Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kanchenjunga Apartment: Mumbai, India

By Bhakti Shah

During my precedent study for the thesis, I came to know about a high rise residential tower - 'Kanchenjunga Apartment' in Mumbai, India. It was designed by the renowned architect Charles Correa.

"As the location's most endemic factor, climate provides the designer with a legitimate starting point for architectural expression in the endeavor to design in relation to place, because climate is one of the dominant determinants of the local inhabitants, lifestyle and the landscape's ecology."
--Dr. Ken Yeang, 1996--

Mumbai has a tropical climate and it asks for East west orientation for the buildings to catch the prevailing wind from the Arabian Sea and city's best view. It has sea view as well as harbor view. But these sides are directions of hot sun and heavy monsoon rays.

Old bungalows, in this type of climate, have often solved climate problems effectively with its traditional planning. These bungalows were wrapped by verandas, which act as a protective layer for main active areas against natural elements.

In the design of Kanchenjunga apartment, Architect Correa had effectively used traditional strategies of bungalow planning in high rise residential tower. It has 32 luxury units of 3 to 6 bedroom flats. All the units were are arranged as an interlocking composition with the play of intermediate split levels. 3- 4 bedroom units are one and half story and 5-6 bedroom units are 2 and half storied. These displacements of levels were critical in planning. These floors were differentiated with the terraces on outer ring with elevated internal volumes. This layout successfully responds to the climate of Mumbai. These deep garden veranda's provide occupant a defensive line from the harsh weather. The tower has a proportion of 1:4 - 21 meter square and 84 m in height. Facade has a dramatic effect due to outer double height terraces and themes of color palette add the drama in the aesthetics. Interlocking form and colors reveals the complex spatial organization of the livable spaces of the tower.

This tower is a successful attempt to implement traditional bungalow planning strategies into a multistory residential apartment.



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