Project description by jury
In response to the worldwide spread of air-tight, fully glazed buildings, that in countries like India can largely fail to meet occupant’s expectations and comfort requirements, the S Nine project suggests an efficient and environmentally conscious façade system for hot semi-arid climates. The façade design is based on the use of thin slabs of natural red sandstone, assembled so as to create a grid of planters and fenestrations. Vegetation becomes a distinct trait of the building skin, offering a charming natural atmosphere inside while providing a lively character to the neighborhood. The semi-permeable natural skin also helps increase indoor comfort, serving as shading device for the building and as a regulator of temperature fluctuations. The stone fins stand only on two vertical metal elements that embeds also water supply and discharge systems. The whole façade grid is independent from the main building structure, allowing for a wide flexibility in terms of pattern and composition. Implemented at a 1:1 scale in a pilot building in Pune, the novel façade technology has involved local labor in the stone processing, demonstrating that green technologies can represent a great opportunity to stimulate a circular economy.
The Holcim Awards jury Asia Pacific highly commended this very developed and advance façade system that went all the way from a concept, to prototype and full-scale construction. The solution was considered very appropriate for the Indian climatic context, well-rooted into the local cultural dimension and aesthetically compelling. The modularity and ease of implementation were compelling aspects that make the system relevant not only for new construction but also for retrofit interventions. The proposal successfully demonstrates that façade design can move away from international trends to be rethought to meet the needs of the territory locally.
Regional observation, design adaptation and innovation
Buildings with glass envelopes result in a nature-deficit and dull environment for the surroundings and the user. In earlier times, most of the buildings in Pune had planters protruding onto the streets. It depicted a unique celebration of life with nature in transitional spaces like balconies and windows. This aspiration has been adopted in the design to create a nostalgia of having plants by the window which can be touched, felt and watered from inside to create a distinct bond with users. These planters bring life to the internal environment and create a sense of belonging for the user of the space. The external neighbourhood also turns lively with the natural planter fenestration. The semi-permeable natural skin serves dual purpose of planters and a shading device to the building.
Design and strategies for construction
A peripheral column system was adopted for flexible and multifunctional use of the interior space. Modular divisions create an illusion of scale in the elevation. It makes the construction easier, since the skin is locally crafted by hand on site. Involving local labour creates a circular economy within the city. A unique type of structural innovation is evolved through combining structure and services. The stone fins stand only on two vertical metal members that also have water supply and discharge system through them. The asymmetric design and arrangement of planters make a visual pattern which is complete in itself. Further, it gets enhanced with plants. Also there is a flexibility to change architectural expression of the building as the stone fins are independent of the main structure.
Natural material, zero wastage and environmental performance
Instead of creating huge glass envelopes, Indian natural red sandstone was selected for the outer skin, for its key features like water absorption, durability, tough built and quality to outlast artificial materials. Stone sizing has been designed to minimize the wastage of stone. The unused stone is utilised in the parking floor and compound walls. The water and liquid fertilizer is supplied to each planter with a drip system by gravity. Modular design has made the planters easily accessible for maintenance from individual floors. The fins create a semi permeable envelope around the building in a way to obtain diffused light in the interior for most part of the day. Diffused rays through planters also reduce the overall heat gain inside the building.See more
More and more airtight buildings with glass facades are being built around the world. In countries like India with a hot, semi-arid climate, this type of architecture is out of place. The project by Divya Jyoti, architect from Pune, India, envisages a sustainable facade system for buildings in such climate zones. Thin slabs of locally available red sandstone are used to clad the facade. They are arranged to create a grid of windows and planters. Vegetation thus becomes a special feature of the building. The facade provides shade and moderates temperature fluctuations. The facade grid is independent from the structural grid of the building, which ensures maximum design flexibility.
“We have combined modern technology with local labor to support more independent living,” says the architect. Marilyne Andersen concurs: “This is about more than just integrating plants into a facade." The jury points out that the system works just as well for new buildings as it does for renovation of old ones. The project shows how successful rejecting international trends and focusing on local needs can be.Read more »
Next Generation 4th prize Cultivated Envelope in India – Vernacular green facade system by Divya Jyoti, architect, PMA …
Next Generation 4th prize winner Divya Jyoti, architect, PMA madhushala, Pune, India for Cultivated Envelope in India – …
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