The veteran architect, Ar. Shimul Javeri Kadri has been setting standards and changing the perspective of design practices since 1997 when she set up her architectural firm SJK Architects. The firm has an energy-conscious design approach where sun, wind, and nature can be used as an advantage. Her designs incorporate sustainability, natural materials, local construction techniques, and a user-centric approach. The firm has won various national and international awards, including Prix Versailles Award, 2016, and World Architecture Festival Award, 2012.
This project, Nirvana Film Studio, is an office space for an ad film production company, designed and built in 2011 in Bangalore city in an approximate area of 8000sq.ft. The ad film company which has produced ads like the Vodafone Zoozoos and Incredible India thinks outside the box and needed spaces that could enhance their creativity and reflect a similar approach. The design team achieved an 8000sq.ft. built-up area on a site of 3000sq.ft. Allowable Floor Space Index (FSI), site setbacks, and optimizing spaces enabled the team to achieve this built-up area. The budget of this project was approximately 2.25 crores including all services and interiors.
The requirement of the client was a space that would enhance the creative bends of the employees and not a space that would create a formal corporate environment. Space was required that would help the employees focus on their work and simultaneously relax them as well and provide a positive environment. The design concept for this workspace is based on the thought that the connection of synapses creates ideas—not privacy or isolation.
This building is a box-shaped structure that is placed in a small corner plot in the busy area of Indiranagar, Bangalore. Since it was a corner plot, open along its south and west side, a design core in form of a center staircase acting as a north-south connector slicing the building was provided with a huge skylight above it. Just like a courtyard, in another type of project, the center design core provides natural light and ventilation to space, creating a relaxing and nature-interactive environment. Despite the constraints of the real estate, this project is so designed that this building uses almost no electricity for its lighting and ventilation.
The facades create a blur between inside and outside, work and non-work spaces. The mixed-use of fixed glass and openable acrylic louvers that modulates light, wind, and rain connect the interior spaces with the outside environment making the spaces visually merge into each other. The notion of wall and window are interchanged on this dynamic façade as the walls are open and the windows are solid.
The staircase needed a flexible permeable device to block rain and allow light and wind. An 18’ high wood and clear acrylic jail made up of 6” wide louvers interlocked with each other was installed so that they could move together to naturally ventilate the stairwell.
Architect Shimul Javeri Kadri designed the building in such a way that the building used almost no electricity for ventilation and lighting. There is no HVAC system installed in the building except for the post-production space where machinery and computers heat the space and need an extra cooling system. Natural lighting is enough for lighting during the daytime but a proper artificial lighting system has been installed for late working hours. Fluorescent tube lights are installed in the task-oriented spaces whereas LEDs in the multifunctional relaxing spaces.
Rainwater is collected from the roof-top and channelized through pipes towards the borewell that helps to recharge the underground water. Rainwater from the west side is collected in a pond on the stilt level and used for landscaping. To reduce water consumption and wastage dual flush mechanism tanks and sensor taps are used.
There are three main materials used in the building: wood, glass, and concrete, keeping the structure light and raw. The building roof is a concrete soffit slab as there is no false ceiling or any gypsum boards, thus reducing the cost of construction. RCC flat slabs for the roof, waterproofed in brickbat Coba with cement screed as top coat forming thread cut panels, were inclined to take into consideration the rainwater downtake pipes. The top surface has an additional white thermoplastic coating to reflect the heat, which helps to maintain an ambient temperature of the floor below.
The flooring is made out of in-situ grey cement polished with in-situ oil. Granite stone is used for stilts and black granite in bathrooms. Special care has been taken to avoid any sort of wastage and every piece of stone is used either on the floor or as the dado. The walls are made water-resistant by executing a backing coat of cement plaster with white cement-based putty that binds the base plaster avoiding the pain of being flaky even when walls are damping.
The furniture used in this building is all locally refurbished and reused. Even the doors and windows in this building are old salvaged furniture acquired from local markets. Old Burma wood is used for treads and seats and all the other small furniture like dustbins, mats, etc are made of reusable materials like bamboo and banana fiber.
Native plants like Bamboo, Foxtail Palms, Ficus tree, and Heliconias are grown as they consume less water and are easy to maintain in their local habitats. The existing Mango Tree on the site is integrated with the service staircase. The wet garbage from the building is processed into vermicompost and manure which is used for landscaping.
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