The energy efficient community space called T-Hub in Hyderabad offers consummate support to start-ups, all facilitated by its design. Thoughtfully conceptualised and detailed by W Design Studio, the invigorating building is perfect for investors, incubators and accelerators in India.
Dreamers and thinkers may have many ‘ideas’ which only go on to die a premature death…with lack of nurturing being an important cause. The catch line tagged to the T-Hub office, ‘Walk in with an idea and walk out with a product,’ more or less explains what it’s about. Standing at the intersection of the start-up, academic, corporate, research and government sectors, this space is dedicated to entrepreneurship.The building is used for collaborative working spaces, meetings, mentoring, networking sessions and conferences. T-Hub provides access to mentors, investors and academia all under one roof.
Funded by the government of Telangana, this incubator is the largest in the country for start-ups and is located at the International Institute for Information Technology (IIIT) at Gachibowli. The first phase of T-Hub is housed in an expansive 70,000 sq ft space called CatalysT and is spread across six storeys, with 1350 seats, of which 200 are flexible, making it the largest incubator in a single location. The Indian School of Business provides business mentorship and the National Law University guides through the legalities of intellectual property rights protection.
“The elevation of the building is a combination of a very industrial as well an institutional look. The façade has glass, exposed brick and green wall grids.
The envelope of the building enables cross ventilation through the green walls and the sliding window panels. The bricks are hollow with insulation material to minimise heat gain,” says Gokul Krishna of W Design Studio. Highly energy efficient, T-Hub has been rated a green building by the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC).
“In this larger than life space, we have designed an assortment of different typologies of work areas across each floor plate. Every floor plan layout is different and creates interest through mix massing of the cubicle spaces and open office spaces,” says Gokul. The look and feel is industrial with open ceilings and exposed ducting. Unfinished metal and wood give the space a raw look and the use of grey and black is appropriate to the way the branding was visualised. “The elements of rustic, contemporary and industrial come together seamlessly in the aesthetic,” says Gokul.
The ground floor houses the pantry and conference rooms, while the rest of the floors are connected visually, necessary for businesses in the ‘incubation’ period. Two extended mezzanine levels offer open workstation spaces at the internal central atrium. The latter is the central core of the office and doubles as an amphitheatre for lectures and talks.
The furniture was customised to suit the spaces. “There are no ‘brands’ here, least of all recognisable ones,” says Gokul. “One section has been created entirely from stacked shipping containers, which impart their industrial feel to the space” he adds. The art on the walls is inspirational and motivational, connected to the thought that life is about a journey. The graphics are also connected to India, depicting Charminar or the Taj Mahal partially hand painted and partially executed in metal. Famous quotes have been used in creative ways, part of them as metal imprints on the floor.
The design intent in creating the invigorating spaces is to encourage collaboration and exchange of ideas. Each floor has a different character and feel, the open seating infusing a sense of energy into the spaces. Working at three levels, designated ‘Launch Pads’, ‘Accelerators’ and ‘Propels’, the spaces facilitate work in different stages of completion. Start-ups willing to pay a fee may use the facility for a year, during which they have to establish themselves. “After this time period, the office cannot continue to be rented,” explains Gokul.
T-Hub positions itself as a growth hub that increases the chances of success for as many as 150 start-ups at a time and facilitates a smooth path for them. It offers several intangibles, such as the unique experience of being part of a larger community with similar goals as well as a set of well-known mentors and investors, whose guidance is readily available.
Business incubation helps start-ups reduce the uncertainty, financial burdens and resource issues they are usually fraught with. Providing a nurturing and supportive environment, access to intensive business support along with financial and mentorship support, incubators help realise the true prospects of what was merely an idea.
“With its ‘New York grunge look,’ this office has a global appeal. Most of the people who worked on the art and branding in this project were in the 21 to 24 year bracket. We required something fresh, which we thought the young might be better equipped to deliver. Most of all, we wanted people to talk about this dynamic building. And we’ve succeeded,” says Gokul.
Text By Devyani Jayakar
Photo Credits Chocolate Box