Axis Engineers
Project: AXIS ENGINEERS Period of construction: feb2008- may 2009 Area: 3000 sq.ft per floor No. of floors: 3 floors Construction materials: RCC, std. bricks, glass, steel Location: Hyderabad IND Lat: 17.5? Lng: 78.5?(+5.5) Situated on the Deccan Plateau, Hyderabad, capital of Andhra Pradesh (a prominent state in India) has a Wet-Dry climate (in Köppen Climatic classification) with temperatures, the summer average high of 39°c (102°F), the winter average high as 28°c (83°F), and an average high rainfall of 162.6 mm. The site is in Jeedimetla Industrial Area, as the name suggests it features large and small industrial units, located in the north-west part of Hyderabad city. The design is the outcome of three main criteria. Firstly, all along the year heat is consistent and the temperatures are high with dry winds. The Industrial area and its heavily polluted environment is another concern. The pollution is to be found in two major forms- noise, and raising dust and chemicals in the air, eventually resulting in acid rains at the first shower. The location of the site allocated for the building is at the far end of an elongated narrow stretch of plot (allotted for fabrication and storage of steel under an industrial shed with its own freight traffic) is to be organized and oriented for a hustle-free flow of administrative traffic. The Site dimensions are 12.2mX36.6m (40’X120’), with North-East orientation. The design is a form within form with the outer layer protecting the inside from the external problems and the inner layer providing for the functions inside. The inspirational solution to all these issues were found in the Indian Temple architecture, where the transition through space, from light to dark, from free to rigid, from ground to plinth, from worldly problems to inner peace is considered as purification process to reach- the core where the deity is housed, and the ‘inner-space’ in solitary. The façade thus is a ‘double skin’ throughout the structure as an outcome of the above mentioned criteria. The ‘Outer Skin’ protects the inside from direct heat, dusty winds, noise and even the acid rains during monsoons. The white colour of it reflects most of the incident sun light. It is constructed in one brick thick rat-trap bond, which further reduces the temperature by 5°c along with reducing the cost of construction by 25%. The buffer zone between the two skins is 0.6m (2’).This skin allowed larger openings in the inner skin. Since the summers are hotter and winters are hot, this system works all along the year in reducing the temperature indoors. It is an innovative sun blocker giving the form its dignity and yet catering to the problem of temperature in the hot climate. The commonly found sun shades have been discarded here becoming an innovative design in the region! The ‘vertical Breaks’ in the façade are a result of visibility, ventilation and lighting issues. They are addressing the concern for lighting and ventilation indoors, since the double skin and the presence of a high industrial shed in the front darkens it. Since the site is a narrow strip of just 12.2m (40’) wide, cross ventilation and lighting (direct and diffused) can be easily maintained throughout the day. While addressing the issue of orientation and visibility on the site, Visibility through them (breaks) helps in controlling the freight traffic and the work progress on the site. Hence, security of the cargo is maintained at two levels, one at the entry gate, second at the administration building. ‘Patterns and Textures’ on the façade add a tinge of interest to the form, breaking the monotonous solid white faces. The horizontal patterned texture on the face is another way of reducing the flow of dust to the indoors of the building. These patterns and dust filled texture add to the beauty of the building as it ages from white to ivory to shades of brown. The patterns which connect the punctures on the façade in parallel lines run all along the building as energy lines in the theme colour of the industry, depicting the importance of the communication industry they are backing by steel fabrication of towers. Functionally they form the rain drains from the top to the channels at the bottom collecting the rain water. These rain-water collection channels are directed to the inner strata of earth for refilling it. This process of refilling has been enhanced by raising the building platform and by not disrupting the natural flow of the terrain slope. These punctures are having a height definition- level at sitting position, and standing position. Hence the diffused light has been controlled in a conscious way by strategically placing the punctures as for requirement. The building has been raised on raft foundation following the principles of Indian temple architecture (and due to the loose soil on the site) due to which it is higher than the normal ground level by 0.9m (3’). This height retains the natural terrain, hence is in agreement with the rain water flow. The outer filleted skin is raised over the plinth by 0.3m (1’) giving it a floating presence. The conceptuality of these segments is that they maintain hierarchy of width in the function happening inside, the thickest being the spaces for the important tasks and ranks. This gives the people entering the building through the transition a feel of entering a sacred place. The transition through spaces has been maintained in vertical distribution to define the hierarchy of the administrative staff from many to the few. The top floor housing the highest rank then coming down to the ground floor housing the administrative staff. The segmented form is new to the region, in a formal way, since the idea of office building in the region is held to be a solid, block of space, not catering to the specific requirements of the people working in it.


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