Amit Khanna Design Associates (AKDA) is based in New Delhi and is a great believer of efficient, environmentally-conscious architecture and design. The team’s projects are tall testaments to this belief.
New Delhi based Amit Khanna Design Associates (AKDA) relishes challenge and plenty of evidence of that can be found in its work portfolio. The team is involved in retail, residential, as well as commercial/industrial design and is also working wonders in urban planning, school design, and product design.
The project facades are monolithic and beholden to minimalism, but they are often the primary green feature as well. The team ropes in everything from local materials to heat-efficient glazed surfaces to rain-water harvesting to make sure that its creations result in minimal environmental damage, and in fact have an eco-positive legacy.
Automated Warehousing Facility, Faridabad
How interesting can a warehouse get? That too when it has to withstand the oppressive dust and heat of the stark outskirts of Delhi? “Very”, would be the answer from AKDA, was it asked these questions. The warehouse in Faridabad had an expansive 7 acre swathe, but the terrain was rocky, the weather testy, and the human presence inside would be limited in a highly automated facility. Keeping the utility functions in mind, energy-saving and creation of a comfortable micro-climate of sorts became the priority.
The 1,40,000 sq ft structure came together in three phases, with verticality a constant, which will aid future expansion as well. The mostly square dimensions of the sub-structures, the high ceilings, the roofs with reflective tiling, and the carefully punctuated and glazed, exposed brick encasing are friendly to the resident machines as well as humans.
The brick work is indeed remarkable for being a hyper efficient energy regulator as well as a stand-out aesthetic feature. A perforated brickwork screen hugs the loading bay and the warehouse, and is one of the most solidly beautiful features of this industrial complex.
It faces a glazed dust barrier on the inside; effectively creating a 1,200 mm glare and temperature controlled buffer zone in between. The office faces the north side, and basks in the generous daylight streaming in from the glazed curtain wall. The canteen, parking, and the mechanical space are located at the base of the building, which is cooler as it sinks 4 m into the ground.
The sloping, uneven ground has pockets where rainwater can collect naturally, which is then redirected to a local well. “Post occupancy evaluation of the building shows a temperature differential of over 10 degrees between the exterior and interior spaces. As if that wasn’t good enough, the light quality within the building is even, cool and bright, but without the glare. Which, in a climate like Delhi, is nothing short of a miracle!” states the team.
Bookshelf at DesignXDesign 2013, New Delhi
This is AKDA’s ‘Bookshelf with an attitude’. The team likes to re-mould expectations, so instead of trotting out an installation for DxD 2013, it decided to re-purpose an old office furniture piece into a shape-shifting bookshelf. The modular nature of the bookshelf was an important sell for the team. But above all, the bookshelf is a compact representation of all that AKDA stands for. It is emblazoned with photos of its cherished projects. It reinforces the team’s commitment to sustainability. It is frill-free, elegant, multi-purpose and also quietly full of surprises.
AKDA has an extensive product portfolio, and much of the team’s irreverence with reference to the linear flow of light seems to have come together here in hyper creative glory. AKDA’s products are born of simple materials put to use to realise smart ideas. Light is a big factor here, as evidenced in ‘The Plane’, ‘The Barcode Light’, ‘The Tunnel’, and ‘The Traverse’.
All of them contain light within them and give it a deliberate, confined, and diffused playground to illuminate. The Plane does this by alternately placing square chunks of glass and wood not in a neat boring stack, but in a sort of swirl where all their ends jut out, thereby appearing to float. The light flows down and across, but not too wildly off the perimeter, and sets up interesting visual effects. Something similar happens with The Barcode Light, a solid, elongated fixture which lights up in the ‘voids’ between red bars. Thus, obviously looking like a large barcode.
The light sources sit at the bottom and top of The Tunnel, meeting and flowing out in sublime sweeps from the scooped-out rectangular middle. The Traverse breaks the straightness and crudeness of light by placing a side-cross of light wood surfaces in front of horizontal glass. The light breaks up, smoothens out, and comes out looking almost crepuscular. These lamps will be stand-outs in any room, as part of any setting.
Text by Shruti Nambiar
Photographs By AKDA Team, Amit Khanna, Shirin Qazi, Vibhuti Goel