Lower Parel in Mumbai became a desolate run-down mill area as strikes and new technology resulted in the closure of several textile mills. However, many of these old buildings are structurally sound and have brute architectural strengths and sensibilities. Our task entailed the conversion of certain ancillary buildings in the Kamala Mills compound into a contemporary office complex. Dilapidated existing buildings that served as a manager's house, crche, grain store, kitchen and toilets had to be converted into a modern computerized office without altering the original footprint The new requirements included a showroom for buyers as well as ancillary spaces to support the design and manufacture of garments, including tailoring and sampling. In addition, the owner's personal office along with his secretaries and general administration area had to be accommodated. There had to be a metamorphosis of the old buildings into four contemporary pavilions.
We tried to create a simple yet elegant unfolding of spaces. The landscaping interconnects the built-up spaces to give a feeling of depth to the complex. The advantage of being the architects and interior designers for the majority of our projects gives us the ability to ensure a continuity of design within the buildings, which we successfully achieved in this structure as well. The important aspects of this conversion were: 1. The visual importance of the complex in the urban context that led to the preservation of the street line. 2. The social impact of the building with its changed use. After the conversion, the NRK House certainly worked as a catalyst for upgradation of other buildings on the street. Lower Parel slowly became an acceptable corporate address. 3. The design quality of the conversion won it an award for progressive conservation. NRK House won the URBAN HERITAGE AWARD awarded by the Indian Heritage Society for Progressive Conservation in 1990.