Since its inception in 1988 as Yatin Patel & Associates, the firm under the aegis of its three directors Yatin Patel, Mehul Shah and Bimal Desai, is now known as DSP Design Associates Pvt Ltd. The firm has grown exponentially and undertaken several prestigious assignments of varying magnitudes and design styles. We feature two of their projects - a campus in Bangalore, and an office in Mumbai, which are completely different from each other, but bear their signature style.
One of the leading IT solutions providers in the country, i-flex Solutions, asked DSP Design Associates to design a campus in Bangalore to accommodate 1,500 of their employees. Their brief comprised only one line: 'Create an iconic building that will be a must see for everyone!'
Says Yatin, 'Our design took the brief one step further, as we decided to create a building that would reflect the values of the company.' The architects, realizing that transparency in the work environment enhances team spirit and interaction, made it the focus of their design concept. Spread over 200,000 square feet, the buildings and landscape seem to be like flowing extensions of each other, reflective of the holistic approach the architects wanted to portray.
The park comprises two blocks, the Development and Corporate blocks, linked by a common entrance and reception area. The facades are all in clear glass, allowing the landscaped exteriors to become an extension of the interior spaces, so that one is constantly in visual contact with nature. A water body wrapping around the buildings is the connecting element that ties them together to form a cohesive whole. There is also a natural lake adjacent to the campus, which along with the water body enhances the concept of transparency and blends the natural surroundings with the built forms.
The blocks themselves are designed with their own distinctive features. While the Development block is a three-sided building with a unique glass facade of point fixed glazing, the Corporate block is like a structural icon built with stay-cable technology. The common reception area, with its front and rear facades in double height clear glass also allows one to enjoy a view of the landscaped courtyard, with a waterfall acting as the backdrop.
Water has been used as a medium everywhere to evoke a feel of fluidity. As one enters the reception block, one steps over the water body that surrounds the building and which continues into the interior of the reception block under a glass floor. The glass floor, with the sight of the water flowing under it, adds to unifying the interior with the exterior.
The triangular shaped Development block has a transparent envelope that allows the exterior to be a part of the internal workspaces. The whole building is wrapped in frameless clear glass, supported on a point fixed glazing system made of spider fixtures and steel rods. The system is left exposed on the exterior and supported on slender, spaced out castellated columns, which further enhance the feeling of openness. Another striking characteristic of the facade is the way it curves in plan as well as in elevation, complemented by the system of glazing adopted from the skin's structure. Going up to six storeys with an expanding floor plate, the structure evokes the profile of a ship.
The Corporate block stands testimony to the translation of the client's design brief into reality. This is the first time in S-E Asia that the concept of stay-cable construction (normally used in bridges) has been attempted on a multi-tiered commercial building of this magnitude.
A central service core in RCC becomes the fulcrum from which 50 foot long floor plates are cantilevered to form the main usable office area. These floor plates, starting at the third level are suspended from the core with tension cables. Concrete boxes on the third, fifth and seventh floors are formed using virendel girders, which are held by cables on the fourth, sixth and the terrace levels.
Apart from the required structural members, all the floors are left transparent with clear glass facades. Thus by virtue of its design, three floors in this block have a cross-shaped plan and the two intermediate floors have circular floor plates. Landscaped terraces on these floors open up the interiors, and continue the design theme of blending the interior and the exterior spaces. This unique design element has eliminated the need for columns inside the building, thereby ensuring more space within the interiors and maximizing the usable space ratio of the building. The circulation areas have been placed along the periphery, so that the view outside is unrestricted.
Iflex Park is an example of what good architecture and great engineering can achieve. It is bold, innovative and state-of-the-art. In the architect's words, 'Architecture can act as a powerful tool of transformation and the designer's signature shapes that tool to create a bold statement.'