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Steel facade for Mumbai office

Photography: Rajesh Vora

Mumbai-based IMK Architects has designed the Auric Hall, which was to design a socially-responsive office building spread over 2.5 lakh sq. ft., located in the Central Business District of the Aurangabad Industrial City (Auric).

Auric Hall was conceptualized as the district administration and monitoring center for the smart city, to house the main command control room and centrally manage the civic facilities on a real-time platform. It offers incubation spaces to industrial houses and a sales center, which promotes engagement and interaction of ideas. Post-tension beams enable the large spaces and service height clearances within a proportionate floor-to-floor height.

Steel was used for the façade and roof truss due to its durability, structural flexibility and load-bearing capacity. Structural steel components were easy to assemble on site, while the laser-cut aluminum panels are used for the external jaali as it is lightweight, durable and low-maintenance.

The building is oriented to allow maximum glare-free light into the office spaces, and minimizes heat gain by 83.40 per cent. Additionally, six per cent of the lighting consumption of the building is derived from 15kWp solar PV cells installed on the roof. The large central north-facing atrium has a glass surface to optimize the northern daylight, with office blocks abutting it on the other sides. Wrapped in a modular jaali, the screen controls the airflow and lowers the temperature of internal spaces. Multi-wall polycarbonate sheet roofing was fitted with ceramic fritted glass, which is lightweight and needs a lighter truss design. This blocks glare, reduces air-conditioning cost for the sun-lit volume and minimizes solar heat gain.

A natural water body is located to the north of the CBD block, away from the Auric Hall. The Hall was relocated so the water body could add to the value of these spaces. Ceremonial gateways mark the entrances along the compound wall, and the internal driveway is inspired by the Char Bagh concept with a cascading water body, which is inspired by the Paan Chakki. Patterns are repeated on the glazed panels, with a network of two aluminum screen modules of the same motif from the jaali for the office spaces and terraces.

The porch leads to a large linear and full-height atrium enclosed by offices on three sides. Life lobbies open into green double-height terraces that face the south façade on one side and a long connecting corridor on the other. It serves as an exhibition space to display Aurangabad’s history with staggered terraces punctuating the volume and north light filtering through the glazed façade.

Every floor has multiple terraces to encourage interaction. Open-plan office layouts enhance collaboration and productivity among employees. Entry-level spaces are free-flowing and transparent, promoting visual connectivity throughout the ground floor. Targeting an IGBC Gold rating, over 118 per cent of the site area is vegetated, with 74.5 percent of the same planted with drought-resistant species. Irrigation features such as central shut-off valves, time-based controllers and pressure-regulating devices achieve water savings of 29.3 per cent. An on-site STP plant reduces potable water requirement of flushing, irrigation and construction requirements of 51.44 per cent. Aside from controlled irrigation, the runoff water from paved surfaces and terraces are harvested for groundwater recharge. Efficient plumbing fixtures and wastewater treatment system save water by 30 per cent.