Christopher Benninger studied Architecture at Harvard University and City Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His teaching career commenced at The School of Architecture at Ahmedabad (1968), and it continued with Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (1969-71), The School of Planning at Ahmedabad (which he founded with Doshi in 1971), and at the Centre for Development Studies and Activities.
His planning projects are located pan India besides Sri Lanka and Bhutan. Amongst his publications, his book ‘Letters to A Young Architect’, won the Best Architecture Book of the Year Award 2012. Besides numerous awards he has won the prestigious IIA award on six occasions.
A Project by Christopher Benninger: AN EXCEPTIONAL INDUSTRIAL ARCHITECTURE
The Krohne Marshall factory in Pune, Maharashtra, provides an example of Industrial architecture that goes beyond the basic necessity of housing complex manufacturing processes to provide a salubrious work environment for its users. Constituted with the purpose of manufacturing valves and liquidflow metres, the factory is a joint venture between the German and Indian corporations Krohne and Forbes Marshall respectively. The quest for a fresh design approach towards expanding their existing factory led them to CCBA Designs.
The new Krohne Marshall factory building is the result of elaborate planning and design strategies to accommodate two major challenges – first, the need to bind an old factory premise with a new structure, and second, the construction of the new building while the old factory continued to function.
On a 1.1 acre plot, the expansion of the Krohne Marshall factory is a four storied structure (G+3) of roughly 8000 sq m, linked to the existing two storied factory of roughly 2000 sq m. The space where the two structures meet is transformed into a triple-height atrium by replacing part of the existing terrace slab with a polycarbonate roof.
The new structure includes a partial doubleheight workshop space, vortex rigs, office spaces, training rooms, utility and service areas.
One enters from the southwestern side into a reception lobby that overlooks theatrium. Vehicles are led into a basement parking facility below the new building. The reception lobby is flanked by workshops on either side. In order to avoid exposure to the harsh sun on the south, the service block forms a solid mass to the south western side of the building. The upper floors house the office spaces and administration.
Externally, a perforated Aluminium Jaali encapsulates the entire structure to bind the old and the new blocks into a singular whole. Custom-made with triangular perforations inspired from the logo for Krohne Marshall, the Jaalis are supported on a Steel framework.
Coloured glass windows placed behind these screens create a play of coloured light and shadow in the workshop spaces, reminiscent of a Cathedral with stained glass windows. Ferrocrete frames definethe boundaries of the external façade of the building, bordering the edges of the Aluminium Jaali and the openings in the building.
In order to span the large areas required for the factory’s spaces, Post-tensioned beams and slabs have been employed throughout the building. Due to the requirement for a brighter and lively work environment for the office spaces compared to the workshop areas, the office spaces have been restricted to the entire third floor.
The difference in its spatial quality is brought about through the introduction of a breakout space lit from the top using a polycarbonate roof and enclosed within a transparent glass cylinder. This serves the dual purpose of creating a splash of light in the interior while also providing a space for employees to connect to the natural environment outside.
The masterplan takes appropriate advantage of the site which is located on a corner plot flanked by roads on two adjacent sides by creating a exhaust tower at the Southeast corner. This tower acts as a focal point, drawing the viewer’s eye to the building. Tall water towers that measure the flow of water anchor the project to its site. An external fire staircase provided on the South eastern façade further breaks down the mass of the building.
The Krohne Marshall factory building is an example of how even the most mundane components of industries can be effectively turned into harmonious elements of an architectural composition.
At a time when the construction industry urgently needs to adopt sustainable measures for a sensitive built environment, the Krohne Marshall project teaches us to judiciously use our existing built environment rather than destroy them to accommodate our everchanging needs. Architects need to look beyond their immediate goals towards a greater future to create structures that can adapt and evolve in time. Let us also not forget, in our haste for rapid progress, the primary intent of our built environment - to serve humanity.
Name: Krohne Marshall
Type: Re-development and expansion of a factory
Area: 8000 sq m
SR Material Poetries
When an idea embraces materials, different forms and expressions are born.
As the touch of a musician sparks life to an inert musical instrument, similarly, a material comes to life when a designer meshes an idea with it.
In the projects of Architecture and Interior, often the central theme and the cerebral idea gain all the attention, get talked about, and walk away with all the glory. But then, there are significant contributions and untold stories underneath, which never get surfaced but without which no laurel was ever possible.
During project execution, one goes through so many trials and errors, experiments, faces unexpected challenges, deals with changes in client’s brief, works with the artisans, partners with other firms, plays with the colours and materials, laughs, cries, learns, and THEN succeeds together. Surfaces Reporter’s Spaces & Material Poetries is an honest attempt to closely observe this progression and bring to life the hidden, unknown and untold stories with all the “emotions and learnings”.
When we discuss design by design, sharing becomes teaching, reading becomes learning, and the story becomes inspiring. These stories are from varied projects and personas - from the maestros to the amateurs.
We know, you will love to know and see, what happens behind the curtains and appreciate our sincere attempt to unleash the lesser known. Should you like to share your projects with us, write to firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com
To explore more fascinating Material Poetries: Click Here.