Nirvana Film 1
The project is an office space for Nirvana Films, an ad film production company. As a firm that thinks out of the box, the architecture of its office sought to reflect a similar approach. The concept of their workspace is based on the belief that the connection of synapses creates ideas, not privacy or isolation.
"Given that our work is largely creative, our idea is not to make it a corporate type of work environment," says the director of Nirvana Films. "While the workspace must be structured to inspire us to work seriously, we are looking for an environment that also lets us relax and be ourselves. Ours has to be a creative space with a positive vibe," he adds.
Nirvana Film 2
The "box-shaped" building emerged out of a small corner plot in the heart of Indiranagar neighborhood in Bangalore. Its design concept, however, can be said to be “a box out of the box”
Nirvana Film 3
Optimizing space, site setbacks and allowable floor space index (FSI) for a commercial project enabled the team to gain 8,000 square feet of total built up area on a site of 3,000 square feet. The constraint of having a corner plot, open along its south and west faces, was overcome by adopting a design core in the form of a north-south connector staircase that slices through the building with a huge skylight above. Similar to what a courtyard would do for other typologies, the staircase brings in sunlight and natural ventilation within the spaces, creating areas of relief, recreation and interaction.
The resulting urban typology goes against normal conventions, requiring minimal electricity for light or ventilation. The divisions of work and non-work, outside and inside are blurred' by the presence of the staircase core. The facade further facilitates the connections to the outside with its fixed glass and openable acrylic louvres, which let in breeze, modulating light, wind and rain. Here the notion of window and wall is interchanged as the window is conceived to be solid (fixed glass) and the wall as flexible (louvres). Made of 100 percent acrylic solid surface sheets, these louvres were customized and used as a moveable exterior element for the first time in India.
The staircase core needed a permeable flexible device, to allow light and ventilation, and yet block out rain and peering neighbours. In the end, the team erected an 18-inch tall wood and clear acrylic 'jali' or screen, which is made up of a set of 6-inch wide louvres interlocked into each other, capable of moving in unison and opening to ventilate the stairwell. Working with a detailed model that moved and behaved like the final 'jali' allowed the team to envision the space and its possibilities.
Nirvana Film 4
The building is naturally ventilated with no HVAC system installed., except in the server room and editing room (post production space) as the systems/machines housed in these spaces need an air-conditioned environment.
The spaces rely on daylighting, as such there is no need for artificial lighting during the day. However, this being a creative advertising studio with erratic work hours, artificial lighting still had to be efficiently worked out. LEDs in leisure spaces and fluorescent tube light fittings in task oriented spaces are used, and an energy meter has been installed to monitor the services systems.
Sensor taps and dual flush mechanism tanks are used to reduce water consumption. Rainwater from the west-side roof run-off is collected in a pond at the stilt level and used for landscaping. Rainwater captured on the topmost terrace is channelled via downtake pipes towards the borewell which recharges it—this reduces the 'hardness' of the water and increases underground water availability in the long run.
Nirvana Film 5
The selection of materials for structure and internal finishes has been crucial in the development of the design. The rawness of the bare shell is intended as the final finish for every habitable space in the project without any extra add-ons. Hence it was important to ensure that every finish was achieved as desired.
The building shell/roof with concrete slab soffit forms the ceiling; as there was no false ceiling, gypsum or other boards were not required, thus reducing building cost. For the roof, RCC flat slabs, waterproofed in brick bat coba with cement screed as top coat forming thread cut panels, were inclined taking into consideration the rainwater downtake pipes. The top surface has an additional white thermoplastic coating to reflect the heat, which helps to maintain ambient temperature of the floor below.
The in-situ grey cement floor is polished in coconut oil and made from locally available basic building materials like cement and aggregate; some aggregate were acquired by crushing weathered rock found during excavation. For the stilt floor, grey granite is used; black granite is used in the bathrooms. The stones were procured in a way to prevent wastage and every piece is reused within the floor or as dado (dado refers to a bathroom wall covering made of tile or stone). The raw materials used for flooring were locally or regionally sourced—this leads to reduced environmental impact associated with raw material extraction, manufacture and transportation.
Nirvana Film 6
Nirvana Film 7
All external and internal walls are executed in a backing coat of cement plaster with a white cement-based putty which strongly binds with base plaster forming a protective coat with a smooth finish. Its water resistant property ensures that the paint doesn't flake off even if the walls are damp. With this smooth finished white cement base, no paint primer is required which reduces paint consumption by 25-30 percent, thus saving cost. All the walls are coated with paints that are waterbased, have good antifungal properties and are easy to maintain. Given the climate of the tropics and being a building that is semi-open in nature, it was very important for the team to choose paints with good antifungal properties. All external and internal woodwork is treated in linseed oil. No other wall coverings are used in this building.
For the interior, local reusable resources were used. Old furniture pieces were refurbished or upholstered and reused. The internal doors and windows are actually old salvaged wooden windows and doors acquired from local markets. Old Burma teak is used for the seats and staircase treads. The dustbins, baskets, trays, mats, etc, used throughout the building are made of rapidly renewable materials like bamboo and banana fiber.
Native plants that grow rapidly, consume less water and are easy to maintain were bought from the local nursery. Bamboos, Foxtail Palms and a Ficus tree along with "Elephant Ears" (Colocasia) and Heliconias form the soft-scape. As there is no lawn, it allows for surface water run-off over the hard-scaped floor which is directed towards the recharge pits. The only existing Mango tree on the rear site setback was integrated within the service staircase allowing for the trunk to pass through a few of the stair treads. Garbage is segregated within the premise—the client intends to use the wet garbage and process them into vermicompost and manure for landscaping.
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