An eminent architectural firm, Creative Consortium has designed Orbit IT tower in Mohali, for their client, a distinguished developer, P.S. Grewal, director Orbit Pvt Ltd. A design innovation of a young acclaimed architect – Ar. Mohita (Garg) Vashisht, Partner & Design Head, Creative Consortium, is a stage set to become a precedent for futuristic urban built forms.
The building has a striking dynamic & rhythmic façade. But the design is not just superficial. In fact, the striking form is actually a product of functionality i.e. ‘the form as ever has followed the function’. This case study dwells deep into the ORBIT building design approach and the role played by Fundermax panels in delivering a futuristic iconic urban form.
The developer, P.S. Grewal (ORBIT Pvt Ltd), with a prominent niche in the industry, is an environmentally conscious real estate brand and wanted a futuristic prototype for a sustainable & adaptable built form, which breaks free from the typical matchbox approach and stands Iconic to attract premium Informational technology companies. Ar. Mohita, with her versatile design knowledge & experience, could bring in a fresh breeze of design innovation which really impressed the client. Ar. Mohita draws her inspiration from complex natural systems and she thinks that the built environment has to be designed on lines of natural systems – one’s which are diverse, complex, dynamic, multi-layered & multi-functional.
Design Challenges & Approach
The design was very challenging given that the site was linear rectangular block 83’-6”x215’ with the front of 83’-6”. Therefore, the main challenge was how to have formed in a linear volumetric box. The functional aspect of the building was the most important starting point. Integration of a. Design grid; b. planning grid; and c. vehicular grid, was lopped in to maximise the design adaptability, flexibility & efficiency. Integration mimics natural systems i.e., can be defined as interdependence and inter-exchange of the above three grids.
Design grid: It follows the building footprint which is 50’x 175’. A grid of 50’x 25’ is followed. The design grid aimed to come out with a column-free internal layout plan for IT flexibility & adaptability.
Planning grid: It is a grid that maximises utilization and flexibility for all types of IT office requirements (i.e., for functional aspect) such as open office, workstations, cabins etc. The basic module for the workstation is 5 feet X 5 feet and that for the cabin is a 10’ wide grid. Ideally, a grid size with a multiple of 5 works very well. Hence 50’x25’ grid provides the required fluidity to all sorts of IT planning.
Vehicular grid: 50’x 25’ grid works well for parking planning in the basement as well as stilt parking. 25’ grid accommodates 3 bays of car parking spaces.
This integration of various dimensions (grids) imitates a natural analogy behaving as a constantly dynamic system that is in constant flux with its demands.
Climatic Responsiveness & Sustainability
This functionally dynamic volume is also climatically responsive and for that, the west façade is enclosed with a multi-layered & multi-functional façade. The façade elements – glazing, Funder max solid panels, aluminium louvres work together to reduce the heat gain of the building while maintaining the natural daylight and outdoor views. Various simulation models were studied and hence the final form in its present shape was evolved.
Application of the principle of modulation, standardisation, repetition and pre-fabrication of façade modules allows for a reduction in material wastage while promoting time & cost efficiency. Façade consultant, Kazmi, Kazmi enterprise, plays a key role in delivering the intended look.
Though the form has evolved from the function i.e. functional aspect is a predominant factor, the form behaves with ‘Free-will’ as opposed to the ‘deterministic’ approach and is allowed freedom at instances to break free from structure to evolve and express liberally. The rhythmic, fluid, floating facades create the perfect balance and movement which enthral its audiences. It spreads the feeling of freedom and expression.
Splendid Structural System
The structural design was equally challenging for such a free flowing structure. If one looks carefully at the front elevation, two massive volumes are projecting out unsupported/cantilevered. One is a three-storey high office block, which projects out (almost like floating in the air) symbolic of grandeur and the same is balanced by a 25’x25’ wide cantilevered R.C.C. & smart glass pergola, again three-storey high and free-floating.
Role of Materials
Fundermax being a versatile product played a key role in this architecturally remarkable project, by providing the required flexibility for creating rhythmic structures without adding any undesirable dead weight. It also encases the structural systems that support the floating masses creating for its viewers the true illusion of rhythm and fluidity. Fundermax provides benefits of value for money and ease of work.
It is truly said that all creation in this world is first conceived in mind i.e. One’s imagination and in this case Ar. Mohita (Garg) Vashisht’s imagination and evolved through the design process. It is worth applauding that the final form looks exactly like the 3-d visualization that was once imaged by the architect. Orbit IT building is a striking example of good aesthetics, solid functionality and neat workmanship. The result is truly WOW!
With masters in ‘Integrated Sustainable Design’ from National University of Singapore (NUS), and bachelors in architecture from Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA), Ar. Mohita (Garg) Vashisht is a highly motivated & ambitious architect with a versatile design knowledge and practical experience drawn from her contribution in various large scale architectural design and urban development projects over last 15 years. She was working as senior architect at M/S CREATIVE CONSORTIUM and under her design leadership, the firm has grown larger and won a number of awards. Her contribution to the organisation is to bring in new stream of design planning concepts which are rooted in sustainability, adaptability and bio-mimicry. Started in 1990, the firm is presently managed by two partners, Ar. Madhu Garg & Ar. Mohita (Garg) Vashisht (a mother – daughter duo). with over 50 plus employees, the firm is one of prominent architectural firm in northern region.