In 2018, the dynamic design duo Sabyasachi Routray and Anisha Menon of ma+rs took on a transformative challenge – refurbishing, extending, and reimagining the interiors of a single-storey old house that served as an office space. The plot, measuring 50′ x 80′, presented an opportunity to redefine the norms of office architecture in the Indian context. The result? A groundbreaking project that seamlessly integrates the domestic with the professional, responding to the local climate and context.
The Evolution of an Office Oasis:
Initially conceived as a refurbishment and interior modification project, the team faced a structural revelation – the existing slabs rested on columns without beams. The decision to dismantle the old structure and construct a new one laid the foundation for an ambitious reimagination.
The ma+rs team embarked on a design journey by challenging conventional paradigms. They questioned the ubiquitous glass facades inspired by the West, the lack of climate responsiveness, and the material choices driven solely by aesthetics. The resulting design is a deliberate response to the site’s surroundings, weaving a narrative that harmonizes with the existing residential and commercial landscape.
Recognizing the challenge of managing diverse flows within an institutional space, the building was strategically divided into three volumes – public, private, and collective. The basement and ground floor house public functions, while the first and second floors cater to staff areas and workspaces. The third floor is dedicated to collective functions such as a cafeteria and multipurpose room, while the terrace serves as a decompression zone with an urban garden and amphitheatre.
The building’s slab-beam-pillar system with stiffening cores not only ensures structural integrity but also provides flexibility in use. The facades, designed based on orientation, reflect a thoughtful approach. While the sides and rear facades maintain privacy with strategic openings, the front is punctuated by a grid of windows, intelligently set back to create space for planters. This second skin acts as a shield, minimizing heat impact on the glazed facade.
The ma+rs team, ever-conscious of the context, redefined spatiality inside the building, creating an office oasis that responds to the needs of its occupants while respecting its surroundings. The design not only challenges the norms of office architecture but also sets a benchmark for climate-responsive and context-sensitive spaces.
As the ma+rs team navigated the challenges of structural reevaluation and redefined spatial configurations, they emerged triumphant, leaving behind an office space that not only meets the demands of a modern workplace but also contributes to the architectural dialogue on responsiveness and innovation.
Project Name: Grid
Location: Bangalore, India
AREA: 13000 Sqft
Photography Credits: Studio Suryan//Dang