NRK HOUSE - Mumbai
Lower Parel in Mumbai became a desolate run-down mill area as strikes and new technology resulted in the closure of several textile mills. However, many of these old buildings are structurally sound and have brute architectural strengths and sensibilities. Our task entailed the conversion of certain ancillary buildings in the Kamala Mills compound into a contemporary office complex. We had to convert the dilapidated existing buildings that served as a manager's house, crèche, grain store, kitchen, and toilets, into a modern computerised office without altering the original footprint. The new requirements included a show room for buyers as well as ancillary spaces to support the design and manufacture of garments, including tailoring and sampling. In addition, the owner's personal office along with his secretaries and the general administration area had to be accommodated. There had to be a metamorphosis of the old buildings into four contemporary pavilions. We tried to create a simple yet elegant unfolding of spaces. The landscaping interconnects the built-up spaces to give a feeling of depth to the complex. As we were also the interior designers for the project, we were able to ensure a continuity of design within the building. Three important aspects of this conversion included: The visual importance of the complex in the urban context that led to the preservation of the street line. The social impact of the building with its changed use. After the conversion, the NRK House certainly worked as a catalyst for upgradation of other buildings on the street. Lower Parel slowly became an acceptable corporate address. The design quality of the conversion - NRK House won the Urban Heritage Award, 1990 for progressive conservation. NRK House won the URBAN HERITAGE AWARD awarded by the Indian Heritage Society for Progressive Conservation in 1990.