Charged Voids creates Office 543 in Punjab as an enlarged granite motif with openings

India-based Charged Voids designs a compact granite office on the outskirts of Chandigarh, reflecting a sense of tranquillity through its materiality.

by Sunena V MajuPublished on : Aug 06, 2022

Owing to their presence in the city of Chandigarh and a vigour to mark a dialogue between western modernism and elements of Indian architecture, the Panchkula-based practice Charged Voids has constantly drawn inspiration from the core principles of Le Corbusier, one of the pioneers of modern architecture. The firm led by Aman Aggarwal continues to explore this blend of contemporary and Indian principles beyond form and spatial parameters, extending the exploration to the materiality of design too. Contrasting with the idea of the free facade by Corbusier, in Office 543, the studio's latest project in Mohali, Charged Voids compact the facade with minimum openings that carefully peak into the streets but limit the visual transparency of the interiors. While the exterior box-like structure may drive the curious question of fenestrations, the architects open the structure skywards in the interior.

In the commercial city of Mohali, Charged Voids constructs a compact granite office that opens skywards | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
In the commercial city of Mohali, Charged Voids constructs a compact granite office that opens skywards Image: Purnesh Dev

In Punjab’s Mohali, another formally planned district in the state, Office 543 exists as a scaled-up granite motif that radiates a sense of calmness and serenity amid the babel of the busy commercial district. Perceived as a showcase for a construction company, the office, sits on a narrow 140 sq.m. plot and is designed to aid the necessary programmatic needs of the users for efficiency and spatial flexibility. Piercing through the bulkiness of the facade, the interiors are illuminated by natural light and lend levity through cross ventilation owing to the multiple skylights and small courtyards. Merging the client’s experience as a builder with the design philosophies of the architecture firm, the building is closed off from two sides with indoor pockets of green becoming a buffer between the interior and exterior spaces.

  • Envisioned as a closed box, the natural ventilation and illumination of Office 543 happens through the courtyards and multiple skylights | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    Envisioned as a closed box, the natural ventilation and illumination of Office 543 happens through the courtyards and multiple skylights Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla
  • The material palette comprising of white marble and Sivakasi gold granite provides a sense of calmness and a distinct character to the facade | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    The material palette comprising of white marble and Sivakasi gold granite provides a sense of calmness and a distinct character to the facade Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla
  • The interior design follows the serenity of the facade’s material and adorns the mood board with an earthy tone | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    The interior design follows the serenity of the facade’s material and adorns the mood board with an earthy tone Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla
  • Within the closed box-like structure of the office, the courtyards are used as a buffer between the interior and exterior | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    Within the closed box-like structure of the office, the courtyards are used as a buffer between the interior and exterior Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla

Within the L-shaped configuration of the spaces, a small reception, main office area and a private meeting room occupy the ground floor. Led through a floating metal staircase in the atrium, the lobby is connected to the first floor with the terrace, workspaces, and the office. Though the staircase design isn’t featured as a sculptural entity, the ‘floating’ metal brings forth an interesting perspective in exhibiting a modern stance that complements the more traditional materiality of granite and marble.

  • Within the white interiors, the Sivakasi gold granite lends subtle yet palatial aesthetics to the monotone of the office| Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    Within the white interiors, the Sivakasi gold granite lends subtle yet palatial aesthetics to the monotone of the office Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla
  • The beige tone granite with light brown veins and spots add to the dynamicity of the interior spaces | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    The beige tone granite with light brown veins and spots add to the dynamicity of the interior spaces Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla
  • Contrasting the compactness of the exterior, the activity spaces are adorned with floor-to-ceiling windows that maximise
    Contrasting the compactness of the exterior, the activity spaces are adorned with floor-to-ceiling windows that maximise the presence of natural light and ventilation Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla

While the architecture of Office 543 adopts straight lines, the oval-shaped private meeting area at the heart of the design introduces an element of emphasis and establishes a hierarchy within the otherwise conventional spaces of the office. “Openings between the various rooms are designed to connect the office's narrow spaces with the two courtyards that are planted with small trees. These courtyards and skylights bring in the elements of nature - wind, light and vegetation - and break the rigid geometry of the building elements,” share the architects.

  • The design opens the structure skywards while creating interesting courtyard spaces in the building | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    The design opens the structure skywards while creating interesting courtyard spaces in the building Image: Purnesh Dev
  • The oval-shaped private meeting area introduces an element of emphasis and establishes a hierarchy amid the rigid geometry of the office space | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    The oval-shaped private meeting area introduces an element of emphasis and establishes a hierarchy amid the rigid geometry of the office space Image: Purnesh Dev
  • The carefully placed openings in the interiors that overlook the blue skies, bring out the naturality of the granite while exposing it to the natural light | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    The carefully placed openings in the interiors that overlook the blue skies, bring out the naturality of the granite while exposing it to the natural light Image: Purnesh Dev

In the geometric plan, the material palette becomes an integral feature of the design. The muted appearance of white marble and Sivakasi gold granite subtly anchors the existence of the building in the otherwise mundane, commercialised elevation of the streetscape. Within the white interiors of the office, the granite etches an interesting movement and imparts a kind of palatial aesthetic to the monotone of the office design. In the very minimal and contemporary-looking design of the interiors, the architects limit the mood board to subtle earthy tones while introducing pockets of green as required.

  • The mostly white interiors and green pockets of courtyards create a seamless sense of transition between the exterior and interior | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    The mostly white interiors and green pockets of courtyards create a seamless sense of transition between the exterior and interior Image: Purnesh Dev
  • Adding to the character of the design is the floating metal staircase within the atrium that connects the lobby to the first floor | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    Adding to the character of the design is the floating metal staircase within the atrium that connects the lobby to the first floor Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla
  • The design of Office 543 optimises the compact footprint with an approach based on simple programmatic needs | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    The design of Office 543 optimises the compact footprint with an approach based on simple programmatic needs Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla
  • Emerging from the geometry of straight lines, the oval private meeting room breaks the symmetry and anchors the design | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    Emerging from the geometry of straight lines, the oval private meeting room breaks the symmetry and anchors the design Image: Javier Callejas Sevilla

Even while the architectural style of Office 543 doesn’t beckon a new genre altogether in office design, the sense of tranquillity reflected through an interesting selection of materials seems to provide a new outlook on how materials can alter the geometric aesthetics of design. While the architectural scene of Chandigarh has always depicted resemblance to the philosophies of Corbusier and concepts of brutalism, the newer projects in this context are exploring the wider potential and multitude of possibilities in architecture to create a character and identity that speaks for itself.

  • Office 543: Site Plan | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    Office 543: Site Plan Image: Courtesy of Charged Voids
  • Office 543: Front Elevation | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    Office 543: Front Elevation Image: Courtesy of Charged Voids
  • Office 543: Transverse Section | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    Office 543: Transverse Section Image: Courtesy of Charged Voids
  • Office 543: Longitudinal Section with the staircase | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    Office 543: Longitudinal Section with the staircase Image: Courtesy of Charged Voids
  • Office 543: Longitudinal Section through the private meeting area | Office 543 | Charged Voids | STIRworld
    Office 543: Longitudinal Section through the private meeting area Image: Courtesy of Charged Voids

Project Details

Name of Project: Office 543
Location: Mohali, Punjab
Typology: Office
Client: Khullar Builders
Principal Architect: Aman Aggarwal
Design Team: Swati Agarwal and Anshu Garg
Site Area: 140 sq .m.
Built-Up Area: 190 sq .m.
Structural Engineer:Pankaj Chopra

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