Hyderabad, India

KMC Corporate Office

Located in CyberCity,Hyderabad, this corporate building employs the idea of a double skin as a visually dynamic façade, as well as a screen that humidifies the air entering the building – to create evaporative cooling for the interiors. The inner skin of the building is a reinforced concrete frame with standard aluminum windows. The outer façade comprises of a custom cast aluminum trellis with hydroponic trays and drip irrigation, integrated for growing a variety of plant species. The trellis also has an integrated misting system in order to control and regulate the amount of water released to the plants and used when required – to cool the building or cleanse the façade of dust in the hot and windy summer months in Hyderabad. The principal of the facade is inspired by the idea of a double skin that allows a modulation of light and air through the building. This is in contrast to the business-as-usual idea of the ‘green-wall’, which is a simple application on a surface purely serving an aesthetic, not a performative function.

In this project, the screen also takes on the aesthetic function of a dynamic façade where assorted species of climbing plants are organized in a way to create patterns, as well as bloom at various times of the year, bringing attention to different parts of the building façade through the changing seasons. The company employs 20 gardeners who tend to the façade and can access it though a system of catwalks on all five levels. The penetration of the building visually by two very disparate groups – both socially and economically, also softens the social threshold created by class differences, which are inevitable in corporate organizations in India. But most importantly, the building demonstrates the relevance of traditional cooling systems of humidified surfaces used through time in the hot and dry climates of South Asia.