Birla School © Serie Architects

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  • Walkeshwar School
    Completed while Studio Manager at Serie Architects Mumbai, 2008-09
  • This project was designed with the Serie Architects team, based in Mumbai and London. As Studio Manager for the Mumbai studio, my role in the project included 3d modeling, architectural design, space planning and presentation drawings. The project was designed and modeled in Rhino 3d, and exported to AutoCAD for 2d drawings.
  • Torqued stair core in relation to cliff face (study)
    © Serie Architects
  • A new 25,500 sq.ft. addition to the existing Walkeshwar School in Mumbai is proposed in a tight void sandwiched between a rock cliff and the existing school. This makes design, code compliance, and construction difficult.

    In such a tight and constrained site, the main challenge for the project is to draw light into a building that is bounded on 3 sides. The second hurdle for the project is that it cannot rely on the cliff face for structural support. In fact, it cannot touch the cliff face at all.
  • Cliff face and adjacent building at project site
    © Serie Architects
  • The project achieves this by releasing the basic elements of floors, walls, and staircases from the cliff. The off-setting of the floors from the cliff allows the cliff face to act as a light washer, drawing light into the interior of the building. The glass façade thus becomes crucial for the building, enabling enough light for educational functions to enter the building.
  • The floor plates do not touch the cliff at all
    © Serie Architects
  • The cliff face draws in light into the torqued stair core
    © Serie Architects
  • The glass facade helps get light into the building
    © Serie Architects
  • The main staircase and atrium of the building rotates and shifts with the contours of the cliff allowing a circulation route that is always in contact with the cliff face at all angles, at every turn. Various study models, renderings and mockups were made to study the interaction of the staircase with the cliff face. The stair becomes a strong counterpoint to the cliff face, as well as the main focal point of the building.
  • Torqued stair core study
    © Serie Architects
  • Stair study at landing
    © Serie Architects
  • Stair core as seen from roof
    © Serie Architects
  • Stair core as seen from classroom
    © Serie Architects
  • Lighting study at stair core
    © Serie Architects
  • The project was designed and modeled in Rhino, rendered with VRay, and exported to AutoCAD for 2d drawings. Models were made in-house, mostly by hand, except for the stair core, which was 3d printed from a .stl file, and the contours, which were laser cut. Paper models were made using Lamina and Pepakura to unfold ruled surfaces onto paper with maximum accuracy and minimum loss.
  • Study model of stair core
    © Serie Architects
  • Stair core as light catcher
    © Serie Architects
  • Stair core continually torques across multiple floors
    © Serie Architects
  •  The project is currently under construction, and is expected to be complete in 2013.
  • Combined plan showing relation of stair to cliff on several floors
    © Serie Architects
  • Section through building
    © Serie Architects