Karl Wadia, senior associate, Architect Hafeez Contractor, delivered the keynote address at the 7th Smart Office India Summit 2019 held at St Regis Mumbai. Wadia spoke on “informed design”, a concept that the firm follows when designing offices and workplace buildings. “The creation of a built environment involves not just developing the plan, section and elevation but also considering the site’s geography, immediate environment and an overall design that is efficient and energetic,” he said.
Architect Hafeez Contractor conceptualised the Ascendas’s capital land at Amravati for a government competition. Wadia showed the design entry that consisted of residential, commercial and hospitality blocks along with a recreational park. For a seamless connection between the park and the buildings, located on either side of the public road, the design team created a landscaped ‘Ribbon’ path and topped it with galleries and shaded walkways to encourage movement. “The climate, wind patterns and sun paths of Amravati were studied thoroughly. We carried out a detailed ‘irradiation study’ for developing the facade with cleverly integrated shading systems for solar and temperature control,” explained Wadia. Plus, solar panels, intelligent fins and indoor plants made the whole design more comfortable and efficient.
The second project that Wadia presented was a dense commercial development situated at Mumbai’s BKC. Food options, fitness centres, lockers and showers, indoor and outdoor workspaces, common lounge areas, shared conference spaces, retail zones, etc, had to be incorporated in a limited setting. “We decided on a twin-building concept, where the massing and floor plan options were derived on the basis of shading, climatology and wind directions. A huge central courtyard was modelled to bring a sense of openness and community appeal.”
Wadia, then, showcased an office building in Pune. After a detailed study of the site’s climatology, the team conceptualised a single atrium, around which different formal and informal spaces were laid out as part of an inclusive yet fulfilling design. He also touched upon some upcoming mixed-use development projects as well as several completed commercial projects from the firm’s portfolio.