At Face Value
Window and façade designs across India are undergoing a face-lift, to reveal practical functions on a par with their aesthetics
The Indian skyline has undergone a sea change in recent times. Design has evolved from uninspiring, concrete structures to brilliantly crafted, and often complex, façades. Window and façade vendors are meeting challenging demands set by architects and developers, to help deliver projects that make one take notice. Construction Week scours the country for such innovative projects, whose materials offer practical advantages, while also lending a definite visual appeal.
Anna Centenary Library
Material Provider: Alcoa; Location: Chennai
The largest library in South Asia, Anna Centenary Library, Chennai, is a nine-storied structure spanning 3,33,140 sq-ft. Low-energy architecture has been successfully made possible through an environmentally friendly design. The building has also been certified by Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED). Its façade is composed of AA220 and unitised curtain wall. This system is composed of big glass units, which are fabricated and glazed in the factory and sent to the construction site for installation. This saves time as there is no necessity to glaze the façade on site. Once transported, the glass units are hoisted on an anchor and directly used on the building. This façade is well known for its quality and excellent tolerance to all weather conditions. The architects of this structure are CRN, while the façade contractors are Bhari Metals, both from Chennai. The library was built at the request of the Government of Tamil Nadu and is visited by about 2,700 persons every day.
System Provider: Deceuninck; Location: Thane
The façade of Azziano – Phase I at Rustomjee’s Urbania in Thane is interesting on many counts. It is the first high-rise project for Deceuninck in India. They have specially designed the façade with aluminium interlock to take care of the wind pressure. It was a revelation to them as well as the clients that uPVC windows can be used for high-rise towers, if properly designed. The Deceuninck team worked with Rustomjee’s in-house architect and consulted with Facade India. The project was carried out on a fast-track basis, where the windows needed to be installed while upper floors were under construction. Co-ordination with the civil contractor and projects team; and ensuring that the window dimensions were as close as possible to the drawing so that the project deadlines could be met, were the main challenges. This project has given way to many similar projects for the system provider, in the Thane/ Mumbai region, which has the maximum high-rise buildings in India. They are currently working on Azziano – Phase II.
Infosys Hyderabad Software Development Park
Material Provider: FunderMax; Location: Hyderabad
The building was awarded the LEED India Platinum rating by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for some of the sustainability features that it incorporated. For instance, the compact laminate panels from FunderMax, used for the façade, were installed according to the latest rain screen installation system and helped reduce the temperature inside the building considerably. This was possible because of the ventilation gap between the panel and the building, which allowed for continuous movement of air, which in turn reduced the air conditioning load. The load was further reduced because of the radiant cooling system incorporated in the building, which involved circulating cool running water through a piping system in thermal contact with the building surface. Architect KP Nagaraj designed the building, which was built as a part of the Infosys Employee Care Centre. The design philosophy was that it should look like a five-star hotel, something very different from the prevailing software MNC campuses in India. For this purpose, only premium materials were used for construction, including the façade. A warm, earthy beige colour was used to give prominence to the building and make it stand out in the green landscape.
System Provider: VEKA India Location: Mumbai
VEKA India has executed this project for the Happy Home Group. Happy Home Jade Ganesha is one of the popular residential developments in Matunga East, Mumbai. The project involves combination of sliding and openable windows with ‘multipoint locking’ hardware for better security. There are bay windows in the living room, with huge sliding panels in the middle and openable panels on both sides; connected with a ‘special corner coupling’ that ensures complete sealing. All sliding windows are provided with ‘stainless steel’ fly mesh. VEKA’s multi-chambered uPVC profile system, having a wall thickness of 2.5mm to 2.8mm, was used for all windows. Windows in the kitchen area were provided with special uPVC louvres for better aesthetics. The sit-out area has a sliding door with a ‘unique low aluminium threshold’, which gives obstacle-free access to the area. Laminated glass of 12.14mm (6mm toughened + 1.14PVB + 5mm toughened) thickness is used for better safety & performance.
