The Agastya office development in Kurla, central Mumbai will transform a derelict industrial site into a thriving new business community in a tranquil natural setting. Strategically located close to the airport, the scheme will provide flexible office space of the highest quality to support multiple tenancies, or landmark headquarters for a large corporation. The project comprises five office buildings, of three to seven storeys, along with a sequence of terraced roof gardens. On plan, the elongated office floor plates appear as fingers with curved tips and run in parallel across the site to give the impression of an open hand – this welcoming gesture will be one of the first that passengers arriving by air to Mumbai will see.
To create a dramatic sense of arrival at ground level and to offer protection from the sun and monsoon rains, a roof canopy projects above the main office entrance. The canopy extends to shade a retail promenade, which runs the full length of the upper ground level, intersecting the strands of office accommodation to create five distinct areas. The roof is punctuated by circular light wells, which echo the building’s curving form and draw daylight deep into the office floors. A natural hierarchy of privacy extends from the open gardens at the perimeter of the site towards the retail promenade, through to the café, restaurant, offices and terraces at the heart of the scheme.
The office accommodation is highly flexible – the generous 18-metre-wide floor plates have the potential to accommodate trading floors, an open-plan IT campus, or can be easily adapted for cellular offices at the perimeter or centre of each floor. Service areas are turned ‘inside-out’ – below the bands of vision glazing on each floor, a ventilation duct and a storage area project to create a bull-nose façade detail, clad in reflective stainless steel and bands of bronze anodised aluminium, which helps to shade the floor below. The façade design combines high levels of natural daylight with external shading and a ventilation strategy that minimises the need for suspended ceilings. The scheme has a comprehensive environmental strategy – the green roof absorbs rainwater and grey water is recycled, further reducing water consumption by around half. Together, these measures will help to set new standards for energy performance and quality and initiate a wider process of regeneration in the area.