Suzlon Energy Limited, a world-leading wind energy company based in Pune India, together with the architect, pledged to create the greenest office in India. Benninger calls the Tanti Family true patrons of architecture comparable to the Sarabhais, the Guggenheims and the Rockefellers. Living the motto of the company, ‘powering a greener tomorrow’, the architect relied exclusively on non-toxic and recycled materials. A million S.F. of ground plus two levels in a 10.4 acre urban setting achieved a LEED Platinum and TERI GRIHA 5 Star certification with 8% of its annual energy generated on-site through photovoltaic panels and windmills with a total incremental cost of about 11%. There are no other LEED certified buildings with this level of certification and on-site renewable energy that have achieved this kind of cost efficiency. With 92 % (4 MW) being consumed by the project is ‘sustainable energy’ making this a Zero Energy Project!
It has become the need of the hour for global corporations to have sensitively designed buildings which reflect their values, concerns for environment and the image of the new age. It calls for designing buildings in India with sensitivity towards climate that is both energy efficient and draws vernacular solutions. Suzlon One Earth derives its inspiration from large Indian historical campuses like Fatehpur Sikri and the Meenakshi Temple complex in Madurai. This took the shape of a Land Scraper, opposing the idea of a Skyscraper! It is a counter blast to “the glass box.” A series of served and server spaces were created to adopt to the transformational nature of the business over the years. The Served Spaces cover the lion’s share of the campus where people work that can accommodate modular walls and furniture systems. These are served by more rigid cores that house wet areas, utility shafts, ducts, fire stairs, elevators, entry and reception areas that will not change over time.
“Modules” like the silo fire stairs; the benchmark glass cylinders and the 8.4 by 8.4 meter modules that can be used like a Lego Set and moved about in one’s mind to create internal and external spaces. Aluminum louvers act as a protective skin allowing daylight and cross ventilation. The design process started with a premise of creating a central gathering space, or Brahmasthan, with the sky as its ceiling! There is visual access to the large central gardens from everywhere. There is a sense of connection between the various kinds of spaces right from the underground entries vide the sunlight that descends there from the Sky Courts and the Glass Cylinders and the vegetation that flows from these elements, up through the cylinders into the main circulation nodes of the building. The Deepa Stambh is set in the centre of the Suzlon reflecting pool.
The pool rests at the basement level, wherein all of the cafeteria and the dining room open onto the water. In the background these see a cascade of water falls, flying down three levels of tiers, with traditional step-like objects giving rhythm to the backdrop. Large water body in the central court helps in improving the air quality and for evaporative cooling. All the external landscape areas are brought into the indoors along the perimeter of the building bringing fresh air, nature and natural light into the work areas so as improve productivity of occupants. This central garden plaza encourages communication, interaction and innovation amongst the 2300 colleagues and provides a stunning aesthetic presentation for visitors.