Excerpt: The Landmark by Imbue Designs is designed keeping in mind the client’s objective to design the best commercial building in Gandhinagar as well as the challenge of designing a hybrid-model commercial building with multiple functions, consisting of offices and retail. The concept of ‘The Landmark’ included an open courtyard and circulation through the building to make it more interactive and functional.
[Text as submitted by architect] Design philosophy: The brief given to the Architects by the Developer was to design the best commercial building in Gandhinagar. Gujarat has a unique hybrid model when it comes to commercial buildings, unlike most other metropolises, where the functions are clearly distinct for ‘offices’ and ‘retail’. Most commercial buildings in Gujarat have multiple functions happening in the same building, which creates a major challenge for the designers.
Keeping in mind the client’s objective and the challenges mentioned above, the architects decided to come up with something that would be pathbreaking as well as financially successful for the developer. Hence, the idea of ‘The Landmark’ was conceptualized based on the time-tested retail places with an open courtyard and circulation through the building, which makes it more interactive and functional. The architects believed that the building should not only be a true landmark in terms of aesthetics, sales, and planning but also provide equal opportunity for the ‘end users’ to do business in the case of retail showrooms and corporates to enjoy the occupation in the case of offices.
To justify this unique opportunity, the architects focused on certain factors while creating the concepts.
Design foci: Central Open Courtyard: A central open space of approximately 1 acre was provided. Being the focal point of the building, it not only provided ample light and ventilation but also an opportunity for public gatherings and better interaction between the building and the people. In a way, it functioned like the heart of the building.
Access and Visibility: The most basic element of a good retail building is the frontage, access, and visibility of each store. ‘The Landmark’, provides all these to each and every store. This was one of the primary reasons for the stupendous sales it was able to generate, which no other building had ever made in recent memory.
Elevations: The shape of the building was a free-flowing, curvy one. The fact that it was a corner plot enhanced the shape even further. Unlike most buildings, the entire building had a stone façade (dry cladding technique). For the entrance portals, stainless steel was used, making it an extremely upmarket and elegant building.
Spatial planning: The ‘mixed’ nature of the building meant that the architects had to give equal weightage to the retail stores as well as the offices on top. The sizes were also arrived at based on the saleability factor. This was perhaps the most challenging aspect of the project, where the sizes varied drastically based on the location. The design did have a perfect blend of small, medium, and large stores.
Services: The unusual design also resulted in challenges as far as the services are concerned. ‘The Landmark’ had eight sides, which needed to be treated as ‘elevations’. If the services (ducts, A/C outdoor units, etc.) were not designed properly, it would mean that the façade would be compromised. Eventually, all the services were placed on one side, and the rest of the facades were free of any services. The provisions were made in such a way that even after many years, the facades would not get compromised.