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Functionality-Driven Design

Functionality-Driven Design

Project: Adobe Campus, Noida Expressway

Architects: SWBI Architects, New Delhi

Planned to be the Research and Development center for Adobe Systems – an American multinational computer software company headquartered in California, United States – the campus is conceived as a highly utilitarian and functionality-driven office. A pioneer in digital media, Adobe as a company has historically focused upon the creation of multimedia and creativity software products, with a more recent foray towards rich Internet application software development. The brief was to plan a world class campus for over 2,000 IT professionals in an energy-efficient, sustainable office space.Aimed to be at par with global norms, the office campus sets out to achieve new benchmarks for workspaces in the rapidly developing work culture in India.

Within the design, there are provisions, avenues, methods and expressions yet to be incorporated artistically, aesthetically and in a refined manner to achieve a healthy and vibrating work environment. An extensive research and study of Adobe’s current, newly commissioned facilities was undertaken by the design team, before arriving at the final design solution. Planned on a 7 acres site of about 4,00,000 SF usable area, with a phased approach to construction with two phases. Each phase is complete with a large data center, labs, meeting and collaboration spaces, security and ancillary support functions.

Adobe is a Spanish word for sun dried clay bricks – a basic building block – and with the client background in design, media and other geometric software, a back-to-basics design philosophy was adopted using terracotta as the primary material expressed in a modern contemporary style using geometric designs and compositions. It is conceptualised with an approach to energy and ecological conservation in the design of the built environment with a LEED platinum rating that was originally applied by Adobe for gold. Emphasis is laid on recreational facilities – both outdoor and indoor – that manifest in spaces such as the multi-purpose hall, gymnasium, outdoor court for spaces, recreational spaces and a generous-sized café.

Integrated master planning for the entire campus was done keeping in mind phased occupation and construction by means of phasing that creates a unified campus, while each phase is still independent in all respects and the ease of future construction is duly factored in. Phase I and II blocks placed in a T-shaped manner have been sensitively placed within the site, linked through a walking street running through the entire campus, connecting both the phases through landscaped courts and streets, overlooking water and landscape, creating an inviting micro-climate. To avoid the view of services from the workspaces, the service block is deliberately tucked away in the rear. The phase 2 block core is planned in the western zone to cut the sun out from the west. The central core and services are located at the centre of the floor plate, allowing for daylight and natural views.

Neighborhood-based planning is enabled for teams that are clustered around the central hub and communication stairs with a distributed privacy framework model that is adopted to create a combination of ‘Me’ and ‘We’ spaces.The main spine, designed on a grand scale running through the entire campus, overlooks the water and landscape, connecting both the phases through landscaped courts and streets, creating an inviting and encouraging micro-climate while acting as a visual and physical buffer to the main building. The shaded, outdoor recreational activity zone is located towards the north side to achieve optimum light and shade. An extensive horizontal parasol is provided above to cut out the high altitude south sun in summers, while allowing for the low altitude winter sun, at the same time enabling an uninterrupted view of the extensive landscaped gardens.An expansive sloping landscaped area in the front acts as an excellent forecourt space for the building, comprising of feature walls that support the roof parasol that shades the glare-free façade glazing and creates a clear vision from offices.

This enables excellent views of the landscape from the interiors of the work hall, while minimizing the heat gain from the building skin. A bio wall traps air pollutants and aids in lowering the surrounding air-temperatures and reducing cooling loads. Shaded pedestrian walkways are planned in the campus through the use of terracotta-tiled screens and a covered roof parasol. The north zone remains shaded throughout the day and has outdoor spaces such as the amphitheatre and sports facilities. Wind fl owing through picks up the mist from the spray-based water bodies combined with soft landscaping and bio walls that significantly improve the micro-climate of the space, enabling year-round use due to its special spatial experience for the walking users through its varying textures, light and shade.

The terrace garden and green roof are optimised to reduce the heat island effect while the solar shielding on the south façade/roof parasol for a high, mid-day sun angle.Parking and services are planned efficiently in two basements and one stilt parking. This is well-enmeshed with the earth berm in the landscape design, so that none of the cars on the surface are visible while eliminating the reflective heat component. The central core and services are located in the center of the floor plate allowing for daylight and natural views. The ground floor houses all primary and public amenities such as the entrance reception, training hall, library and cafeteria overlooking this pedestrian street. The east and west façade have limited usage of glass and smaller apertures to create a glare-free working environment.

