‘We Hope to Establish the Impact of Sustainability and Smart Design on User Productivity’


Fostering innovation in its workplace, Godrej BKC aims to increase employee satisfaction and well-being. Anubhav Gupta, Chief Design Officer, Business Head – Vikhroli, Head of CSR & Sustainability, Godrej Properties Limited Design, in conversation with Ambarin Chougle explains the idea, design and process of building the LEED platinum-rated commercial landmark at a prime location of Mumbai.

Anubhav Gupta, Chief Design Officer, Business Head – Vikhroli, Head of CSR & Sustainability, HO Design Gupta is currently the Chief Design Officer and Business Head for Vikhroli and Head of Sustainability and CSR for Godrej Properties Limited (GPL) overseeing upcoming development of over 75 million square feet across India. Additionally, he heads the development at Vikhroli and is in charge of the company’s sustainability initiatives and green solutions across the country.

Throw some light on the Godrej BKC project.
Godrej BKC is one of the company’s marque commercial projects. It houses 1.28 Mn SFT of ‘Grade A’ office space, a restaurant arcade anchored by public art and is envisioned as a commercial landmark on a corner plot in the heart of BKC. The project is unique in not only delivering to an international quality mandate but also to create spaces for a wide range of users and in doing so making a distinct sense of place in a Mumbai’s commercial precinct. Our focus has been to create a sustainable icon, which offers world-class spaces, amenities, infrastructure, connectivity and flexibility. Our goal has been to increase user satisfaction and work productivity and to foster innovation in the workplace. Godrej BKC delivers on the ‘Success by design’ proposition through thoughtful use of space – large flexible floor plates, lease depths planned to maximise natural light, a curated public art program and an integrated landscape strategy. The project is a great example of the power of space as an effective business tool where a large contribution to the success of the project was the invaluable, tangible and intangible benefits in the building design, which customers recognised and appreciated.

Who were in the design team? What was their approach to your idea?
Godrej BKC is a result of a collaborative design process between New York-based offices of Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM) and Godrej’s own in-house GPL Design Studio. SOM is well known for its architectural accomplishments and creating landmark buildings with a special focus on commercial office spaces. Among other areas of focus, the SOM team brought its global experience and keen expertise in building design, detailing, construction technology, material understanding, and, fenestration engineering and design to co-create the Platinum-rated building. The GPL Design Studio was able to leverage its expertise in envisioning and establishing a robust programming brief; setting up consultant partnership teams; translating market and customer insight into actionable design strategy, and guiding the design development process through to handover from both a qualitative and quantitative returns perspective. Unlike the traditional developer approach with a client consultant dynamic, the Studio’s unique co-creation co-ideation process has resulted in design delivered as a landmark project with a high-quality product, a distinct sense of place offering unique customer experiences/lifestyles, and, creating a win-win proposition for all stakeholders in terms of returns.

What are the high-end features of this building? Please share the details of the modernistic design of Godrej BKC.
At Godrej BKC, the extent of the building footprint and subsequently the floor plates are based on the urban design guidelines published for the precinct. Key design features include a chamfered building corner rather than a curved sweep, to avoid any negative spaces. An optimised building core with centralised services allowed for flexible tenant space. Light shelves integrated within the façade allow for daylighting at all lease depths while maintaining panoramic views. Designed and engineered to achieve high sustainability standards, the external envelope performs well on numerous parameters – daylighting, solar shading, minimising heat gain and creating a district aesthetic. The façade expression in extruded aluminium with tapered ‘beaks’ and integrated light shelves create a distinct rhythm on all faces of the building envelope. The ground plane mediates between the public and private with a generous plaza off a retail arcade. The art plaza with steps and levels integrated with planting allows for both pedestrian access as well as creating a unique sense of place. Pockets of green with Champa trees and benches allow for places of respite for both resident employees as well as visitors to the building. The landscape is designed to integrate essential services such as basement ventilation shafts with planting at key experiential thresholds. The art plaza is anchored by Subodh Gupta’s ‘Aakash, Pataal, Dharti’ which provides an interface between the building and the rest of the commercial precinct. Inside the lobby, an untitled artwork of indigo blue rings in jute by Manish Nai enlivens the serene reception clad in Grecian marble.

fact file:
Project Details Godrej BKC
Location Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai
Project Entity Godrej Buildcon Pvt. Ltd.
Design Architect & Structural Design Engineer SOM, New York
Design Team Roger Duffy, Laura Ettelman,
Kristopher Takacs, Peter Lefkovits,
Herbert Lynn, Preetam Biswas
In-House Architects GPL Design Studio (Godrej Properties Limited)
Design Team Anubhav Gupta, Namrata Mehra
Architect on Record PGP Architects, Mumbai
Structural & MEP Consultant Buro Happold
Façade Consultant AXIS Facades
PMC Fairwood Group
Lighting Designer AWA Lighting Designers, New York
Principal Civil Contractor L&T Construction
Principal MEP Vendor Godrej & Boyce, ETA
Façade Vendor Alufit
Elevator Vendor Toshiba
Interiors Fit-out Vendor Interscape
Security/ BMS System provider Johnsons and Johnsons
Parking System provider KLAUS

Millennial employees are looking for more casual workspaces for better productivity and well-being. Your views?
How we work has evolved over the years with recent trends including the rise of co-working spaces with shared resources. The millennial workforce is looking for opportunities to choose how they work through the day as well as places to socialise and build relationships that, in turn, will impact their work. This has resulted in a growing appreciation of mixed-use buildings with retail. Robust planning principles are necessary to create spaces for both focus and collaboration addressing often competing requirements of noise, access and flexibility. Integrating technology and insight-driven design can help create break out/ focused workspaces in gardens, landscaped courts and interstitial spaces. Allowing for millennial to choose how they work flexibly and collaboratively, will significantly impact productivity and in turn a company’s profitability. At Godrej BKC, a series of exterior gardens and terraces allow building users to work outdoors through the day. Shaded, lush and tranquil the gardens help promote a healthy workplace environment. The retail arcade houses restaurants and cafés with the plaza coming to life on evenings and weekends.

What is your vision for the next five years about this project?
Over the next five years, we hope to establish the impact of sustainability and smart design on user productivity through post-occupancy surveys. Our intent is to ensure that the plaza is enlivened through a robust retail and art program to create a sense of place for BKC and the commercial district.


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