Karle Hub 2
System Provider: Al Fara’a; Location: Bengaluru
Karle Infra is coming up with a SEZ development in Bengaluru. One 12-storied structure has a unique façade, which is designed with passive environmental strategies to enhance the overall energy performance of the building. From the outset, three essential goals were established for the façade design: high performance, timeless aesthetics and efficient constructability. Belgium Aluminum & Glass Industries led the design and construction of this building. An integrated design approach not only prevented excessive fabrication and installation costs, but also created a simplified design to allow for unitised glazing construction and faster construction. Each module consists of an equal number of panels that fits between the structural column grids of 10.8 meters. Within each module, the only variation is opaque (aluminium composite panels) or transparent (DGU) panels. What makes this envelop design really exciting is that while the ‘wave’ façade articulation contributes to the performance of the building, it is also aesthetically pleasing.
Material Provider: Glass Wall Systems (India) Location: Kolkata
H Architect from Singapore has designed an unusual, free flowing structure: diagrid, which forms the entrance lobby of the hotel. The beautiful structure gives character to the entire project. Glass Wall Systems (India) has creatively manipulated and co-ordinated the use of skilled engineering and innovative execution to bring this design to life. The façade has been executed with curtain wall glazing on MS, while a special kind of software was used to design the diagrid. The primary MS structure is designed in such a way that it adds to the aesthetics of the building. Elements of steel, glass and aluminium combine to make this masterpiece.
Execution of the façade was the most challenging part. Every glass had different sizes and to install the same required perfect planning and co-ordination. Also, another task was to put up the scaffolding or to design the scaffolding with platforms to give support to the installation team. The project was carried out for the Mani Group and BES were the façade consultants.
Material Provider: Schueco India; Location: Mumbai
An aluminium unitised customised construction façade (UCC 65 SG) along with an aluminium window system (AWS 102 NI) was used for The Wadhwa Group’s iconic project. Façade consultants Priedemann Building Envelope Consultants and façade contractors Ashbee Industries India came together to carry out the designs of RSP Design Consultants (India). Schueco innovated by customising the L-shaped corner unit, without compromising the weather and structural performance requirements post installation. Site testing also confirmed the same. This gave Ashbee the freedom to install multiple floors and keep to the intensive schedule.
Another challenge was to seamlessly integrate two-storied balconies, which were interrupting the continuity of the unitized curtain wall façade. There was a unique situation where there is a 3-way joint in the unitised system. This was addressed by customising the details for this area, thereby providing seamless integration whilst maintaining the integrity of the system. Also, a provision needed to be made for parallel pop-out vents flush with façades. These pop-out vents/windows had no protection at head. This was solved by using the Schueco aluminium windows system – AWS 102.NI, which suited the situation perfectly by providing the best possible ventilation in high-tech vertical façades.
Material Provider: Saint-Gobain Glass India; Location: Mumbai
Ruby Mills stands as a shining example of modern glazing solutions for energy efficient buildings. It has the distinction of being the first energy efficient building in India in which ceramic frit and high performance glass have been used, helping to achieve the targeted energy reduction for an IGBC-LEED Gold rating. Architect Atul Shah of Access Architects, Korean fabricator Iljin, and processor Glasstech, along with the design team from Saint-Gobain Glass worked on the project. Saint-Gobain Glass collaborated with the energy consultant EDS to provide a customised glazing solution. Ceramic frit and external reflection were designed to complement the stone cladding. The thickness/wind-load analysis and panel design optimisation were also done as a part of structural analysis by the design engineers. After an analysis, the green building glass SGG Envision Magma (SKN 154) IGU was suggested. The façade had a combination of 30%, 60% and non-fritted panels. The 60% and 30% panels were used in the south and west facing façade. Each of the façades had a tailor-made design and density of frit to offer unobstructed views (sans glare) in the vision panels.