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Chimes Office goes green for a better environment

Green construction is the emerging trend in the field of civil engineering. This trend will set a new era very shortly and will help in preserving our natural environment. We need to save our natural resources and conserve energy for our future generation. In order to accomplish this we must adapt ourselves to conserve and use our resources wisely. This type of construction will reduce the impact on the environment in terms of energy, water and various other resources. Furthermore, these buildings are constructed by adopting new green technologies like green concrete, renewable solar and wind energy, recycling of water etc. And the structure is designed on the basis of sustainability, sociability, making room for nature and program flexibility. One such green building is the Chimes office complex, a firm involved in Aviation, Technology, Education and business services located at Gurgaon. Emphasis is given on to create more space and natural environment. It is a unique structure in its own way that entertains lot of sunlight, self shading, avoids heat, insulated wall and heat reflective paint. In addition, they have grown roof top gardens and water gardens; this helps in regulating the temperature internally and cools the open spaces. Eco friendly principles were followed while designing the project and to provide a sensitivity of nature to the users.

The creative intellect who conceptualized this green building is Architect Aashish Karode, principal architect, Design Atelier. He's a person who adapts to sustainable development techniques and practices in all his works. He likes to present a natural environment to his clients and his works portrays the concept of sustainability. Ar. Aashish is skillful in illuminating the structure; he performs a complete research and studies on the path of natural sunlight and later designs the structure accordingly to provide natural light and energy. He shares his experience of executing Chimes Office complex project exclusively with 'Built Expressions'.

Providing Natural Environment

Sustainable design as it generally practiced pervades in all Design Atelier's projects as an attitude, not merely as a unique selling product or a separate service from the firm. "All our projects are economically viable, aesthetically pleasing and environmentally responsible. We always focus on environmental and energy conservation issues. We lay emphasis on natural lighting and a climate responsive design with mitigation measures that are integrated into the design approach," says by Ar. Aashish. This is well understood by the teams and the principle pay significant attention to the solutions offered by Design Atelier. The idea of meanderings through the building to reach various activity centers is made exciting by the experience of a nature based journey path through the spaces of the building. Lift lobbies, holding areas, social spaces, cafeteria and reception are located along the path and designed as people places that suggest the idea of diverse experience of graded light and shaded spaces, landscape variation that include plant and animal life (etched into the stone surfaces), air, earth, and water as part of each of the pauses and transition experiences. This is the idea of making room for nature- that it should or its suggestion of the natural must remain within the activities of humans.  Ar. Aashish reveals, "During several site visits we revised our drawings many times to better articulate particular visual connections through glass courtyards, corridors, and lobbies. This led us to understand many of the complex interconnections and interpenetrations of interior spaces, the interplay of light and the choices of just a few material finishes, so that the symbolism of the natural elements, landscape elements and the architecture work together".

Eco Architecture

"The idea of Eco- Architecture is to expand the sustainability discussion towards more humane like social interaction and spatial experience," quoted by Ar. Aashish while explaining about the project. The sustainability discussion was thus far focused in our practice, more on the LEED criteria where we generally attended to climate responsive design, mitigation measures, environmental and energy conservation issues, natural lighting that were well understood. Architecture of Chimes is also about the public spaces that are accessible, fostering community engagement and active participation in daily work life. This demands diversity of all kinds: juxtapositions of people, functions, built forms, spaces, and activities are just some of the fundamental elements that help create an atmosphere of belongingness and inclusion. The experience of nature within the spaces of the building symbolizes the issue of what else is important about supporting life in a building- The idea of meanderings through the building to reach various activity centers is made exciting by the experience of a nature based journey path through the spaces of the building.

Being environment friendly

"I like to provide a natural environment to the users," says Ar. Aashish, "So, I designed to create self shaded forms, Solar Facades, Humidified Air flow under the building where the social spaces are located, Natural Light Wells/Courts within the building, movement cores, corridors and transitions along the light wells, Soft absorbent surfaces on the ground level for surface water absorption, bio swales at the building perimeter draining surface rainwater, Sewage treatment and recycling of waste water, Ice Cooling (Thermal  Storage chillers) for HVAC, insulated Sky terraces and roofs with heat island reduction and by reflective special tiles and finishes, plants are placed at all levels in the building and outside also as a softening feature and creates pleasing views and vignettes from the inside, besides cooling the roofs," he continues. The transportation imperatives for parking, charging of electric vehicles and a shuttle service to metro and public transportation hubs are other highlights of the buildings program and administration. The use of special insulated glass wherever exposed and thermally broken glazing systems reduce heat gain and glare free natural light to the offices.

Sustainable methods

Ar. Aashish illustrates,"Green building techniques are cost effective when designers use a combination of clever material selection, local sourcing with scientific construction methodologies".Insulated aerated autoclaved concrete is a useful bricking material that is light weight and strong for external walls, recycling water for after uses like irrigation and flushing reduce the cost and environmental benefits, producing solar power while expensive initially saves enormous energy costs over the life cycle of the building. A simple strategy like recycling paper, provision of common cafeteria in an office building allows an organized and environment friendly approach that reduces car trips and wastages. A convenient shuttle service to the city wide public transportation system and available limited parking reduces car trips and generates vehicle pooling solutions that are easy to use.

Natural Lighting

Natural light generally penetrates building only up to 8- 9 meters from the external windows/ sources. The illumination is formed by using light wells and courtyards to puncture the mass of the building, to allow reflected light from both sides of the floor plates.Thus the offices are naturally lit for the most part without the heat from the outside surfaces.  The basement also receives light through sunlight, which penetrates from the ramp openings at the east and west sides, requiring much less electrical lights than a conventional building.

Significance of Water and Roof Top Gardens

Social spaces for people are located in the covered open stilted areas and sky terraces at each floor plate in the building. Placement of water bodies keeps the air that moves under the building humidified, cools the open spaces and courtyards. This supports the plant life under the building and makes comfortable places for people. Insulating the roofs and sky terraces keeps the exposed floor plates from the heat gain, leading to air conditioning efficiency.

The structure is an amazing miniature in terms of eco friendly and in retaining the environment in a natural state. The Architect has ultimately worked on the project maintaining the sustainable standards and produced a natural environment to its users. We must adapt to green construction techniques in order to preserve our environment natural and unharmed. The green construction practice will benefit the individuals as well as the society too. This will also influence to come up with new technologies and ideas to benefit at large to our country and upgrade rapidly.

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