18.2.2010

RC Office Complex, in Mumbai

Ubicada al sur del Aeropuerto Internacional de Mumbai, Kurla es un área compuesta predominantemente por casas y bloques industriales. A diferencia de otros estados industriales previamente planificados, con claras zonas funcionales, en Kurla éstas son ambiguas. A lo largo de los años esto ha producido una mezcla de programas altamente rica y texturada. Sin embargo, la transformación en curso de Kurla, hoy en día se caracteriza por la proliferación incesante de nuevos edificios de oficinas de 5-6 plantas como estrategia de parte de grupos empresariales para importar la imagen de la CDB en esta pequeña y antigua zona industrial. Teniendo que incorporar 10.000 m2 de espacio de oficinas, nuestro proyecto trata de resistir la tendencia de crear una clara separación entre la esfera pública de la ciudad existente y la nueva exclusiva entidad corporativa.

Located just south of the Mumbai International Airport, Kurla can be seen as an area made up of predominantly cottage and light industrial blocks. Unlike other planned industrial estates, with clear functional zones, Kurla’s functional zones are ambiguous. This ambiguity, over the years has produced a ground plane that is higly rich and textured in its programmatic mix. However, the ongoing transformation of Kurla today is characterized by the relentless proliferation of new office blocks, where 5-6 storey office blocks typically adopt exclusive corporate lobbies as a strategy to import the image of the CBD into this former small industrial area.

Taking on the same brief for the provision of 10,000sqm of office space, our project seeks to resist this tendency to create clear separation between the public sphere of the existing city and the projected exclusive corporate entity. To articulate this strategy our proposal begins with the rethinking of the lobby and atrium of typical office blocks. The RC Office can be seen as a single office block, sliced open into 2 smaller blocks but brought back together by a public void. The main atrium and lobby space comprising the new public void are conceived as a series of rotating volumes articulated by ruled surfaces. At each rotation, the atrium and lobbies take on a different programmatic role. Starting from the ground, the typically exclusive corporate lobby is transformed into a public promenade, connecting LBS Road on the west side of the site to the existing lake on the north. As the atrium rotates upwards, it dispenses other public programs along its ruled surface – cafes, roof decks, lounges and a gym – and culminates with a roof deck that acts as a viewing platform towards the lake. Additional ramps and bridges slice across and glide on the ruled surfaces of the atrium, allowing connection between one block to another, thereby enabling a flexible partitioning of the office floors. The rotational atrium also acts as a light catcher, drawing light along its rotation, illuminating the ruled surface and reflecting light into the heart of the building.

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With the rotating public void as the focus of the proposal, the elevation of the building of the proposal is conceived to be discontinuous from the elevation of the void. The external elevation will be draped by sheets of bronze curtains acting as a soft bris soleil and sound insulation over the inner curtain wall.

Thus the project seeks to rethink the corporate block in the context of the city. By wresting the corporate lobby out into the city and turning it public, the project attempts to embed the office block into the existing public networks of the city and also seed new public spaces and amenities, enhancing the existing structure of the city without romanticizing its dysfunctional chaos.

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