Thursday, May 29, 2014


The Chimes Building, Gurgaon has been featured in May' 2014 issue of Journal of Indian Institute of Architects. We reproduce the content here.

Ar Aashish V Karode, B.Arch. MUD (Berkeley), USA
Aashish believes in Architecture that is beautifully functional, ecologically responsible and environmentally sustainable. While he finds his passion in the careful balance of client and end user input, he matches this with an uncompromising dedication to design that elevates the experience of places that he designs. His hands-on project involvement, with his dedication and commitment to sustainable design through elegant and high performance environments are the key to many of the successful projects done by the firm. His core expertise of a strong creative design approach to projects and a practical methodology to finding solutions that fit the client's needs is an essential component that shapes the firm's design philosophy.

With over 20 years of extensive design experience on a number of significant projects, Aashish has led the firm in a variety of works ranging from hospitality, schools, commercial and institutional projects to townships including the Reliance Power Township at Sasan, and Industrial Townships in Odisha and various LEED Gold and Platinum projects that the firm has recently been engaged with.

Ar Sushil L Karer, B.Arch., Institute of Environmental Design
Karer is focused on the role that design plays in creating exciting and stimulating environments that are sustainable over their life cycle and use resources conservatively. He has more than 20 years of experience in architecture, facilities planning, design and concept development of Institutional Architecture and Interior Design in the IT, hospitality, retail and residential sectors and project implementation. His experience and commitment is a complement to Design Atelier's sustainability resume and market focus. Karer adds depth and energy to his team because of which the company has emerged as one of the most highly regarded architectural firms in the country.


The Architecture of the Chimes Building, Gurgaon is about creating public spaces that are accessible and enable the experience of nature within the spaces of the building, symbolizing life inside the building. The design of the building addresses issues of sustainability, sociability, making room for nature, and programme flexibility. The building mass is specially developed to demonstrate a novel solution for a multi-tenanted office building with floor plate size flexibility to create a mix of tenants from various service sectors and industries. To create a high profile address, it was envisioned to organize each floor as potentially heterogeneous openplan environments. They can be combined or be separated on user requests with controlled indoor environments and amenities to suit a variety of needs for large and small businesses organized to share common community resources set up in the building.

The design of the building emphasizes diversity of all kinds: juxtaposition of people, functions, built forms, spaces. Activities are just some of the fundamental elements that help encourage an inclusive and sustainable public sphere that thrives at all times. The building is raised up from the ground on pilotis, allowing free-flowing open spaces. The building is shaded from the harsh sun, with a variety of water pools and guided streams cooling the air and plants growing within and around the building on the site to cool the ground. A variety of public spaces are created at ground level that are accessible, shaded and close to nature. These spaces encourage serendipitous meetings, foster community engagement and active participation in urban work life.

At the ground, the concept of openness, spaces flowing together, plays a major factor in the design. The public areas including a restaurant/café are located on the ground floor, with smaller spaces to encourage people to meet spontaneously for coffee or for informal meetings. Various spaces for public functions are offered- an open air performing arts theatre, a cafeteria, a future exhibition space and a restaurant. A number of available conference rooms, meeting lounges form a complete sociable and efficient centre for the complex to respond to all nature of business requirements. Sky terraces attached to each floor plate connect to nature.

To maximize the use of green spaces and the views from within and outside and make use of the ground, otherwise lost to building footprint, the design places the gardens around glass-lined movement corridors and staircase cores. The journey path through the spaces of the building, lift lobbies, holding areas, social spaces, cafeteria and reception are located along the way and designed as people places. It suggests the idea of diverse experience of graded light and shaded spaces, landscape variation to include plant and animal life (etched into the stone surfaces), air, earth and water as part of each of the pauses and transition experiences. Visual connections are made through glass courtyards, corridors and lobbies, together with the complex interconnections and interpenetrations of interior spaces, the interplay of light and choices of just a few material finishes. The symbolism of the landscape and the architectural artifact are intended to enliven the whole ensemble.

The form development follows the idea of raising the building on pilotis to relieve the ground and give back the landscape to the ground- creating a sociable and welcoming space of the entrance reception. Reception is a glass cube set in a water garden, using plants as tree cover and water as climate modulators. A variety of water bodies and plants have been provided around and inside the building to cool the ground, and transform it into a space with positive energy, shaded social spaces, and graded light. Open spaces and light wells work as courtyards that relieve the bulk of the form and supply natural light to the inside of the office floor plates.

The floor plates are modular, independently equipped with amenities/ facilities for modern office requirements and can be combined into heterogeneous open plan environments to suit a variety of needs for a mix of large and small businesses sharing common community resources set up in the building. With this profile, the flexibility in floor plate size makes for best possible marketing to create a mix of tenants from various service sectors and industries.

The Façade design is guided by its visibility and response to the street corner, visibility from the surrounding spaces and the main roads and to the climatic considerations of the solar path, natural light penetration and breezes. It is equally about imagining a sensible notion of contemporariness, with formal and material choice that echo the historic form of massive Indian wall making that rejects heat and the high sun, but allows filtered natural light. The North allows light, but rejects reflected heat, the ribbon windows on the west, east and south faces are set high on the floor plate to allow the deeper penetration of a limited amount of the harsher western and southern light, but freely allows internal courtyard reflected light and North light to penetrate the plates through large treated glass surfaces. The heat gain thus reduced is further mitigated by the use of heat reflective paint and the insulated wall section.

A number of strip windows in the otherwise massive walls are used to visually connect the interior and the exterior and is mitigated by the use of anti-dazzle e-glass so people do not lose touch with the natural environment while at work. Outsiders get curious glimpses of light and activity through the façade that activates the otherwise solid building as a place of action.

The architecture is used to develop the building marked by energy efficiency, operational convenience, low operational cost and optimized investment costs. It focuses not only on the façade, sun shading, and lighting details but above all, also on minimizing the energy consumption of the building while optimizing natural light consumption. The building is glazed on the North face and on shaded facades with higher performance glass responsive to the conditions. On exposed and direct heat receiving faces a solar façade of small openings set up high on the floor, allow less direct heat and maximizes penetrations of light into the plate.

The insatiable demand for parking is met by the provision for a double stack parking system, extra capacity preferred parking spaces for car poolers, and parking for the electric shuttle to connect with the future metro nearby. This facilitates an office building without visible cars and frees the ground to landscape and a pleasing outdoor environment.

The building consists four inter connected floor plate blocks of varied size and scale organized around courtyards. These floors are independently equipped with amenities for all modern office requirements.

Project Details
Name of Client : Chimes Group, Athena
Business Solutions
Design Team : Aashish Karode, Prosenjit Banerjee
Site Area : 2 Acres
Built-Up Area : 270,000 sft
Date of Commencement : March 2008
Completion Date : January 2011- 2012 Interiors
Photo Credits : Dileep Prakash, Aashish Karode, Navin Kumar

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