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Research-Oriented Development with a Sustainable Vision Dholera Smart Housing, Dholera, Gujarat
Ar. Rahul Sehgal, Sehgal and Partners
Dholera smart housing is a research-oriented development with a sustainable vision. It is envisaged as a modular form of living spaces conceived by apartments with terraces providing intangible experiences within homes. A dynamic form has been leveraged into a system of potentialities creating inside outside spaces that merge. As the ‘New Normal’ of ‘working from home’ is changing how we live, the architecture plays a significant role in cohesive integration of humans with nature and social interactions, while maintaining privacy.
Dholera Smart Housing initiated with an aim to create experiential living. The design intends to create an exceptional experience of diverse spaces for users by providing resilient spaces in the mixed use development. Architecture increasingly resembles an organism that is responsive to its own internal nature and external conditions of its surrounding.
The site is defined in the new master plan of Dholera, Gujarat with its north facing the dense forest and a river. The south and west sides are aligned with high access corridors connecting, the city to the rest of the Gujarat. An optimum density of 120 dwelling units (540 people) per hectare is achieved.
Initial explorations comprised of extrusions and fleeting of built mass through simulations such as solar radiations, wind analysis and passive techniques to maximise natural light. The above analysis corresponds to determine initial massing of block arrangement. Taking advantage of the site orientation and the analysis, larger blocks face towards north and smaller blocks face towards south, helps in reducing direct surface radiation. Shadows of highest blocks help in reducing direct exposure on most part of the courtyard. Cross-ventilation plays an important role considering Gujarat’s warm and dry climate.
Further, the design language to cater the needs of millennial generation, ‘work from home’ will trend and define a new canvas of social living during pandemic age. There will be a need for creating spaces that breathes. Open-tosky spaces in design will positively impact user’s psychology and help in providing a lively environment within the space. Blocks are chamfered strategically to maintain optimum shading and privacy. Inside-outside spaces react in a cohesive fashion and a seamless movement is experienced by the user.
Terraces ranging from 1.2m to 2m wide provide a unique proportion to apartment sizes. Fresh air from the forest flows into homes and creates positive energy. First three levels comprise of commercial space (supermarket, multiplex) aligned with inhabitants. Three level basement parking is provided to ensure parking standards as per Dholera Smart Mission Development regulations.
The holistic approach was conceived right from the beginning in planning the project. Concept for open air terraces, with no cosmetic treatments for the façade was the dialogue that gave the initial thrust for the positive change in the design of residential buildings across the country.
Initial massing and decisions were made on the basis of digital analysis on complete building blocks to add sustainable vision in the urban fabric of the new smart development of Dholera.
Fusion of exterior and interior spaces with natural ventilation was a significant stroke in providing an appropriate decision across the plot with hot and dry climate of Gujarat. Terraces and the openings are designed in such a way that during the hot summers, the façade provides a natural barrier for solar radiation, results in achieving more comfortable spaces inside the habitable unit. With a buffer space ranging from 1.2 to 2m, open air terraces also gives user the mesmerising view of the dense green forest with a river passing by. An evening on the terrace with fading shadows, sunsets filled with clouds, brings soothing sensation to the user, followed with stars gazing after the dinner.
The material application on the façade is of UHPC panels i.e. (ultra-high-performance concrete panels), which gives the design more rigid and bold character, with modern material approach. UHPC panels have been used widely for the façade developments, as it has proven its capabilities for solar radiations and rainfall, with maintenance free character.
Use of UPVC doors and windows with UHPC panels brings an appealing aesthetic contrast in the design and provides smooth and clear finishes. Glass railing with chrome metal finish, gives the modern and minimalist finish to the overall façade.
Flats To Homes
In India, the concept of living in a joint family is appreciated. Typical family structure ranges from 60 years to infant. This predominantly requires spaces that fulfills a variety of functions. Open planning gives user a canvas to lay customised furniture with flexibility. Thereby, giving a feel of “OWNING” the space. Open-to-sky terraces give a feeling of possessing a larger property with much needed privacy.
Landscaped spaces covered with shadows of built-up at different hours, provides a comfortable micro-climate for activities with amenities like tennis ground, basketball court, open gym, walking and cycle tracks. Pool and common areas like indoor game areas, gym are provided at podium (fourth floor). Designed considering forest/ river view, they improve quality of social interaction. The design gradually transforms into a sensitive organism that has potential of being mutative to its own existence and environment as landscape slowly thrives within the complex. The architectural organism thus conceived is ready to embrace the ‘ambient spheres’ of life that speak about its resilience.
Sectional drawings of Tower A & B
QUICK FACTS: Project:Dholera Smart Mixed-Use Residential Development Location: Dholera, Gujarat, India Architect: Sehgal & partners (SAP designs) Materials used for façade & fenestration: Concrete UHPC panels & UPVC fensestrations Site area: 57,000 sqm approximately Permissible built up area: 218,000 sqm
Ar. Rahul Sehgal, Sehgal and Partners
Ar. Rahul Sehgal completely believes and takes responsibility for sustainable architecture. He also focuses on coining a term “Informed Architecture”, which promotes analysis based design concepts. With a focus on advanced technologies with digital fabrication aid in the AEC industry, gives him a different perspective within architecture and product design solutions. Ar. Rahul Sehgal has proven experience in luxury residential, hospitality and retail design projects in Dubai, Italy, UK and Georgia. He is experienced and trained BIM manager too. A Masters’ degree from Politecnico Di Milano, Italy gave him an exposure to a completely different culture and social interactions followed with an understanding of international design space philosophies with detailing capacities. His skills in designing and managing projects, while keeping the resources available have been tremendously rewarding for the client based projects.