60-second Interview: Rahul Kadri, principal architect and partner, IMK Architects
IMK Architects’ project – AURIC Hall – stands tall as a landmark for the Aurangabad Industrial City (AURIC), touted as India’s first greenfield, smart industrial city. The district administrative building, planned as the face of the upcoming development, houses administration and commercial functions.
What design language has been implemented at AURIC Hall?
The design pays homage to the rich culture and history of Aurangabad, drawing inspiration from the Mughal architecture of the city, while creating a timeless exemplar of beauty and sustainability. Ceremonial gateways mark the entrances along the compound wall, while the adjoining landscape in the driveway is inspired by the Char Bagh concept. A cascading water body – inspired by the Paan Chakki from the old city – lies at the centre, while a series of ceremonious arches at the entrance – in combination with intricate jaalis – reference the tomb complexes of the old city. Patterns from historic structures such as the iconic Bibi-ka-Maqbara are used in the screens to create multiple envelopes around the building. The first layer is the lush green landscape between the screen and the main building. The subsequent layers are public spaces, creating a beautiful refuge within. The distinctive jaali screen is made in aluminium and wraps around the building; the resultant choreography of light and shadows creating a fascinating narrative.
Given its purpose, how have you ensured that the building is a socially-responsive one?
AURIC Hall aims to enhance engagement between the state and its people. A large atrium is designed as a modern interpretation of the garden; overlooking a lake and bathed in glare-free North daylight, it provides a host of public exhibition and educational functions. It is enclosed by offices and indoor terraces on three sides, which themselves serve as social spaces for employees, encouraging cross-engagement and collaboration and becoming a vibrant centre of activity. Every alternate floor has a different layout, designed strategically to have staggered spaces. Each floor has access to multiple terraces; either outdoor green terraces on the southern edge or indoor-cantilevered terraces that overlook the atrium, encouraging interaction. These terraces serve as social spaces for the employees and offer a breakout zone, to encourage collaboration, and cross-pollination of ideas to enable flourishing of the people and thereby, the organisation.
Elaborate on the various features that make this a sustainable structure.
To mitigate Aurangabad’s semi-arid climate, appropriate form and orientation were considered in the design with shading methods adopted for the façade. Screens protect against the harsh sun and help in lowering the temperature of internal spaces, while letting in diffused natural light, thus reducing energy costs for mechanical air-cooling. The project complies with ASHRAE 90.1-2020, and has achieved 7.07% energy cost savings over the base. The 15kWp solar PV cells at the roof-top generate 21874 kWh – 6.17% of the annual lighting consumption. The site is next to a natural water body, which has been incorporated into the landscaping adjoining the internal driveway, creating a focal point at the main entrance and a more comfortable micro-climate. The building is oriented to allow maximum glare-free light into the office spaces, while simultaneously minimising heat gain. The atrium width, as well as that of the offices, was controlled to ensure optimal daylighting. The atrium is covered with a skylight, at the roof level. High reflective material covers 100% of the roof, and the project has achieved glare-free daylight for 83.4% of the regularly occupied areas.