Office for Communique / groupDCA
Amit Aurora, Vini Sam, Pritha Mitra
Text description provided by the architects. The Communique Marketing Solutions Office, Gurugram, India, creates a modern and egalitarian workspace in an effort to foster creativity, collaboration, and conversation. Its spatial planning emerges as a direct result of this intent: where, an open-plan office format is chosen that is symbolic of transparency. The office is housed in a three-storeyed building that crafts a distinctive identity for itself within its immediate urban context. The architectural vocabulary is unmistakably brutalist: the facades are an expanse of exposed concrete punctuated by the measured use of corten steel.
On the ground floor, a short porch leads the visitors to the entrance foyer. The upper floors house the workspaces within a seamless two-floor volume, accommodating a diverse mix of functions. In order to optimize penetration of glare-free daylight into this volume, its northern and southern edges are designed to be porous; the fenestration scheme was arrived at through a metric-based daylight analysis. To reduce the ingress of heat into the building, the western edge – which forms its primary façade – is completely blocked with a massive wall and an added layer of insulation.
The highlight of the volume is a mezzanine conference room that floats above an amphitheater-style, multipurpose event area. The third floor is conceived as a large unified space; the Wellness Centre stands centrally in the floor-plate, opening to wide terraces on both sides. This provides an uninterrupted space that can host a multitude of communal events such as yoga and prayer meetings, and parties.
The larger design strategy – biophilia – endeavors to enhance human engagement with nature in order to craft working spaces that promote happiness, good health, and well-being. Large windows, lined with planters, are designed along the northern and southern edges of the floor-plates; they open to beautiful views of the surrounding greens, while their careful placement and sizing ensures adequate daylight ingress. In addition, vertical green walls run along the entire two-floor length of the volume along its eastern and western edges. This strategy ties in with the attempt to optimize the building’s thermal performance as well. All of the windows are double-glazed, while glass wool is used as an insulating material on the western façade.
The interior spaces are a celebration of brutal materiality. The wall and ceiling surfaces –concrete, brick, and corten steel – are left exposed in their natural, unfinished states. The furniture is carved out of birch plywood, while the flooring is largely done in locally procured, multi-hued limestone. The air-conditioning ducts take on a sculpturesque quality; left unconcealed, they seem to float in mid-air, adding to the raw and industrial look of the space. These material choices help bring down maintenance costs significantly, while simultaneously enhancing user experience of the spaces.
The Communique Marketing Solutions Office, Gurugram, India, provides a workspace that augments the well-being of its users in addition to their professional productivity, by creating architecture that celebrates transparency, free thought, and collaboration –architecture that is inherently socialist at its heart.