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Centre of Excellence

Santej, Gujarat

Completion Year : 2024

Gross Built Area : 2500 m2

Team : Nikhil Jain, Mekhla Malhotra

The campus at Santej is 26 km from Ahmedabad city. It comprises of large factory sheds for Arvind Group with a network of roads and trees. The site for COE is in the north east corner of the campus, abutting the entrance of the campus. The site is apt for a main building of the campus which highlights
the research, innovation and executive components of the company. The site has almost 800 existing trees, with Gulmohar, Neem and Babool in majority. That presents an opportunity to build the centre within the existing forest environment. Vaastu suggests the north east corner of the site to be a void, with the entrance to the research centre and south-west corner to house the main executive corporate office. Thol Bird sanctuary is within a 5km radius.

 

The project is designed as a hexagon with 100m as one arm length which is porous, allowing for the existing forest to remain and invade the spaces. The hexagon is further divided in hexagonal cells, recalling the idea of tessellation. A hexagonal grid has the lowest perimeter-to-area ratio of any regular
tessellation of the plane, thus reducing edge-effect. Being an arrangement that minimizes the amount of material used to create a lattice within a given volume, it is no coincidence that beehives are actually hexagonal honeycombs and are also called nature’s most well-engineered form. Furthermore, the hexagonal lattice gives us a great advantage to connect cardinally and diagonally in a symmetrical manner. This leads to many more spatial alternatives and a strong system of interlinked functions. These modular hexagonal spaces become an integral part of the built environment of our
project. The lattice allows us to create inside-outside spaces, weaving the cells with the forest of trees. The hexagonal cells transform into autonomous structures, each made of trusses resting on a central cage. The trusses follow the hexagonal pattern, making is a wholly singular network. Each structure
uses FRP cooling towers for skylight, louvers for facade-shade, C-sections and pipes for the principle trusses and FRP cable trays for internal servicing. All the Arvind composite elements have been experimented with to arrive at a module giving rise to a new product in itself. Every hexagonal cell has
a covered area of 632 sqm. Executive office, social spaces and showroom form the peripheral wall to define the research and innovation centre in the middle. Social space has an auditorium with a combined capacity of 300 people, along with a lounge and cafeteria + kitchen facilities. This will activate the campus and the plot and further leave a possibility to add a few sports areas for recreation. The central built-up has innovation and testing labs on the ground floor. On the first floor are Mindscape, Envisol, display areas and experience center. The connection among these zones are achieved with shaded/louvered areas which also mark their entrances. The ground floor is planned with bigger and more open spaces for large products and machinery and the first floor with lighter and smaller spaces like offices, conference rooms, ideating spaces etc. The roof is a lightweight structure with skylight. The modular and flexible spaces are articulated with sleek services using FRP cable trays, ducts etc.

The master-plan allows for extra programmatic area. The aim is to create a centre that would become an incubator for this industrial campus to generate new ideas and products.

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