Architect Aamir Sharma, responding to his client's brief, builds a Platinum Rated Green office in Hyderabad, with an elevation in the classical style AND an aviary!
Photographs: Sameer Chawda, Courtesy the architect Oriyan artisans were commissioned to make an attention getting cement mural in the aviary. To secure the birds, metal frames with mesh all around have been used, so that natural air, wind and sunlight are allowed in. The elevation, with a 17 ft ceiling height and sloping roofs with red tiles on the first floor, lends the facade a classic look.
Says Aamir a bit bemusedly, "We were approached a year ago by Tejaswini and Harish Chandra Prasad to design an office building on a flat 4,000 sq yd plot. I was quite surprised with my brief: Harish told me he wanted a classical style facade, an aviary because he loved birds and the building definitely had to be green. Apart from that, the clients" business comprises power plants, AGRI and real estate, and Harish wanted all of them to be reflected in the interiors. The most challenging part for the architect was creating a green building as he had never done one before but, declares Aamir, "I love challenges and took this one head on. Today it stands as a Platinum Rated Building.
"The 30-ft-high aviary was located on the rear side and as we wanted it to look like a courtyard, we kept the landscaping to a minimum, with one tree, just a few rocks and a lot of chips on the floor, for ease of maintenance and also to conceal the bird droppings. Every area on the ground and first floor, in fact, the entire office including the landscaped areas, all overlook the aviary."
The elevation, with a 17 ft ceiling height and sloping roofs with red tiles on the first floor, lends the facade a classic look. The ground floor has the reception, conference room, lounge areas and MD's cabin, while both the ground and first floors have work stations and cabins with the latter overlooking the aviary at the rear and the lawn in front.
The whole corridor adjoining the front lawn was treated in the British Colonial style with large columns and arches overlooking the lawn where the clients entertain.
"The Green Building specifications had a lot of DOs and DON'Ts and specifications regarding the materials which could be used. To meet these norms, we decided to opt for as many recycled materials as we could. Although the client was particular about the elevation, he had gave us a free hand with the interiors.
"For the framework of the aviary where glass was used, we used discarded old teak beams which we bought from auctions. Oriyan artisans were called in to make a cement mural in the aviary, and to keep the birds safe, we installed metal frames with mesh all around, which allow natural light, sunshine and air to flow through.
"The office too is designed keeping green norms in mind. All the plywood and laminates are from a green company. The client helped source rocks discarded by builders, which we picked up and placed at stategic points all over the aviary at the time of the construction itself. We dropped one rock in the conference room and built the conference table around the rock facing the aviary."
The whole design concept revolves around stone, wood and glass which are highly contemporary in nature. A lot of dead walls and columns had projections - these were clad with stone, most of which were made out of river pebbles by friend, Ashwin from Rockraft. When lit at night, the effect is fabulous.
The reception counter is suspended from the ceiling with the help of scrap metal and all the furniture too, is custom-designed with scrap metal, green ply and laminate. The landscaping was done under the architect's supervision and guidance by in-house landscape artist Dinesh. "We wanted to have a water feature in the aviary, so Dinesh created a waterfall where the birds come to quench their thirst.
The ceiling of the office area on the top floor has cement sheets with exposed AC ducts, coloured matt black. Power efficient LED lights are used all over.
The client had wanted sculptures depicting the five "Pancha Bhootas" ie Sun, Water, Wind, Air and Earth. These were created by artists using scrap metal from motor vehicles.
Says Aamir proudly, "The office structure is one of our finest works. We overcame all the challenges that were put to us and created what we set out to do - a Platinum Rated Building.
The corridor adjoining the front lawn was treated in the British Colonial style with large columns and arches overlooking the lawn where the clients often entertain.
"We placed one rock in the conference room and built the conference table around this rock, facing the aviary." Sculptures depicting the "Pancha Bhootas" or Sun, Water, Wind, Air and Earth were commissioned and created by using scrap metal from motor vehicles.
The client helped source rocks that were discarded by builders which we picked up and used, placing them strategically all over the aviary as well as in other areas. The reception counter is suspended from the ceiling with the help of scrap metal - in fact, all the tables and chairs were designed using scrap metal, green ply and green laminates.
Stone, wood and glass have been liberally used, to create a contemporary look. Every area on the ground and first floor, in fact, the entire office including the landscaped areas, all overlook the aviary.
The ceiling of the office area on the top floor has cement sheets with exposed AC ducts, coloured matte black.