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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

SymHomes Mk1, Kolkata, India

Piercy Conner’s innovation for Indian apartments makes the unthinkable solar solution sustainable
In a region where in the height of summer temperatures can rise to 111°F, constructing a steel apartment block seems like insanity. But just such a design is to be created in the West Bangor city of Kolkata in India. Building sanction (which incorporates planning permission and building control) for SymHomes Mk1, a design by Piercy Conner Architects, has been applied for and the design has already received several awards for its innovative sustainable properties.

Piercy Conner’s design was the winning entrant of The Living Steel International Architecture competition in 2005 and went on to win the MIPIM AR Future Project Sustainability Award in 2007. Disregarding convention, the design uses steel for cladding and shuttering as well as the internal structure. Perforated steel shades over the deep-set terraces provide a sustainable solution to air conditioning by allowing air to pass into the room and providing shade from the glaring sun thus cooling the building naturally. When needed, an inner skin can be sealed to allow air-conditioning units to be used in extremes of temperature.

Cultural acknowledgement was important throughout the design process: “India is on the verge of a building explosion but we wanted to avoid the anonymity of Dubai-style development,” says Stuart Piercy, Director of the project. “Instead we wanted to offer a culturally sympathetic yet environmentally intelligent building which retained an Indian identity and created a role-model for sustainable living.”

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