In Mumbai’s incompressible dimensions of its buildings’ footprints, there are thousands of emerging commercial buildings that shape the skyline. Merging with this conventional background, the design approach taken up by Oberoi Realty for its mixed-use complex, Oberoi Garden City (OGC), defies the prevalent continuity of planning and has developed a language of its own. The real-estate company has been a pioneer in creating the first mixed-use building of the country — Commerz, which houses Westin hotel, office spaces and retail facilities.
Behind the company’s impeccably marked journey through these years has been a team whose vision idealised every facet of its core principles. Led by Rajendra Chandorkar, EVP, Architecture & Design, Oberoi Realty, the team explains the genesis of Commerze II, the latest addition to the complex.
Setting a premise to the buildings context, Chandorkar illustrates its complete planning process. “Being a part of the landmark OGC, Commerz II stands within the area designated as ‘International Business Park’ alongside Commerz. Situated right off the edge of the Western Express Highway, Goregaon, the building is set amidst lush green Aarey plains and hills on one side and complemented by the ever-bustling highway on the other,” he states.
Simulating the design while adhering to the core brief, the designers generated an aesthetic plan to create a building that parallels an international standard workspace. The design response was to overlay an approach that evolved not only as an open floor but also a customisable floor plan that retained individual requirements of its corporate tenants. Chandorkar explains that this was achieved by splitting the core into two pockets on either side of the building. So, Instead of having a single core that included various services like lift shafts, stairwells, etc, surrounded by office spaces, the structure offers two separate pockets, with an expansive workfloor in the centre, which is serviced exclusively.
Additionally, the company invested in the latest destination-dispatch elevator system to efficiently manage traffic. “Once occupants or visitors swipe their card at the turnstile, a screen immediately informs them about which elevator they should board to get to the right floor. This eliminates the need for pushing buttons inside the elevator, while ensuring speedy travel with minimal stops. It also avoids crowding, and instead controls traffic, in the elevator and lift lobby,” explains Chandorkar.
Given that today’s workforce doesn’t conform to the 9-5 concept, another aspect that the architects addressed was plugging in a line-up of buzzing restaurants at the lobby level that extend beyond stipulated work hours. “So, if someone walks in or out of the tower at 11pm, they are greeted by the welcoming aroma of brewing coffee or their peers hanging out at one of the outlets. We realised that doing this will ensure employees do not feel isolated,” says Chandorkar.
Aside from this, the building’s infrastructure also houses a common cafeteria as well as gym facilities for its tenants. This means that companies can utilise their floor space to its full capacity for its core business functions.
The building envelope follows a well-devised system. The vast expanse of glass provides uninterrupted views of the outside, while also bringing in sunlight. To deal with the glare commonly found in glass buildings, Commerz II’s design addresses it with its orientation. The architects assert that the distance of each mullion was calculated in consideration with the sun path and efforts were focused at negating as much glare as possible. The elevation features a double-glazed unitised glass facade system.
By merely collating and reinterpreting its core deliverables and functions, this 30-storeyed commercial building now provides flexibility, efficiency and an undivided, methodical floor plate. The conceptive emergence of the project stemmed from the resourcefulness of the designers to build on their client’s requirements and a skilful manipulation of scale and mass. Simple transformative changes extend over the rigid structural framework of the building, delineating the key intention of breathing flexibility to enhance a relatively relaxed environ.
Project: Commerz II
Developer: Oberoi Realty
Location: Goregaon, Mumbai
Principal design architect: KPF, New York
Structural engineer: LERA, NY, USA; Sterling, Mumbai
Facade consultant: Meinhardt, Singapore
Geotechnical consultant: Langan, New York
Landscape consultant: Placemedia, Japan
Wind tunnel consultant: RWDI, Ontario, Canada
Parking consultant: Walker Parking Consultants, New York
Vertical transport: Fortune Elevators Consultants, New York
LEED consultant: En3 Sustainability Solutions, Chennai
Civil contractor: Larsen & Toubro
Aluminum and glass suppliers: Permasteelisa Group (facade contractor)
Elevators: OTIS Elevator Company