The client, Narmada Bio Chem Ltd is engaged in producing fertilizers for the agricultural sector. With an imminent IPO and the need to consolidate operations of three distinct locations into one, this project was seeded in creating an entity that would inspire trust in business partners and embody the company’s growth. The brief, then, specified a simple building which would reflect the organization’s ethos and identity.
The design intent was formalized by open planning and organization simplicity — and the endeavor became an exercise in rational and optimum space-planning, to fulfil the requirements on a tight, 570-sq-mt plot. The architects revisited the modernist architectural syntax to articulate a clean built-environment with good detailing.
The core company business being related to agriculture and agriculturists, prompted the architects to think of a material manifestation that would be raw, close to the earth and rooted — culminating in concrete as the material of choice. Glass became a companion material for its lightness and transparency — and as a counterbalance to the solidity of concrete. While metal forms the third partner to this pairing on the facade, in the interiors, the palette includes natural stone, wood and metal as well. The extensive use of glass makes daylight a constant and integral part of the spatial experience, controlled by mechanized roller blinds as shading devices.
Always keeping things ‘simple, practical and yet aesthetically beautiful, the geometry of the built form emerged as simple, with clean lines, albeit decisively aspirational and global. The rationale behind this design direction was the sector’s considerable technological and biological advancements (organic farming, green houses, drip irrigation, cross breeding, etc), which could be embodied in the building as well. Tadao Ando’s work was a constant inspiration through the design journey, to learn from his understanding of materiality (especially concrete) and his ability to make a simple box powerful and poetic at the same time.
The programmatic distribution is vertical in nature, becoming progressively ‘private’ as you proceed upward. The sound and first floor comprise public areas such as the reception block, a conference room, board room and its pre-function area. The second, third and fourth floors — with columns to the periphery to render a column-free floor plate — accommodate open-plan offices for office staffs and managers. The fifth and sixth floors are reserved for the higher management, with the former housing executive cabins and the latter, a dining room for the directors and guest rooms.
The Narmada Bio Chem corporate office was a complication of a clear vision from the outset, an alignment of thoughts of the architects and the client — and the constant strive for ‘keeping things simple’.