This 40,000 sq. ft. office building for a minerals company is located in Madri – the industrial district of Udaipur city in Rajasthan, India.

Client: Wolkem India Limited
Total Covered Area: 40,000 square feet
Year:  2008-2010
vir.mueller architects:
Partners in Charge:
Christine Mueller
Pankaj Vir Gupta

Structural / Civil Engineer: Chandresh Bapna
Mechanical Engineer: Panaj Dharkar Associates
Electrical Engineer: Harshad Jhaveri Associates
Plumbing Engineer: Chandresh Bapna

Photographs: Andre J. Fanthome

Wolkem India Limited By vir.mueller architects - Sheet2
©Andre J. Fanthome

The design solution for the new office building for Wolkem India Ltd, in Udaipur – Rajasthan, emerged from simple principles – all employees must have direct access to natural light and ventilation, the materials used should require minimal maintenance, and energy efficiency of the building should be maximized.

Wolkem India Limited By vir.mueller architects - Sheet5
©Andre J. Fanthome

Our aesthetic vocabulary amplifies these principles. Designed as a reinforced concrete frame structure, the east and west facades are dry clad with local Dholpur sandstone over infill brick masonry cavity walls with an air-gap to optimize insulation. The overhang of the entry is calibrated such that a minimum of sunlight directly penetrates the building, screening it from the scorching arid climate.

The insulated glazing on the north and south facades is shaded by balconies and sandstone fins. The executive wing, sited in the north east corner of the site, has a view of the desert hills. Given the climate, all wastewater and sewage are treated in an on-site sewage treatment plant and used to cultivate a walled garden.

Wolkem India Limited By vir.mueller architects - Sheet8
©Andre J. Fanthome

Rainwater collected from the terrace is filtered through sand and charcoal filters and stored in a cistern for use in the toilets. Sited in an arid climate, the building remains grounded in a courtyard oasis – with trees casting dappled shadows on stone walls, and the sound of water echoing from a reflecting pool.

vir.mueller architects

Founded in 2003 by partners Christine Mueller and Pankaj Vir Gupta, the office of vir.mueller architects combines architectural research, education, and practice. Prior to establishing the firm, both partners worked for renowned architectural offices in the United States, Europe, and India. vir.mueller architects strives to create timeless aesthetic relationships, evoking the spirit of contemporary culture, ecology, and technology. According primacy to the process of design, our work evolves as a response to the particular character of each program, site, and budget. At every scale, the firm emphasizes the integrity of material and craftsmanship, establishing a fundamental relationship between the physical environment, and the art of making architecture. The professional work of vir.mueller architects has been widely published and awarded – in North America, in Europe, and in India.

In 2015, vir.mueller architects were selected by an international jury as one of the FIFTY UNDER FIFTY – innovators of the twenty first century. In 2014 vir.mueller architects received the Fritz-Höger Award for Excellence in Brick Architecture. The firm has received awards from the American Institute of Architects, the Foundation for World Education, the George Nakashima Foundation for Peace and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

Currently the office is pursuing a range of institutional and residential projects. Recent projects include the Humayun’s Tomb Site Museum for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture – the first contemporary museum in India to be built on a World Heritage Site. The project has been included in the international WOW (works of wonder) list by Architectural Digest.


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