The Project brief was to create a state-of-the -art Software Development Campus for approximately 23,000 Information Technology professionals. The Campus will provide services for multi-national companies worldwide. The 50 Acre parcel of land is located in a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). SEZs are created by the Indian Government to allow domestic companies avail of certain tax benefits for export services.
Tata Consultancy Services required the project to be phased, as it represents a significant addition of capacity to their existing workforce. It is also a requirement of SEZs that the work performed should be for new projects and contracts, thus Tata Consultancy Services could not simply transfer existing projects to fill up the new facility.
The project was initiated in 2007; construction began in the summer of 2008 and is expected to be complete by the end of 2013. The project has an occupied floor area of approximately 2.5 Million Square Feet with a further 1.5 Million Square Feet of enclosed parking.
The project is custom designed and constructed to meet the Tata Consultancy Services’ Brief. The site is rectangular in shape, approximately 200M wide by 880M in length. Using the natural topography, the site is divided into five levels demarcating the primary functional areas of the project. The first level contains the Administrative Zone, Training, Client Care and the Auditorium; the second through fourth levels each contain software engineering blocks of approximately 8,000 workstations each; the fifth level, furthest from the main entrance, contains the power plant and electrical substation. The organization of the site allowed Tata Consultancy Services to construct and occupy the project in a scalable manner.
A one-hour drive – from the city and the airport, visitors will have had to contend with congested traffic and often rough road conditions traveling to the site. Physically and philosophically, the gateway marks the transition from the clutter and chaos of the streets to the order and calm of the campus. The saffron coloured flying form of the gateway canopy and the resolute shape of the TATA signature wall are clues to the architectural drama that unfolds within the campus.
Associates arriving by bus enter the Campus through separate gates avoiding any conflict between vehicles and pedestrians.
First time visitors and VIPs are welcomed to the Campus at Rajgad – The Administration Building. The form of the building is of two outstretched arms surrounding a reflecting pool while also visually framing the campus.
Akin to the entrance of India’s most iconic structure – the Taj Mahal – the formal entrance of the Sahyadri Park Campus is a portal, carved out of this building, revealing a central linear garden.
Walking the fine line between the stiff bureaucracy, fast-paced energy and intellectual creativity of Tata Consultancy Services, the interior décor of the Administration building uses familiar materials in dynamic combinations.
The executive areas include private offices with a campus view, a Board Room, Conference Rooms and a 500 seat auditorium for large presentations and team meetings. The auditorium stage has a backdrop of a full height glass wall revealing the main plaza and reflecting pool when the nature of the presentation and level of daylight permit.
The elongated rectangular shape of the Campus is bordered on two sides, the east and north, by roadways. The 9 story, 450M long, subtly modeled north façade of the software blocks intentionally represents the power, prominence and strength of the Company amongst its industry peers and the Indian business community. The scattered breaks and slices through the shield of the façade provide clues to the complexity of the inner spaces. The three major entry points are punctuated by bright hued cantilevered canopies. In concert with tradi- tional Pune Architecture, a music gallery is located above the entrance arch such that visitors would be serenaded as they enter through the gateway.
Owing somewhat to the benign climate, but also to the desire to create a different model for office buildings, the entry and circulation spaces are all non-conditioned. The lines between inside and outside are blurred as the over-scaled openings welcome and encourage entry. Throughout the building, circulation spaces are cooled by natural ventilation.
In contrast to the protective shell of the north façade, the south side of the software buildings is more articulated and breaks down into smaller pieces to provide connectivity to the linear garden and other features and facilities of the Campus. Entrances cut through to reveal the inner organization and structure of the buildings; large sky terraces and a floating skylight permit cooling breezes to temper the microclimate of the circulation zones.
If arriving by car, parking is provided in subterranean structures. From there escalators connect to the central garden where frit glass canopies protect the path of travel to the building entrance. The short walk to the entry is accented by with water features, native landscape and creative lighting effects.
Rising from the primary entrance, as an inducement to all to forego the elevator and circulate vertically via stairways, the grand staircase is formed by a pair of cupped monolithic concrete walls punctured by random triangular openings. As the walls rise, the openings change in scale and frequency from many small piercings to one large shape at the top.
Glass walled bridges connect the stairs at every level while visually integrating all the design elements into a continuous whole and providing functionally efficient circulation.
The central atrium is the organizational space of the software blocks, it is ringed by circulation and serves as a a constant reminder of the importance everyone’s role and how it connects to the Company as a whole. Flying overhead, translucent tensile fabrics in the national colors of India break the intensity of vertical sun rays experienced at certain times of year.
Of paramount concern during the design process was to give every workstation access to the maximum amount of daylight and unobstructed views to the exterior while also minimizing glare at the desktop.
The strategies used were: floating ceilings in combination with floor to floor glazing to maximize daylight; exterior perforated metal screens and horizontal louvers to eliminate direct glare; narrow floor plates and lower partition heights to maximize connection to exterior.
In IT (Software Development) zones the workstations are arranged in clusters of four to promote collaboration.
In BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) areas the workstations are organized on curving tables to break the predictability of the workspace.
The fabrics and theme motif of the campus come from an indigenous, traditional weaving pattern known as Ikat.
Two highly contrasting local granites combine to create the graphically stunning floor; the elongated geometry of the field pattern coupled with randomly placed highlights generate the visual movement.
The material palette of major circulation spaces is relatively simple, in anticipation of the inherent energy of the youthful demographic of the buildings occupants and the vibrancy and diversity of their apparel.
At full capacity, the Campus will have a daytime population of 23,000 working professionals. In the rapidly expanding world of software development, the demographic is skewed towards recent college graduates.
Catering for the nutritional needs of the workforce are three large cafeterias, an executive dining pavilion and smaller lunchrooms throughout the buildings.
