Dorf Ketal is an industry leader in the Middle East, North Africa, South America and Asia-Pacific territories. Its headquarters are located in the Port of Mundra, India's largest private industrial park, in the Kutch district of the state of Gujarat, where cutting-edge technology and equipment are part of the building's immediate context. Dorf Ketal commisioned us to design an administration building in their industrial headquarters. The brief called for an architectural icon as well as a point of reference for future company branches, both in India and abroad. The initial design concept was developed from a formal, functional and environmental analysis. The resulting form resembles a knot, an object whose scale and proportions immediately turn it into an icon within its context. It acknowledges a pattern of internal use of the
six-storey admistration building, taking into account the particularities of its extreme location. Climate analysis determined the building's orientation. The choice of materials and finishes contributes to reducing the effects of the extreme weather conditions given its proximity to the sea and consequent salt exposure. The knot concept refers to the intellectual work involved in making decisions, establishing starting points and pooling ideas, as well as to the chemical structure of elements, to the conception of the ocean as a series of knots and to the representation of the union and strength of the whole. Interior space design follows a strict architectural programme for the internal operation of the company, which reflects its local character. On the first floor is the main entrance with a grand foyer, an art gallery and
meeting rooms, staff and service areas and secondary access, all set into a green slope from which the volume emerges. The second level is an internal dining room, extending onto open terraces, plus kitchen and service areas. The third level features a library, two short-stay dwellings for the use of researchers, plus a small gym and services. The fourth level is reserved for administrative operations of the company. The fifth has conference and training rooms and an auditorium. The sixth is the 'Olympus' or head offices. On the roof level, at the point where the volumetric intersection (the knot) occurs, is the plant room. Internal vertical circulation is achieved by means of spiral stairs and lifts with panoramic views; on the exterior are exit stairs of industrial character. The main volume emerges from a green slope rich in local vegetation, which highlights the figure of the knot; there is an interplay of open and intimate spaces and their resulting shadows. A large shell covers the habitable areas, where opaque and translucent elements confer variety to the facades and generate unique details of volumentric intersections. Decks on different levels serve as viewing platforms from which to appreciate the large scale of the Dorf Ketal Industrial Park. The building is a concrete structure. On the outside, a system of Kalzip panels – a recycled, low-maintenance aluminium composite – gives continuity to the object and acts as a second skin on the facades, while contributing to reducing interior temperatures. Internally, the walls are finished in timber, a material that offers a muted contrast between outer and inner spaces. With a view to reducing various financial, environmental and strategic impacts of the project, a temporary manufacturing plant for the Kalzip panels will be installed on-site, thus allowing for oversight of fabrication and management of this high- quality project. Given that the construction process of the administrative building will occur parallel to the building of the Dorf Ketal industrial plant, we propose logistics and strategies that can capitalise on this synchronicity and help to reduce the cost of materials, equipment and transportation to this isolated site, as well as share human resources, giving the process an environmentally aware character. Cutting-edge technology and equipment are a feature of all components, achieving high energy-efficiency standards in this building. The building has a total built area of 3,250 sqm.