Truck Terminal/ Yard at Chanda, Near Nagpur, for ACC (2013)

The plan is evolved around a multi-functional space that primarily caters to the need of a large organized and safe truck parking facility which is interlinked to the up gradation of basic human needs of the functionaries in a planned physical environment. As per the given brief, the following were paramount for the planning and considered while planning:

Unidirectional parking of the trucks ( i.e no reversing ) with separate entry and exit gates.

Only trucks used for cement transportation considered for this parking facility.

The coal carrying trucks’ parking facility to be elsewhere across the road as at present and not considered in this facility. However, all other facilities planned in the Amenities Building will be open for use by the coal carrying truckers along with the cement carrying truckers.

Security controls are planned at both the gates.

Both entry and exit gates have been recessed from the main road in order to provide adequate space for proper manoeuvring facility for the movement/waiting for the huge 6-axle trucks. Before the entry gate, an ‘entry queuing’ lane is planned for checking of the incoming trucks for road worthiness/driver fitness etc. for admittance or refusal as the case may be.

Light masts have been provided for general yard lighting. Fire hydrants have been proposed at strategic places. Landscaping has been planned with lawns, shrubs and mainly rain trees to bring in shade in this dry and hot parking yard. Sewage treatment plant as well as rain water harvesting tank have been proposed . The Amenities Building is planned on the road side (East) of the plot, centrally located  with the entry and exit gates on two sides for easy accessibility. The building constructed is a two storied structure having Cafeteria; Self-cooking area; Entertainment/TV  Room; Convenience Store; ATM; Shop for spare parts, tyres, tubes, lubricants etc.; Hair Cutting Saloon; General office;  Medical aid room; Dormitories for drivers with toilets/baths etc.

Domestic, flushing and fire fighting water tanks are provided on the staircase block top on the terrace. The total area of the site is  5.5 acres approximately.

Several consultants were engaged by the appointed Architects from various disciplines viz. Structural Design, Electrical & allied works, Plumbing & Sanitary works, Landscape design etc. for the project.

Study materials referred to for the planning and design:

  1.   Printed brochure of  Wadala Truck Terminal by MMRDA, Mumbai.
  2.   Roadway Design Manual by Texas Department of Transportation, US.
  3.   Ernst & Peter Neufert Architects’ Data.
  4.   Truckers’ Park/Rest Facility Study conducted by the Illinois Institute of Technology for the Illinois Center for Transportation, US. 
  5.  National Building Code of India.                                                                                                                                      The above project is recognized as the pioneering work on planned  Truck Parking Yards in India.


Interior Design of the Corporate Office of Uhde India Ltd. at  L.B.S Marg, Vikhroli, Mumbai ( 1998 ):

Uhde India Limited, a subsidiary of Krupp Uhde GmbH, Germany, a multinational Company, engaged in design, engineering and construction of Industrial Plants for the Chemical, Petrochemical and Fertilizer Industry wanted to renovate its existing facility. The decision was preceded by a survey which indicated underutilization of space. What followed was, by planning, the client sought to sit more engineering personnel.

The plan layout is clearly divided into zones, each is served by a system suited to the area in question. Although the planning process was directed to reorganize and maximize  the space utilization, there was a specific requirement to design 4-seater cluster type work-stations where the Design Engineers would interact with ease and in an efficient manner. Various alternatives were developed before finalizing a particular design which was found to be user-friendly and followed. Custom-built Screen-enclosure panels define work stations. The modular design of the system makes re-arrangement easy and flexible. The work stations are designed to create a strong feeling of personal territory, and are in orderly geometric rows.

It is a facility of about 50,000 sft i.e. 4,645 Sq.m., comprising three floors. Activities are of various nature which were identified on the plans, but the concept for the décor is uniformly addressed by the general openness  of the action areas and privacy for the Managers on all the three floors. Executive areas including Board Room, Meeting Rooms etc. are reasonably isolated from general office traffic and casual interruptions.

The Board Room is located near the Managing Director’s Chamber, accessible through the Secretarial lobby and general corridor and located near the Executive Pantry and visitors’ lounge. The dividing partition of sliding-folding shutters in a part of the Board Room helps flexible use of space in combination, as and when required.

Along with the extensive computer networking, the lighting installation done is completely new. Since the lighting was closely tied into energy issues, to achieve both effectiveness of lighting in terms of ease of seeing, taking into account the level of illumination and effects of reflection, and economy of lighting installation, considering power consumption and the resulting AC load, use was made of prevailing energy efficient  luminaires.  

Housing Complex at Paradeep, Orissa, for Paradeep Phosphates Ltd. (1986)

The Housing Complex designed to house the personnel of Paradeep Phosphates Limited is situated about 90 kms east of Cuttack in Orissa and is about 5 kms away from the berthing facility of the Paradeep Port.

Originally four unit clusters were designed with corresponding numbers of internal courtyards to promote social interactions as well as to protect these dwelling from seasonal cyclonic storms. However a scheme of twin house cluster with two internal courtyards was finalized by the client and executed.

Laterite is the local material and so this was used in the walls which are load bearing – exposed externally with cement pointing so as to maintain the characteristics of Laterite. The internal surfaces are plastered for smoothness and light reflection . The structures were strenghtened using reinforced cement concrete for certain key elements like roofs, chajjas, lintels, cills, etc.

The reverse slope of the roofs helped in the economic extension of the slab to form the chajjas and to facilitate the easy draining of rain water . It was so designed also with the intention to discourage easy extension of any floor above in future thereby ensuring the preservation of the architectural characteristics of this planned development.


