Towering structures have long been stalwarts of the architectural culture. Characterising the skies of their city, they masterfully manipulate a negligible footprint on ground. With an aim to deliver one such architectural landmark to one of India’s fastest growing city, Ahmedabad, the Indian segment of the internationally renowned Blocher Blocher Partners, based in Germany, designed the Mondeal Square, a container of commercial and retail spaces.
A fusion of art and streamlined engineering, the visually arresting complex is a 14-storeyed high structure that offers over 17,000 sq-m of total floor space.
The design transcends the ordinaries and clichés associated with the creation of commercial buildings and aims to portray a whimsical visual to the vertical manifestation. Contributing significantly to the lighting design, the unique concave façade that covers the expanse of 5,300 sq-m was designed with the intention to develop a textured façade skin responding to the environment by reflecting daylight and displaying its enigmatic nature at night with integrated lighting.
The ideation thus led to the quintessentially curved buildings with a striking curtain facade. Addressing the abundance of sunlight, the vertical struts and horizontal panes, made of white aluminium profiles, serve not only for a long-range effect but also for shade. As a contrast to the main façade, the rear side of the building, that houses the stairwell, is expressively more restrained with a horizontal lamella façade.
Built on a triangular footprint, the structure draws inspiration from its location – a site positioned at the intersection of two arterial highways of the city. Thus, taking advantage of the wide and open frontage, the exterior skin assumes a heightened significance since it is the first point of contact between the building and the context beyond. This dialogue was established by devising a facade that boasts of LED bands with a length of five kms. Lighting is an ever-changing quality in architecture and the relationship between light and architecture occurs inevitably.
Having programmed the country’s largest media faced, the LEDs can be lit completely and individually to display movement, colour sequences or even silhouettes of moving figures. The differently sized, large square openings of the rear façade also light up, and together with the illuminated plaza, bedecked with furniture, staircases and vegetation culminate in an illuminated crescendo. As described by the architects, “The buildings meet the passer-by with an inviting gesture – also because of the fusion of architecture and public space. The outdoor areas and staircases pick up on the height differences of the surroundings, and form an organic unit of plateaus and stepped landscape.” Despite the site’s urban outlook, careful curation of design, in its stark materials, is the narrative that the architects rendered to its surrounding landscape spruced up with palm trees.
The proclivity to blur the lines between architecture and interiors and their understated holistic approach to corporate design is apparent, right down to the resolution and detailing of the design.
The spatial treatment is expressed subtly with the use of wooden wall elements, exposed concrete ceilings light grey tiles and glass divisions. Light filters through a membranes that envelope the core and illuminates majority of the floorplates. Firm, but not loud, the uncomplicated interiors enables the employees and visitors with an openness in understanding the space and its functions.
The tectonic contrast between solidity and lightness is sharpened by the rippling efficacy of its facade. The volume primarily informed by this element plays out as a modernist idea of an interactive scale of architecture. In addition to its exterior phenomena and lateral transparencies, the buildings responds to the search of rethought in high-rise constructs—a theatrical monologue of architecture, ambience and dynamics.
About the architects:
Founded in 2009, Blocher Blocher India Pvt. Ltd, is the Asian subsidiary of the German-based company Blocher Blocher Partners. The expertise of Blocher Blocher India consists of a holistic approach. They focus on the whole process not just on the architectural concept. And develop holistic strategies - from the first concept to the realization. Being the one single source for a project, the company aims at rendering individualistic solutions. They start off with a close look at the company and its needs. However, this is not enough. The key to their design is that they embrace collaboration. Architects and project managers work closely together with the clients through an iterative and agile process. Moreover, the planners bring together the best of East and West – an amalgamation of two worlds.
Project Name: MONDEAL SQUARE
Type: An office and commercial building ensemble
Architecture / interior design: Blocher Blocher India Pvt. Ltd
Useable area:14,780 square metres
Sales floor area: 3,600 square metres
Levels: 14 storeys
Height: 40 metres
Total site area: 6.589 quadratmeter
LED-stripes at the facade:
Length Tower A: approx. 1.55 kilometres
Length Tower B: approx. 3.16 kilometres
LED installation: Atelier Dada, Ahmedabad
Client: Safal Realty Pvt. Ltd / Goyal & Co. Construction Pvt. Ltd