Keeping sustainability as the focal point of its design process, Blocher Partners India is trying to bring simple, timeless architecture to its customers by incorporating ideas of sustainability. The architecture firm seeks to provide comfortable space for users while using minimum energy. Principal Architect and Managing Director, Hartmut Wurster discussed vital elements in the design process in an interaction with Shashi Kumar Sharma of ACE Update.
Please talk about your achievements.
We are an international company and came to India 10 years ago. We adapted quite well to local conditions by combining the best of both cultures. Our main focus when thinking about architecture is the human and the environment we inhabit.
We try to deliver simple, timeless architecture by incorporating ideas of sustainability and catering to the context and requirements of a space and user.
What keeps you driving towards architectural excellence?
Curiosity is the driving force in our design practice. We live in a world of fast changes, and learning and adapting is what keeps us up and alive. We are continually striving to improve our performance which reflects in the final output.
How do you plan to contribute to mitigating climate change impact on structures?
Sustainability has always been a point of focus in our design process. At the same time, we accept the fact that climate change is for real and is governed by external factors which are not in our control. Keeping this in mind, we do consider how this change would affect the building in the coming years. For instance, we are already incorporating elements that would be necessary to achieve thermal comfort in future climatic conditions. Material selection, wall thickness and mechanical air conditioning, heating requirements are vital elements in our design process.
What are the considerations for bio-climatic design in a building?
One of the very important considerations right at the start of our design process is the climate where the building will sit. We aim to provide comfortable space for users while using minimum energy. Buildings consume energy quite intensively, and that is why we try to develop options to reduce this. We are always in dialogue with the client where we keep suggesting sustainable solutions within their budget. For example, passive techniques like selecting the right building envelope, controlling wall-window ratio and optimising shaded areas within. It also includes maximising the use of natural light, or using wind for natural cooling if the location allows it, and other such aspects.
In India, we have to consider the heat aspect, which is different from Germany as there, we have to consider ways to protect against cold. For heat protection in India, we have to think about insulation, shading elements and the like. If possible in private villas, we try to integrate water features to create natural cooling. With an aim to reduce energy consumption to the minimum, we try to find the right technical solution and bring in experts wherever required.
Please tell us about your upcoming projects.
We have exciting new projects with diverse scale. At the moment, we are designing huge commercial buildings where we are integrating ideas of sustainability and overall well-being. We are also developing private residences and high-rise residential towers. Added to this are institutional projects PAN India. Each and every project is very important for us irrespective of its scale, and we aim to find the right solution for each client. India is full of possibilities and so are the projects in our office. We look towards our future in this immensely diverse and ever changing country.
We are already incorporating elements that would be necessary to achieve thermal comfort in future climatic conditions.
Hartmut Wurster, Principal Architect and Managing Director for Blocher Partners India