by Zohra KhanJul 21, 2022
Stonex India’s administrative and industrial complex, designed by Urbanscape Architects, stands as an important landmark for Kishangarh in India’s northwestern state of Rajasthan. The building recently won the third position in the Commercial category in the 2A Continental Architectural Awards 2020, and has been developed as a native production house, in step with Urbanscape’s ethos that focuses on keeping the user at the centre of the design process. The architecture of the factory draws inspiration from the regional temple, Sonpura, and uses local rubble to create a sense of belongingness and of the local space.
The production unit of the factory is built keeping in mind Rajasthan’s harsh weather conditions, and has been designed to keep the inside comfortable despite the oppressive heat outside during the day. The design of the building responds to the climate around it. The dry heat is combated by the partly sunk mass, staying cool during summers and warm during colder months. This is achieved by the natural phenomena of Earth Berming and Earth Coupling. The temperatures indoors are controlled with the help of radiant cooling, that allows for a 60 per cent efficiency in the running cost for the building. The floor slabs are additionally radiant cooled to regulate temperatures.
The site itself has been made in a way where it can accommodate maximum built-up area, which has been oriented to achieve much of the northern light and increase the solar roof area. The other side has been landscaped to create a picturesque foreground for the building. The processing plant and display area are both well insulated, where towards the eastern side of the façade, local rubble walls of 550mm thickness are put in place and towards the western end, a blank façade with insulated galvalume sheet in the triangular flutters have been implemented. Glazing and louvers at the lower level help the viewers connect visually with the landscaped surroundings while the louvers and glazing towards the north light develop a wind draft to release hot air inside and bring north light inside. The incorporation of the local rubble masonry has been emphasised to facilitate the passive design in order to optimise the climate conditions and to empower the local masons and their craft.
To further insulate the interiors, the skin of the office building of the factory sandwiches a puff panel between two laminam panels. The entire building is in a sunken shape and irregular shaped courtyards have been made to adhere to the root systems of the already existing trees of the surroundings. The built mass and the ground is punctured to create sunken courtyards and an amphitheatre within the lower floor. The roof wraps around the ground to help cool the building down while also ensuring physical access to the landscape above the roof.
The façade for the building incorporates double glazed structural glazing system along with insulated aluminium panels, and the repeating structure of the grid makes the entire facade appear dynamic. It is complimented by a stone screen that has been fabricated using the waste stone from a quarry near the site and the site’s stone wastage itself. The wastage from the factory has also been used for the stone slate that is fixed with SS rods and spacers, which become the shading device for the complete office facade. The screen also provides protection from the south-east and west glare of the sun. A beautiful visual appeal is created by the light and shadow of interwoven stone blocks that appear to be floating at different levels.
The manufacturing block of the factory requires uniform lighting throughout the day, without any exposure to direct sunlight. The orientation has been strategically exploited to address this lighting demand; north light trusses are introduced to penetrate the complete volume, sloping at an angle of 23 degrees towards the south, giving ample surface for photovoltaic panels and the resulting solar roof of almost 1MW (enough to fulfil the power requirements of the factory). To ensure safety and functionality, the linear production process is used as a design determinant to keep the workers away from the manual lifting. Two people bring in a 25 tonne block from one end, process it, display it, and dispatch it on their own without having to face any potential harm.
Prefabricated white metal flutters give the entire building a buoyant profile and the stone buttresses make it appear grounded at a more proximal viewing. The building has been designed in such a way that the spaces are used judiciously, allowing for as much green cover as possible as well as soft scraping for the inside. Other sustainable measures incorporated in the building design are - the use of bio STPs that recycle waste water and use it for landscaping and flushing toilets and 100 per cent rainwater harvesting that keeps the groundwater table recharged.
Name: Stonex India
Location: Kishangarh, Rajasthan, India
Client: Stonex India Pvt. Ltd
Principal Architects: Dinesh Panwar, Ajay Bhardwaj (Urbanscape Architects)
Design Team: Prasanjeet, Anuj, Gunjan, Prachi
Site Area: 10 acres
Built-Up Area: 20,000 sqm
Start Date: 2017
Completion Date: 2019
(Text by Shreeparna Chatterjee, editorial trainee at stirworld.com)