Prefab in Ahmedabad

John Hill, Thomas Geuder
7. February 2019
Photo: Purnesh Dev Nikhanj

Since opening an office in Ahmedabad ten years ago Stuttgart's blocher partners has realized a trio of projects in the Indian city. Most recent is Mondeal Heights, an office complex comprised of two towers covered in a prefabricated concrete facade.

Project: Mondeal Heights, 2017
Location: Ahmedabad, India
Client: HN Safal Group 
Architect: blocher partners
Facade Design: blocher partners with BES Consultants Pvt. Ltd 
Manufacturer: UltraTech 
Product: Prefabricated concrete façade 
Lighting Designer: Atelier dada 
Landscape Designer: Design Cell 
Site Area: 15,000 m² 
Floor Area: 78,000 m²
Photo: Purnesh Dev Nikhanj

One year ago, Ahmedabad's Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize at the age of 90. Since then the city of more than 6 million people in western India has bee associated with Doshi, who established his office there in 1955. Die-hards may also associate Ahmedabad with Le Corbusier, who designed five buildings for the city in the 1950s (including the Mill Owners' Association Building), or Louis I. Kahn, who worked with Doshi to build the Indian Institute of Management in the early 1970s. Needless to say, it is a city with a rich heritage of modern architecture.

Photo: Purnesh Dev Nikhanj

Stuttgart's blocher partners entered the Ahmedabad scene in 2009 with the establishment of its Asian subsidiary, blocher partners india. Three years later the firm completed the Mondeal Retail Park in an exclusive area of Ahmedabad, and a few years after that it realized Mondeal Square, which consists of two oval buildings with lattice-like aluminum facades. Not far away, and for the same client as its two predecessors, blocher partners recently finished Mondeal Heights' two 17-story office towers. The buildings are positioned to make an opening gesture from Sarkhej Gandhinagar Highway, the major north-south artery that links the three Mondeal projects.

Photo: Purnesh Dev Nikhanj

The two 70-meter tall towers are sculpted "with interwoven and shifted elements," in the words of the architects, "[to] celebrate an urban dynamism." Practically, these shifts create terraces for the offices and conference facilities within. The concrete facade wrapping all sides of the towers is made up of a grid of horizontals and verticals, occasionally closed to break up any uniformity. At 80 cm deep, the facade provides generous shading for a place with an abundance of overhead sunlight. The facade is novel in the region for being prefabricated (by India's UltraTech), all the while delivering the usual quality control and speedy erection expected of the approach.

Photo: Purnesh Dev Nikhanj

In the late summer of 2018, the minimalist design of Mondeal Heights earned blocher partners the Realty Plus Excellence Award's "Design Project of the Year." The annual award, established in 2009, is considered one of the most prestigious in India.

Photo: blocher partners
Drawing: blocher partners
Drawing: blocher partners
Photo: Purnesh Dev Nikhanj

A version of this article originally appeared as "Vorgefertigt und lokal" on German-Architects.

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