facilitate flexibility of use, while fixed elements like marble planters, ensure that the overall flow of the space remains undisturbed.
The design of the building blurs the boundaries between the constructed and natural, private and public - a perfect vignette of the work/play culture that was so integral to the project.
Addressing climatic concerns
The building employs a blend of active and passive cooling techniques to combat the extreme temperatures that Nagpur experiences. Aluminium slats and deep balconies on the building’s west and south facades filter out the sunlight for the spaces within, providing an elegant solution that protects from glare and heat. The orientation of the building also relies on the north western winds to provide ventilation. During Nagpur’s cool winter and monsoon months, glass windows of the facade open to provide cross ventilation to reduce the building’s energy consumption by 50%, and bring fresh air for the people and plants inside.
A clever radiant cooling system – consisting of vertical fins along the ceiling that add to the character of the workspaces – helps to maintain a comfortable interior temperature, reducing the electrical loads by 25%. This solution also dramatically reduces the transmission of airborne viruses, a vital feature in our post-pandemic world. Solar panels on the roof power a significant portion of the building’s electrical load and reduce its carbon footprint. These strategies have allowed it to be compliant with the LEED and GRIHA standards and ratings.
The airiness of the building is complimented by the muted tones of the fabrics and interior finishes. Neutral cottons and linen weaves are paired against wooden elements and grey marble. The woven patterns inspired from local fabric weaving techniques on the pin boards and dividers softens the entire interior experience, and gives a nod to the local culture and handicraft of Nagpur.
On the 11th floor, this design is subverted, turned inside out. The light and informal spaces give way to a more heady, contemplative palette. Black Belgian marble flooring, polished brass hardware, and darker fabric panels give the executive suite a gravitas that is worthy of its occupiers. Sunlight streams through a central skylight, onto a single, substantial Champa tree - a dramatic, heightened nod to the biophilic design of the rest of the building.
The DP Jain Infra office building is one that successfully balances human and climatic needs through a design that is bold and still functional. The integrated approach of the SJK Architects team certainly sets a new benchmark for all major workspaces in the country.