Holcim Foundation


A model urban building - Development Alternatives world headquarters

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction has published “Development Alternatives world headquarters – Office building in India”. The book clarifies in detail how the Development Alternatives head office building in New Delhi balances social, environmental, and economic performance, provides a functional and aesthetic response to its unique setting, and proposes a low-cost model of sustainable urban building in transitional or emerging economies.

The project is a showcase of traditional, environmentally efficient construction materials and systems that can be economically developed for low-energy mass production and adopted by the mainstream building industry, especially in developing countries. 

In an interview within the book, internationally-renown architect and designer of the building, Ashok Lall, explains that a focus upon sustainability generated an elegant solution to meet office building demands by using scientific knowledge and simple means. “I believe that our creative imagination, by definition, is unbounded, and that the principles of sustainable design are not a limitation; rather, they provide fertile ground for engaging the imagination to nurture a vibrant architecture of the future,” he said. 

The new office building tests innovative, specially designed elements and components such as a hybrid air-handling unit that incorporates evaporative cooling and refrigerantbased cooling in a new way to reduce energy consumption for air conditioning by 30 percent. Water consumption is also substantially reduced, recycled and used for irrigation or to recharge groundwater. 

The building is a symphony in masonry, with nearly a dozen types of brick, block, and stone used in a variety of patterns to create walls, columns, arches, domes, floors, and stairs – orchestrated to create a harmonious whole that delights the senses. Maintenance costs are minimized by using unfinished, durable, natural materials selected to age with grace and operating costs are kept low by natural lighting of all workspaces. 

The building combines forms, materials, and elements of traditional Indian architecture with modern technology to exemplify the way regional design and simple means can adequately and durably meet the needs of most buildings in contemporary cities. 2 The Holcim Foundation publishes an international series of monographs showcasing outstanding examples of sustainable construction to promote best practice, pioneer fresh solutions, and inspire architects, engineers, planners, developers and contractors to adopt sustainable parameters for their building projects.


Development Alternatives world headquarters – Office building in India
Published by Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, 2008
80 pages, 69 illustrations, 15 x 21 cm, in English
ISBN 978-3-7266-0083-9

Last Updated: November 01, 2008
Article Details
New Delhi, India
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