The planned Reservoir project, by the distinguished firm Sanjay Puri Architects, is a hundred-thousand square foot tiered office space following the form defined by the natural water collection pool.

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©Sanjay Puri Architects

Project Name: Reservoir
Studio Name: Sanjay Puri Architects
Project Size: 100,000 sq. ft.
Completion Date: n/a
Location: Rajasthan, India

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©Sanjay Puri Architects

Concept

The site is located in Rajasthan, India’s hottest state and home to the majority of the Thar Desert. Sanjay Puri Architects, acknowledging the scantiness of water to the region, planned the proposed development to surround a naturally formed recess. The team drew inspiration from ancient stepwells prevalent for over five thousand years in the Indian and Pakistani landscape to accommodate the fluctuation in access to rainwater. 

The stepped well in Modhera, Gujarat (1026 AD) and the stepped well in Chand Baori, Rajasthan (800 AD) were both cited as precedents for Reservoir. This calculated positioning allows the space to have year-round access to water, eliminating the need for additional sources. 

Not only do stepwells serve a functional purpose by ensuring adequate supply levels for a basic necessity, but these spaces often become spaces for socialization due to the cooler climate within the well. This deliberately planned arrangement is dual-purpose as it works to reduce energy usage by lowering the temperature inside the cavity and create thermal comfort for the office tenants.

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RenderOfInteriorProposedOfficeSpace ©Sanjay Puri Architects

Sustainability Goals

Sanjay Puri Architects have demonstrated a clear goal towards sustainability in their projects, with the Reservoir being no exception. The structure is oriented to maximize energy efficiency, with the volume of the structure being located on the north-facing sections. 

Daylight flows through each space through floor-to-ceiling windows with varying floor heights, limiting the need for artificial lighting.  Solar panels form in clusters on the green roof, providing energy for the office activities. Runoff water from the well is collected and routed to serve the interior office space’s needs, as well as the surrounding township. 

Program

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Entering the structure from the access roads through one of the two provided entrances, users will be greeted by parking spaces. At the entry-level, a business center sits on the innermost corner. In the center of each axis of the project lays a service core, transporting users to one of the six levels of office space. 

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©Sanjay Puri Architects

Each office space is provided access to the interior terraces surrounding the well, with scattered greenery bonding together the user with nature. Connections between the language of Reservoir and similar Sanjay Puri projects can be made. Prestige University and The Guild share a similar language with the Reservoir by forming a stepped landscape with lush greenery and terrace space. 

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CommunityGatheringSpace_©Sanjay Puri Architects

On the south side of the cavity, opposite of the office volumes, stepped terraces create a space to be enjoyed by residents of the surrounding community. 

Structure

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The material to be used in the project is Chittorgarh sandstone, local to Rajasthan. Known for the smooth finished surface, it is a common building material for the area. Utilizing local materials for projects is very beneficial, as it reduces fossil fuels used to transport the material, and helps to support the local economy. 

The earth supports the structure through raised berms, which create the sheltered parking space on the northern side of the structure. Smaller berms will be used on the southern side of the structure, which gives the structure the sloped roof. This form was guided by the natural contours of the site. 

Awards/ Recognition for the project

Sanjay Puri Architects have achieved proof of concept, and international recognition for the proposal- Reservoir:

  • 2016 – Winner in the Commercial Category in The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture
  • & Design’s International Architecture Awards
  • 2016 – Winner of Future Commercial Project Category in the Cityscape Awards for Architecture
  • in the Emerging Markets, Dubai
  • 2016 – Highly Commended in the Commercial Category in the PLAN Awards, Venice
  • 2016- Winner of the Jury Award as well as the Popular Choice Award for the Best
  • Un-built Concept worldwide, in the Azure Awards, Toronto
  • 2016 – Winner of 22nd Cycle Award in the World Architecture Community Awards, U.K.
  • 2016 – Winner of the Public choice in the Architizer A+ Awards, New York
  • 2015 – Winner of Best Future office Building of the Year  in the World Architecture Festival,
  • Singapore
  • 2015 – Winner of the Best Future Building of the Year in the Leading European Forum
  • Architects Award (LEAF), London
  • 2015 – Commendation in Offices Category in the MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project
  • Awards, Cannes, France
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©Sanjay Puri Architects

Through strategic placement, a successful study of precedent stepwells, and sustainable goals, Sanjay Puri Architects have created what will be a successful shared office and community space in Rajasthan. While the date for completion of this project remains unknown, I encourage readers to plan a visit!

Katharine Woehler
Author

Katharine Woehler is pursuing an environmental design degree in her final semester of the undergraduate program with Texas A&M University in the United States. Her interests include changing the way humans interact, both with each other and the environment.

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