By design, the main cafeterias are positioned a short walk away to encourage everyone to rejuvenate during their lunchbreak. The cafeterias, in food court fashion, offer a choice of cuisines and also provide indoor and outdoor seating options.
The linear garden is marked by sprinkled gathering places, contemplative seating areas and activities.
A 500 seat amphitheater for evening performances is formed in the natural rise of the site while meandering paths link all of the buildings on the site.
Whereas the architecture of the buildings relies on sleek and shiny metallic surfaces, the hardscape materials are natural random cut stone and brick intertwined with lush indigenous landscape materials.
Although the liner garden conceals a two-story underground parking structure, undulating landscape forms up to 2M in height were possible through the use of huge styrofoam blocks covered with textile fabrics.
Overlooking the west end of the linear garden, a 100 room Hotel for visiting employees and Clients sits above the Sports Center. Rooms enjoy east views of the manicured landscape or west views of the nearby hills.
The playful geometry of the glass wall linking the hotel and sports center lobbies is a sculptural replication of still shots of sporting activities. The striking geometries of the gymnasium wall identify the exertion movement and energy of the games within.
As a counterpoint to the stress of work, the Sports Center provides employees and visitors a welcome outlet to engage in exercise and fitness activities.
Outdoor activities include tennis, volleyball, basketball, cricket nets, swimming and a jogging track that runs through the entire campus whereas indoor activities include badminton, indoor soccer, table tennis, snooker, squash and yoga along with a fully equipped gym and weight-room.
In addition, for those who prefer more serene activities, a putting green, outdoor chess tables, pathways through the lush landscape, solitude in the zen garden or quiet conversation at a shaded gazebo might be the perfect antidote to complexity and pressure of daily travails.
Although disabled access laws are lagging behind the rest of the world, the Sahyadri Park Campus is designed and constructed to meet International accessibility standards.
The barrier-free design includes all walkways, building entrances and paths of travel. Wherever changes in elevation are necessary due to site conditions or construction requirements, ramps are provided at slopes not to exceed 1:12. In accordance with accessibility norms, handrails are also provided.
All elevator banks are equipped with destination control technology whereby the passenger indicates which floor they are travelling to, and the key pad directs them to the elevator which will take them there directly. This cuts down waiting time and travel time (since the elevator will only stop at the designated floor) and also is highly efficient from an energy use standpoint. A special button for disabled access ensures that the elevator waits for a sufficient time before departing.
Dedicated accessible toilet facilities are included in each service core and accessible parking stalls are provided in each parking area making the campus a model of accessibility.
At each elevator lobby, bright and lively information boards provide directions. Along the corridors, suspended signage provides additional way-finding information. The graphics and colors used compliment the colour scheme and the overall theme of the campus – the Sahyadri mountain range.
From a social point of view, the facilities at the Sahyadri Park Campus have been created to encourage and augment interaction amongst the occupants and visiting Clients. In contrast to a typical office building, circulation spaces are eventful, filled with daylight and encourage lingering and chance meetings. The large atrium, overlooked by passageways on every floor, is a great place to meet up with friends from other projects or to take a stroll between meetings.
Outside the building the lush landscape, network of pathways and gathering spaces create the backdrop for many spontaneous outdoor activities whereas the sports center provides facilities for structured activities and team sports.
Even when you are at work, you are never away from life. With the objective of bringing TCS associates and their families closer and making them feel part of the TCS extended family, TCS Maitre (pronounced my-tree) was created. Maitre strengths the bond between employees and their families while also providing a platform to encourage hidden aspirations and talents. Maitre conducts workshops on yoga, theatre, origami, and chocolate making – just to name a few to bring employees together to learn about things they always wanted to know and to enjoy the company of their fellow workers in a different environment. Maitre also strives to enable the development of society at large and through the participation of TCS Employees has undertaken many social initiatives such as aiding underprivileged children in their education and an advanced computer training center for the visually impaired.
Innovative Technology and Methods
Breaking the mold of typical office space in the IT industry, at Sahyadri Park Tata Consultancy Services is experimenting with a non-traditional arrangement. This creative office space relies on wireless technology that allows TCS associates to move around and work in a variety of configurations. The creative workspace module has large desks for groups of 12 or 8, comfortable chairs for groups of four armed with their own laptops. The space is close in concept to a business class lounge; so far the associates who have worked in the creative workspace are relishing the experience.
Several construction methodologies and materials uncommon in India have been implemented and used at the Sahyadri Park campus. These include terrazzo which has made a huge comeback internationally but was little used in India. The durability and design flexibility of terrazzo is unmatched by other factory produced flooring materials. Fly ash which is a by-product of coal burning power plants was used extensively in concrete to reduce the requirement for cement resulting in a reduction of 15,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the course of the project. This project has led to a re-awakening of the terrazzo industry in India. Another local trade that was employed at the site was that of stone masons – the 2 Km long 3M high boundary wall is dressed on both sides by local hand-cut basalt. In the interiors, the design team cooperated with local ikat weavers to create a customized fabric that incorporated the colour schemes of the floors and the overall theme of the Sahyadri mountain range.
Several strategies were employed to reduce the overall power consumption of the project. These include a study of annual solar radiation indices for the site to determine the optimal orientation of the buildings; the use of a perforated metal screen on the south face of the building to prevent direct sunlight from hitting the glass; large covered outdoor dining areas to reduce the requirement for conditioned space; non-conditioned circulation areas; ice storage for chilled water system – ice is made at night when power consumption is less and electricity rates are low, the ice is then used during work hours to chill the water circulating to HVAC equipment in the buildings. In addition to these and other strategies mentioned elsewhere, the entire campus is served by a single scalable utility plant, resulting in significant savings in both the daily and overall life-cycle costs of the campus.