Brinda Somaya is a well-known architect and conservationist who bridged the gap between the Post- Independence and Contemporary architecture. She pursued her bachelor’s from JJ College of Architecture in Mumbai, a prestigious college in India. She then decided to pursue her Master’s degree in Architecture from Smith College, Massachusetts. In the initial years of her career, working under a firm didn’t quite pique her interest. So she began her practice which grew with time. She collaborated with her sister to form Somaya and Kalappa Consultants (SNK), a well-established firm in the present day. Ar. Brinda Somaya spent most of her time, traveling around the world. This inspired her to create some of the beautiful masterpieces she has created around India.
Architects of the pre-Independence period inspired her to evolve her built forms which are of the vernacular style. She uses local and indigenous materials like stone and brick to give her buildings a traditional character. The built spaces are a contemporary mix of solids and voids as they are interrupted with pergolas, apertures, and cutouts. Her projects include fragments of built form which flow into each other using landscaping and shading elements. She believed that landscape served a bigger purpose in terms of the functional aspects rather than just the aesthetics. She also mentioned in an interview that both form and function are inseparable entities. One needs to develop the form based on the requirements of the building. A deep understanding of the context and research is what often shapes her design. She also believes that it is important to understand what people want.
A famous project in which she was involved was the World One Towers in Mumbai. Her team worked in collaboration with Pei Cobb Freed and Partners. The World One towers is the tallest residential tower in the world. It is a 17-acre estate situated at the heart of Mumbai, near the Arabian Sea. The building consists of three massive towers which curve into each other forming a cloverleaf configuration. This in turn creates different iterations of spatial arrangement that break the monotony of the luxury apartments and the spaces within. The façade is a composition of glass and steel that provides a visual connection between the interior and the exterior. The entry to the residential complex is through an avenue that blends into a concentric courtyard. The courtyard consists of a cascading fountain and a driveway that loops around three drop-off points to the building. A flower garden complements the fountain creating a spectacular view.
The building has a total number of 117 floors housing three and four-bedroom apartments. All of these apartments are planned based on 11 different typologies. Each of these apartments has a living room that visually opens up into a large expanse of the cityscape. The living room leads to a casual dining area and a formal dining area, both acting as sun decks. The kitchen has an additional dining area along with dry and wet areas. The bedrooms are connected to lavish spa-like bathrooms. Each of the sky residences has access to a kid’s room, gym area, and a cigar room. The interiors have a tinge of the European style of architecture embedded in silk carpets, Italian marble flooring, gold leafing, and handcrafted crystal chandeliers along with high ceilings and spacious balconies which give the spaces a rustic look. Apart from the private apartments, a variety of leisure spaces have also been provided at different levels. The Sixth Sense Spa and club is one of them which provides spa, fitness, entertainment, and relaxation making it a multifunctional space. One can relax in a pool of water while watching a movie at the same time!
Apart from these amenities, a temperature-controlled swimming pool, gym, cricket pitch, tennis court, billiards, and pool room are all provided for sports leisure. Additional landscaping juts out at different levels consisting of a Garden zone, Kids’ zone, and Sports zone along with art and culture spaces. The Garden zone comprises lush greenery, small ponds, green walls, a herb garden, an urban farm, a pavilion, and an open-air theatre. The Kids’ zone resembles a mini-park with interesting spaces. People indulge in various kinds of sports ranging from rock climbing to athletics. A unique addition to this design is the presence of an art gallery, library, and reading garden. A juice bar and an ice cream parlor provide refreshments for the residents.
This project is an eye-opener in terms of a post-pandemic design where a business center has been provided where the residents can work and remain close to their apartments. A sky lounge and dedicated relaxation rooms are also provided for the residents to relax as and when they want to. Access to convenience stores and medical facilities is also a bonus for the people living here. An advanced security system of X-ray scanning for vehicular entry and biometric access to each apartment has been provided to ensure the maximum safety of the residents. What’s more astonishing is all of these spaces are just accommodated within three adjoined towers supported by a unique structural system, making it the first mega-structure in India. The buildings ensure maximum structural safety and protection against seismic or fire-related damages. Despite having a wide range of amenities, the building complex has been designed to be Gold LEED certified through the use of solar energy and rainwater harvesting which proves how efficiently the architects have looked into every tiny detail to make it a successful project. To live in the World One Towers would indeed be a dream come true!
- Lodha World Towers Mumbai from https://lodhaworldtowers.in/
- World One from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_One
- World One Towers-Mumbai-Architecture from https://www.snkindia.com/