The Crafted Workspace
Industrial I Karur, Tamil Nadu
The attempt has been to build locally for a global context, using local materials, labour, and technology to create a very much part of a global market, functionally and aesthetically.
Client Synergy Lifestyles Pvt. Ltd.
Area 30,000 Sq. ft
Status Completed 2004
Photographer Pallon Daruwalla
Team Shimul Javeri Kadri, Vaishali Shankar,
Rubel Dhuna, Sonali Bhargava
This factory for a home textile company is located in a hot dry town in Tamil Nadu called Karur. Synergy lifestyles wanted us to build a comfortable environment for their factory workers. Our need to create a cocoon that would protect the microenvironment within from the harsh environmental conditions outside like heat and glare helped us derive our basic architectural shell structure that would be a joy to work with despite the hot and dry climate of Tamil Nadu state in India.
We studied the local architecture and climate and developed a building that is linked with courtyards, small and big, and passive energy-saving building technologies. We discovered that this little town had an interesting history of gable walls, a local stone quarry and many other traditions of country-wood joinery for doors, an entire village that specializes in metal hardware for locks and hinges, etc.
The entire building has been cocooned in 18” thick random rubble masonry walls which is a good insulator of heat that helped in cordoning off excessive heat and had an added advantage of not requiring any plaster or paint over the exterior surface. We chose to go with a vaulted roof over clear storey’s that allow shaded north-south light.
The roof was built using hollow terracotta blocks which were fitted within a grid of precast RCC ribs, which were spanned between semi-circular beams of steel. A thin cement screed with a china mosaic finish over it completed the roof construction, making it economical, light-weight, and cutting out several degrees of heat gain. Several small and large courtyards on the west reduce afternoon heat gain by providing a vegetation buffer. The west also brings in the winds, which are filtered by the plants and trees of the courtyard.
The attempt has been to build locally for a global context, using local materials, labour, and technology to create a very much part of a global market, functionally and aesthetically. However, our ultimate payback has been the end user’s response wherein. “The production has risen two-fold”!
By Claus Peter Gast