This New Delhi building is Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) certified
India has its first net-positive energy building, with Edifice Consultants designing the Atal Akshaya Urja Bhawan government building in the heart of New Delhi. Commissioned by the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Atal Akshaya Urja Bhawan fully reflects the values of the institution whose headquarters it hosts. The project, certified by the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), is both a new landmark in the Indian capital and a model government office building.
Designed around the shape of its lot, Atal Akshaya Urja Bhawan comprises two rectangular wings with a predominantly north-south orientation. The two are at a slight angle to each other and connected by a central section. This nucleus forms the fulcrum of the project from the distributive and functional perspectives, with the elevators, stairs, and main entrance all located here.
The exterior of the building is clad with beige Dholpur, a local sandstone. The eastern façade is glazed, allowing natural light to reach inside. The west-facing façade has two decorative jaalis, typical of Indian architecture. In this case, however, they are made using GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete), which also contribute to ventilation.
The newly built complex comprises nine aboveground floors and three underground levels for parking. The ground and first floors have various common spaces, such as a triple-height entrance lobby, a wood-paneled auditorium, a library, and an exhibition area. Amenities for staff who work in the building include a canteen, a gym, and a yoga room. The upper floors host the workspaces, designed with different configurations and sizes, as well as meeting rooms and breakout areas. Reserved for the offices of the most important officials, the uppermost floor has views over the city.
The choice of beige Dholpur sandstone for the main façade of Atal Akshaya Urja Bhawan and the use of decorative jaalis are a tribute to the history of the public buildings in this country, whose roots lie in the early 20th century architecture of Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens. But the project also breaks with this tradition, inviting visitors to be more involved in the structure. The Urja Pavilion, for example, is an outdoor square that guides people towards the complex entrance via a green path shaded by trees.
The project includes numerous strategies for environmental sustainability and energy efficiency aimed at achieving LEED Gold certification, including the design of the external envelope with appropriate sunscreens, the design of the windows, the orientation of the building itself, and the choice of native plantings. On top of this, the building incorporates some important technology, with solar panels installed over a roof-top area of 5570 m2 and photovoltaic panels on the roof and southern wall generating 1100 kWh of electricity, radiant cooling ceiling panels, rainwater recovery, and a wastewater purification and reuse system.
Location: New Delhi, India
Built-Up Area: 38.150 m2
Site Area: 11.200 m2
Client: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India [MNRE]
Architect and Interior Designer: Edifice Consultants
Contractor: Engineering-Sam India Builtwell
Structures: Vintech Consultants
Plumbing: Sunil Nayyar Consultants
Landscape: Sam India Builtwell
HVAC: Sam India Builtwell
Photography by Purnesh Dev Nikhanj and Prashant Bhat, courtesy of Edifice Consultants