Location: Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
The 'Karkhana' for Karika at NOIDA, U.P. has been designed and built in two phases, separated by almost thirty years.
The first phase, built in the early 1980s, was designed to accommodate traditional block and screen printing activity within an ambience reminiscent of its 'haveli - karkhana' past.
The design was evolved around the need for passive climate control, as air conditioning was unaffordable and evaporative cooling with its excessive humidity, undesirable for the printing process, in terms of the natural drying of colours.
The printing hall, the major space of the design, is a hall of about 20 metres by 24 metres, with a 1,1/2 floor height. The hall has tall windows on 3 sides and punctured by a central courtyard of 6 metres by 6 metres. The printing tables are organized around the courtyard and have good natural light and cross ventilation from the tall windows and the courtyard. Glass brick skylights built into the roof in each structural bay reinforce and even out the natural light on the printing tables.
To minimize heat gain in the hot summer, the roof is insulated with inverted 'ghadas' (clay pots) built into the roofing system.
The design of the tall windows around the printing hall addresses the need for hot air outlets at the roof level, cool air inlets at the body level, natural light on the printing tables and protection from the sun and rain.
The basement below the printing hall is transformed into a colonnaded verandah by cutting and sloping down the earth around the 'basement' to bring in natural light and air, and physically link inside to outside. A skylight in the courtyard of the printing hall above brings light into the heart of the basement, becoming a virtual courtyard around which ancillary functions such as the dyeing of 'thans' of cloth in large vats, workers' lounges and eating spaces, revolve.
The roof of the printing hall provides the much needed open space on this tight industrial plot for drying the 'thans' of dyed cloth.
Thirty years ago, a front block which was to contain administrative and management offices and a space for buyers for placing export orders, was left unbuilt, owing to budget constraints; these functions were temporarily accommodated at the mezzanine level.
The unbuilt part of Phase 1 was re-designed and built for the next generation of owners starting in 2010. Besides the administrative and managerial spaces, the new phase was also required to accommodate a designers' studio and a retail outlet. Designed on 3 floors including the 'basement', the new extension continues the earlier themes of the courtyard, the opened out basement and the traditional 'haveli' ambience, albeit with a new, though harmonious, vocabulary of materials, textures and elements, as in a natural sequence of organic growth.