By : Manjiri Mahajan | 11 Sep 2017 | Recent projects
The podium slab was a PT slab with a 11 m x 11m column grid. The area under landscape on the podium was 65,000 sq.ft. We introduced drain cells and geomat on the podium for effective drainage.To bring down the soil load, a different soil mix was tried out. Poyta Soil with Cocopeat, peanut shells, organic compost was tried out. This helped in retaining the moisture and for effective drainage.
The mandatory 9 meter wide fire tender road was made green by using heavy grade grass pavers thus making a large area green and permeable. The approach road was kept minimum and was paved in granite slabs of shades in grey and black.
It was obvious from the heavy contours that many areas would have to be levelled and in this process the natural character would be disturbed during the course of making roads and structures. The clients were sensitised towards maintaining the natural contours in the areas other than the buildings and we came up with a plan to make smaller terraces in the open space depending on the strata. The 13 meter level difference was divided into 3 main terraces. Making use of the terrain the large amphi theatre was placed such that minimal cutting had to be done. The topmost terrace was flatter and elongated and hence a basket ball court and a tennis court were placed here. Two net games courts were located on a mid terrace as was a cricket area with a practice net. The main retaining walls were made in Rcc and were parallel to the contours thus attaining the basic terraces. Smaller level differences were made in basalt stone pitching. Simple rough Shahabad stone and rough kadappa stone were used for paving. Gravel was used in certain areas to allow more water percolation in the ground. The eco ponds were lined using a HDP lining and extra burnt bricks. Ground covers were encouraged to grow along the edge for a natural effect.
GREEN AREAS :
Slopes were first stabilised with a geonet and were planted over with ground covers and trees. Slopes towards the hills had sparse trees with stunted growth – typical of the rocky strata below. The periphery of the site with the slopes was planted with native trees and shrubs and was designed as a nature walk with simple paths.
All possible incidental areas were brought under tree planting with fast growing ground covers as the understorey. This helped in quickly establishing green and stabilising the denuded soil and slopes.
COLLABORATION WITH THE CLIENT
The team from the client side was sensitised towards the impact that the building and infra structure development was causing. We convinced them to have a mix of designed landscape near the buildings which went to become natural and wild as we neared the hills. They agreed and allowed us to plant large areas with native trees. We also used lawn sparingly and only where absolutely necessary. This helped in increasing the biodiversity and helped in creating a micro climate that was totally different from the typical indoor IT office environment. Introduction of eco ponds, butterfly and bird attracting plants helped in achieving a balanced outdoor. They were happy to see a variety of birds nesting and breeding near the water.
When the work began, everyone was sceptical regarding the creation of a natural environment that we had talked about. With a lot of patience and effort the entire denuded area was executed and planted over. After an year we could see few birds like the water hen, cuckoo and barbet near the water. After 2 years weaver birds, scale breasted Munias, Lapwings, Common Iora, Purple-rumped sunbirds and Shrikes were seen to nest and feed near the eco ponds. The green cover has now established well and a lot of season variations are seen in the planting.
The landscape can be summarized by four words – Aesthetic, Eye-soothing, Minimal and Naturalistic. It creates a peaceful and serene character, and by few minimalistic elements, transforms a difficult patch of land into a user-friendly environmental delight. The biggest strength of the design and execution is the use of materials and planting that blend in easily with the surroundings to create a desirable environment for humans and many other beings within an ecological framework.
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