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India’s Concrete Void factory building

by Ofentse Sefolo
India’s Concrete Void factory building

In the latter months of 2018, Indian architecture firm, Sameep Padora & Associates, completed its work on what has since been named “The Concrete Void” on the outskirts of Mumbai in India. The sunken void allows monsoon waters to safely flood the site without causing any disruption to the building or to the workers themselves.

The creative architects from Sameep Padora & Associates decided in favour of direct action – instead of creating ways in which to effectively hold the water out as they originally intended, they instead opted to include it in their design. Therefore, they have purposefully crafted the factory grounds to meet this goal and have constructed a little pond at the western corner of the lot. It helps to inject an element of nature into the area and lift employee spirits during the busy season.

Outside of the monsoon season, when there is no water moving through, the space can also be utilised as a shaded retreat for employees to enjoy during their breaks.

As a complementary aspect of the design, there is a spacious courtyard placed strategically within the centre of the site, as well as a bridge which connects the street to the building.

The architects created aesthetic contrast within the area by working with heavy concrete for the exterior of the structure – quite the opposite of the lightweight, opaque steel sheathing of the majority of the surrounding buildings.

“The corner void connecting to the central void courtyard creates an extroverted factory type, visually linking to the access road beyond the site as well as offering relief from the impenetrable adjoining building masses,” explains the architects of Sameep Padora & Associates.

The interior

While the exterior of The Concrete Void is undoubtedly its biggest talking point, the interior is just as impressive. The concrete building houses a number of different spaces, including dining areas, shipping docks and rooms for production.

Sameep Padora & Associates sought to ensure that the interior of The Concrete Void would always be well-lit and welcoming to visitors, hence the placement of relatively thin floorplates. Most of the internal spaces are also naturally lit throughout the day, thanks to the shallow depth of the building in conjunction with the adjacent courtyard and large, extensively glazed glass windows, which allow the sunlight to penetrate effortlessly at all hours – even towards sunset.

What also makes The Concrete Void stand out, is the fact that the design is seamless from exterior to interior, with traditional bricks being a theme used throughout. This particular building material complements the industrial nature of the structure as a whole and adds a different texture compared to the concrete, which is obviously what the vast majority of the structure is comprised of.

An interesting building that is just as functional as it is easy on the eye, it is no wonder why it is currently one of India’s proudest.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.dezeen.com and www.designboom.com for the information contained in this article.

Caption main image:
The chasm within The Concrete Void allows monsoon waters to flood in and out of the site.

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