Architect’s own House at Lonavala, Near Mumbai ( 2015 )

Lonavala is at a distance of about 90 Kms from Mumbai, and the house there was planned and constructed on two plots amalgamated. The amalgamated plot of land is on a slope, being located in a hilly terrain. The planning took an unusually long time, primarily because of the efforts needed to save a full-grown mango tree on the land (which was not in good shape at that time) and study of ‘Vastu Shastra’ which influenced the planning/placement of the facilities with the requisite orientations.

The house is different in many ways than the conventional houses one gets to see in India. The architect-owner, having chosen to remain a low profile professional all along, did not really wish to be different but believed in doing this house with inputs he had tried to implement in some other assignments earlier in the past which he was not allowed to do. His concerned clients literally meant to say, ‘You are not going to do these at our cost.’ As it appeared, he chose to do things ‘at his own cost’ in this house itself which turned out to be a welcome contribution to the field of architecture.

The house is at the first floor level which comprises of three bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms and the living-dining-kitchen being placed in a hall like space. The ground floor is on stilts meant for car parking. There are two gates, one large one for cars, and the other small one for pedestrians. The small gate directly leads to a staircase with a few steps and a mid-landing onto the first floor landing  as one enters the house through the main door. One then walks onto a sort of  court yard of about 3.5 m x 3.5 m in size with 4 RCC columns in the 4 corners,  defining the space, which is covered by wooden planks with about 10 mm gaps in-between the100 mm wide planks. The gaps are for air entry from below i.e. ground floor at stilted level. Below the wooden floor level i.e. at first floor level there is an open grid steel reinforcement frame meant for protection against any intrusions. Below this steel grid frame work, a stainless steel black coated wire-mesh in an aluminium frame is fixed to prevent entry of mosquitos. The terrace at the 2nd slab i.e. rooftop level, above the make-believe  court yard  at the first floor level is similarly provided with steel grid protection, but avoided the stainless steel wire mesh protection at that level unlike what has been done at the first floor level. However, the skylight provided on the terrace top with structural steel frame work having sliding glass windows also have additional sliding shutters of stainless steel wire mesh to keep out mosquitos at that level, as and when required. The skylight is meant for bringing in the daylight as well as allowing the inside air to go out.

The most innovative aspect in this project has been notably the use of ACP (Aluminium Composite Panel) in the kitchen drawer unit panels as well as in the flush doors, discarding the use of laminated plywood and laminated particle board. This singular experiment done here by the owner-architect will go a long way in the industry in terms of durability, economy, avoidance of moisture induced damages etc. He has encouraged many fabricators in this regard personally.

It is to be noted that the entire flooring of the first floor, excepting for a small wooden flooring, has been done by natural lime stone, so also the wall dados are done in inexpensive marble and slate stones. The car parking area at ground level is done by tandur stone. Used  only natural stones. It is an RCC frame-structure building with most of the structural parts including the ceilings having remained exposed without plastering or painting. Maximum number of large sliding windows, mostly of 1200 mm x 2400 mm approx. in size, with double glasses with a gap of 12 mm in-between, all toughened, have adorned the building. The owner- architect did not give any attention whatsoever to the look i.e. the façade of the building. He believed in the inner health of the building rather than it’s looks. He believes that if the building is well thought out, it has to be aesthetically excellent too.

There are two underground water tanks, one tank is of 10,000 litres capacity, filled by the local Municipality, and the other is the rain water harvesting tank of 43,000 litres capacity, filled by the Rain- God through the building’s roof top terrace and the piping system connected to it.

Energy issues have been addressed by going for only LED lights in the whole project.

The lone mango tree saved by planning now stands in its place in full glory with new leaves.

Bank Building at Electronic City, Hosur Road, Bangalore(1993)

This building belongs to United Bank of India, a Govt. of India undertaking, and stands on a 1000 sq. metres of land in the Electronics City, Hosur Road, Bangalore. This project was undertaken primarily to cater to the needs of the entrepreneurs in this newly developed area at that time.

The planning strategy is based on surrounding the core banking activity with a secured zone which led to locating the entire banking facility at the first floor level. The ground floor is on stilts, meant for parking. The staircase is innovatively planned with a straight broad flight from the front to the mid-landing wherefrom two side flights lead to the first floor level main entrance to the banking hall, whereas from the opposite side i.e. from the internal parking area, a flight meets the mid-landing centrally, thus making the mid-landing a common meeting place for the customers walking into the building from the street in the front and those, having parked their vehicles in the internal parking in the stilted area, are on their way upstairs. The overall planning done meets the requirements in general, taking into account the functional aspects of the Bank.

Oriented to the north and facing the main street, the roof at the terrace level juts out dramatically over the diagonally recessed glass curtain wall which faces the north-eastern direction. 11 metres high entrance interspersed with long columns, broad dual staircase, offsetted  profile of banking hall and diagonal glass curtain wall at higher level heighten the entrance giving the building an amplified public presence befitting a bank.

Since the plot abuts the street perpendicularly, recessing the façade diagonally and offsetting it, made it possible for the building to be in full view of the passers-by from a distance approaching the building on entry into the main street of the Electronic city, and the two elements provide a degree of contrast yet are considered appropriate at two levels.

The building is cladded largely with dholpur stone whereas the painted plaster surfaces cover the structural elements to the minimum, providing a delicate contrast in colour and texture of the maintenance-free permanent finish.

The building creates an art-form by its complex frontal massing of sharp angular volumes, juxtaposed by the long columns. This complexity is contrasted with the simplicity of side elevations which have only three elements – dholpur stone, plastered surfaces and staggered windows. All the elements described here appear to have added to the abundant architectural outcome of the project done about 24 years ago.