Collector Office by Sunil Patil & Associates

November 11, 2017

Collector Office : Designing a building as prestigious as the Collector Office of any city is a very challenging task. Such an important public building is one of the icons of a city and needs to accommodate a large number of employees and visitors. The old Collector Office campus had a number of ageing buildings, most of them ranging between 80 to 100 years old. This posed an increasing risk factor with additional problems such as insufficient parking spaces, lack of space for employees and creating severe issues for day-to-day working. An idea was developed to accommodate all the offices under one roof, which got permission from the government in 2009, with an administrative approval of Rs.42.13Cr. We approached the project with a view to retain the charm of the old campus, while creating a monumental new office building.

This charm was marked by stone buildings, flanked by large, beautiful trees and a garden. A porch structure, with the national emblem on top was of particular importance and was asked to be preserved by the heritage committee. The campus was dotted by 197 trees, and the new master plan was designed to save a maximum number of these trees. After demolishing the old building, the areas with the least amount of trees were marked and the new building was designed in these open areas. Out of the 197 existing trees, only 27 trees got affected and a new layout was created with three main elements – an office building, a separate parking building, and a majestic central plaza.

The office building consists of various departments, a dining area, record rooms, meeting rooms, waiting areas, services, etc. The building consists of 3 wings – A and B wings  of Ground+4 floors, and C wing, which sits perched above the A and B wings as a fifth floor. The parking building has been designed as a separate building of Ground + 3 floors and is connected to the main building by bridges. A and B wings are also internally linked by bridges. A large central plaza, measuring 9400 sq.ft., ties the office wings with the parking building and is covered by the C wing above. The memory of the old Collector Office campus has been retained in two ways – firstly, by using stone from the old buildings to create the base of the new one, and secondly, by giving due importance to the old porch structure holding the national emblem above it, which is now treated as a monument. This porch is situated at the heart of the central plaza and reminds one of the heritage of the campus.

The new Collector Office has been designed to be a monumental building. Stone masonry has been used at the ground floor forming a strong visual base. Above it, the office building rises with vertical fins, creating a tropical skin on the façade – responding to the context and climate of the city. Above the offices, sits the Collector’s floor, which houses offices for the Collector, Additional Collector, Resident Collector along with a Multi-purpose hall accommodating 213 people, conference rooms and waiting areas. As a civic building, the Collector Office has been planned with consideration of large number of people visiting the building from all over the district. The network of public areas, such as the large central plaza, courtyards and landscaped gardens, etc have been created for these visitors. These public areas act as buffer spaces, with ample shaded seating. Generous waiting areas at strategic locations will help in managing large crowds visiting the building. Wide passages and conveniently-located staircases and elevators allow easy circulation throughout. Functionally-located service areas have also been planned in each wing.

The building is designed as a green building and is registered with GRIHA, and is expected to receive a Four-star rating. The building has been planned considering the hot-dry climate of Pune, the orientation and context of the site. The office buildings have been planned with a courtyard in the centre, so that every square inch of the building receives ample daylight and cross ventilation. The courtyard has been designed with a skylight having turbo ventilators on top, allowing for stack ventilation and creating a continuous current of air. A large waiting area in the central courtyard is intermittently punctured by bands of landscape, creating a fresh and lively environment.

The building façade had been designed with vertical fins as a large portion of the façade faces west and east. These fins tackle the western sun and protect the internal areas from solar radiation and harsh light, allowing the indoor environment to be comfortable, both thermally and visually. The wall-to-window ratio of the building is limited to 38 %, reducing the use of glass. Efficient DGU glass with SHGC of 0.23 has been used on the ground floor and shading devices have been employed to completely shade the glazing areas on the upper floors to minimize the heat gain from the sun. At the same time, utmost care has been taken to make use of daylight in the building.  The glass in the windows has been used taking into account the appropriate U-Value for each façade, based on orientation, which ultimately contributes to keeping the indoor environment comfortable.

Eco-friendly materials have been used for construction – AAC blocks for masonry, Fly ash in the concrete and adhesives for the masonry work, which saves on mortar and hence, its curing. Most of the furniture is made in metal, saving on wood and plywood. Low VOC paints, low water flow-rate fixtures for toilets, and natural stone have been used as environment-friendly materials. High solar reflective tiles with an SRI of more than 0.87 have been installed on the roof, reflecting solar radiations and minimizing heat island effect. The execution of the project also followed environment-friendly ways of construction as per GRIHA norms-  Protection of top soil, barricading with GI sheets to reduce the air pollution, protection of existing trees, replanting the existing lawn, curing with gunny bags to save water, proper site material management, labour safety, being a few of the important aspects.

The landscape of the campus has been designed around the large existing trees. In addition to these, 110 new native trees have been planted, which will help and maintain the flora and fauna, reducing the demand for water. For surface treatment, the hard areas were drastically reduced to minimise the heat island effect and have been replaced by softscape by use of grass pavers. Lawn area is reduced to save on water and is replaced by groundcovers. Pathways and open-surface parking areas have also been designed with grass pavers, resulting in an increase in softscape. 100% STP-treated water has been used for irrigation, which is done by a drip and micro sprinkler technology.

A 185kw solar photovoltaic renewable energy plant has been proposed on the roof top to cater for 100% electrical load of the building. LED fixtures have been used throughout the interiors and exteriors. Overall, the project aims to save on energy with the help of the above mentioned strategies and its energy performance index (EPI) is brought down to 28.62 KWh/m2/Year i.e. 22.5% reduction in EPI. The building has been designed for fire safety with sprinkler system and fire staircases at strategic locations, and is also secured with CCTVs and managed by Building management systems. The building is designed as an earthquake resistant structure. In summary, this new, majestic Collector Office with an area of 18,445 sqm. follows the philosophy of vernacular architecture while achieving a contemporary form and monumentality. In a true sense, it sets a precedent for all future government buildings to follow.

Project Name :    Collector Office

Project Location :  Pune, India

Architects and Interior Designers :    Sunil Patil & Associates, Pune

Landscape Designers :   Sunil Patil & Associates, Pune

Contractors :   Shubham Civil Pvt. Ltd.


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