the office grove
terrace courtyard for a corporate office
Arjun Sharma, Gaurav Shetty, Nupoor Sejpal
Patch Design Studio
This project formed two of the three courtyards of a jewellery design office. The design is part of a larger architectural scheme that revitalizes an old smaller office into a larger, more modern one.
The courtyards in question act as a connector between the reception and the studio floor and as a break-out space for the people in the office. In projects like these, It is easy to fall into the trap of oversimplification or over-complexity when it comes to spatial design. For our part, we love to err on the side of over-indulgence. At the outset, it felt necessary for these two connected courtyards to not be easily read as one space. We were engaged with the idea of having the large space fold into itself and create separate pockets that had some semblance of their own identity. In this way, we tried to have the ground datum hide travel and turn out of view even though the volume of the two spaces could be read as one.
As such, the courtyards are populated with planter boxes of various shapes and sizes that carve out spaces for respite and succour. The courtyards are designed as outdoor rooms where some of the activities of the offices can flow easily into the outdoors. It would be common to see someone as they stand, but not so easily as they sit down. The spaces are generally of a more intimate nature, just enough to sit, chat and maybe plug in a laptop. Except for the larger space at the furthest end where a group can gather in front of a framed stepped seating. The level difference on the further side adds a layer of depth to an otherwise flat space.
The material palette is kept neutral with greys and blacks except for a portion of the central area where the floor is expressed as a brick tile to echo the facade. One of the important points it achieves is that it offers layered vignettes from within the office (towards the outside) providing a view filtered by the layers of spaces and planting.
The planting design is basically a “colour-by-numbers-plant-by-boxes” kind of design approach. Here we have played with the hue and texture of the planting, having deeper greens near the inside and slightly taller plants that sway in the wind along the periphery. Trees added on the planter boxes give shade, add planting layers and soften the hardness of the immaculate, brutalist facade finish. It is also interesting to see the landscape reflected in the glass facades, almost doubling the sense of space.
The softscape presents itself in a layered mass planting. In that sense, this is a much more controlled, “architectonic version” of a garden, where the spaces are defined as much by the planting colours and textures, as the hard surfaces and textures in equal measure.