When the A.V. Birla Group, one of India's leading business houses sought to establish their new corporate headquarters in the heart of Mumbai city, the existent Rhone Poulene House, set in Worli seemed ideal. Their brief to the architect was to remodel and add to the R.P. House.
The 4-storey structure housed 4 rectilinear blocks, which were 30 to 70 years old. These structures required connections between its wings. The brief abo entailed inclusion of additional parking, work area and chairman's office. The architect initially sought to create a new aesthetic and took a critical decision of abandoning all the older expressions of the structure.
The newly added atrium connects all the blocks and houses the staircase and elevators. This new atrium featuring a showy chandelier is the centre of all activities. An extra floor was added due to the availability of larger consumable area. This addition is designed in steel and glass in an attempt to limit the load on the existing structure. To shield this sole element of glass, a system of protection is devised with a projecting wing-like element that is topped with frosted glass. These metal wings dominate the exterior of the building.
The entrance podium features a stainless steel sculpture emblematically representing a man throwing a sun indicating the presence of the A.V. Birla brand around the world. The well-landscaped podium houses the parking below and functions as a private entry for the chairman, directors and senior executives. An exclusive entrance to the chairman's office, features a glass bridge set over a water body.
The significance of this project lies in the fact that it actually is a refashioning of an existing structure. The ultimate result breaks conventional preconceived notion that one has about retrofits and alterations made on existing buildings. In the end, the contemporary architecture of the building has a sense of reverence for the past and the design also manages to present a new image that the company seeks to project.