An RCC-framed structure with PT slabs, AAC blockwork was used with the terracotta ventilated façade and high performance shaded curtain walling, heat reflective albino paint on the roof – all for reducing heat gain. Besides these passive measures, on the MEP front, use of radiant cooling has been deployed (chilled beams), demand ventilation for fresh air, sensor based LED lighting solution with a LPD of less than 0.65 w/sf, water conservation through water-less urinals, dual flushing and re-use of water in irrigation, reduction in LPD (Light Power Density), etc. are some of the other active measures deployed. High efficiency lighting with new technology luminaires and appropriate control systems and exterior lighting is planned for lighting pollution reduction for reduced development impact on nocturnal environments and improved night sky access.

The atrium is provided with a skylight for enhanced penetration of daylight in workspaces to create a live atmosphere for the campus within the realm of a corporate environment. While establishing a visual connection amongst all the fl oors and by providing a central communication stair, an active and throbbing social hub is crafted with coffee and collaboration spaces. It encourages people to use stairs, hence encouraging a healthy lifestyle and saves energy too. This north-lit atrium is a very delightful and lively space in the campus. Additional details on energy saving:An emphasis is on water conservation (40% reduction than normal baseline case as per LEED standards), for better hygiene and ease in maintenance.

All water closets are provided with dual button flushing cistern. All European water closets are low volume flushing using 2-4 litres per flush only. All taps quarter turn type with ceramic disk to avoid any dripping and quick opening and closure of the faucet. All urinals are of the waterless type and horizontal pipes are exposed from the ceiling below for ease in maintenance and repairs. All vertical pipes are laid in accessible shafts and fixed on brackets on a plastered surface. A sewage treatment and recycling plant is provided to treat the entire sewage and waste water generated in the complex. In the non-monsoon period, zero discharge is achieved by re-using 100% of the treated STP effluent in gardening, flushing and DG set cooling tower make-up.

In Phase 1, 100 kLD STP installed which is expanded to 200 kLD in Phase 2. Dual plumbing is used for water supply and fresh water used only for washing and drinking purposes, and recycled STP water is used for garden irrigation, flushing and HVAC cooling tower make-up. Separate water storage tanks and water supply pipes are planned for this purpose. Since the water table is high and direct ground water recharge is not possible, rooftop rainwater harvesting is adopted and proper capacity rainwater storage tanks are provided for storage and reuse for general plumbing applications.

A solar hot water system is provided to generate hot water to be used in the toilets. For kitchen hot water use, instantaneous LPG boiler is used. An underground HSD oil storage tank of 2X25 KL is also used to meet the oil storage requirement of minimum 7 days for the DG sets. A comprehensive fire strategy is adopted; a main static fire tank of 200 kL at the side entrance of the property along with the main domestic water storage tanks. A terrace fire tank of 20 kL is planned and the same is connected to the main fire risers at the terrace level with a non-return valve. Besides fire pumps, external fire hydrants (yard hydrants) are provided at 45m c/c all around the building. 150 mm diameter fire riser is provided in each staircase landing such that for every 1,000sq m floor area, at least 1 riser is provided.

An adequate number of ABC powder type, foam type and CO2 type extinguishers are provided on all floors. In plant rooms, ceiling mounted self-flooding modular ABC powder units activated through a sprinkler head are provided.A high (12-14 Deg F) Delta-T across evaporator and variable speed pumping system is installed with magnetically levitated chillers proposed for a higher COP. There are critical room air-conditioners on chilled water (with stand-by DX coils). Active Chilled beams and VAV system combination is installed for the air-side. Enthalpy recovery is enabled from exhaust air, to pre-cool the ventilation air for spaces. Jet vent fans and plug fans are enabled for higher efficiency for basement ventilation systems.

Fact File

Client: Adobe Systems Pvt Ltd

Site area: 7 acres land – 28,322 sq m

Built-up area: 7,25,000 sq ft

Consultants: Vinod Mutneja – VMCPL (Structural); Pramod Dhir – Dew ELEVATION Point (Mechanical, HVAC); TS Sethi – TSSEA (Electrical); Sujata Kohli – IPDM (Landscape); Girish Mishra – Saviram (Plumbing); CBRE (PMC); Balasubramaniam – Qpro (Security & BMC); LEAD Consultancy and Engineering Services (I) Pvt Ltd (LEED); Mridul Sharma – 3C Consulting (AV)Contractors: BL Kashyap & Sons (Structural, Civil); ETA (Mechanical, HVAC); Siemens (Electrical); DD Pradhan (Plumbing); CBRE (PMC), NEW ERA for ventilated facades + Noble Consolidated Glazings for Glass (Façade)

Year of completion: 2015

Company names of products/materials used: Wipro, Philips, Regent – lighting; Alucobond, St Gobain Glass & Terreal Terracotta ventilated facades – ACP / Glass/ Terracotta; Hindware – sanitaryware/fittings; Interface – carpet; Marble flooring in reception, granite flooring in lift lobbies and ceramic tiles in toilets and cafeteria; System Furniture from Herman Miller – Posh – furnishing


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