Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Master Planning and Design for Dream City Ventures Pvt. Ltd.

Dream city ventures is an ambitious exhibition space proposal which is planned to be stationed within the heart of the city for a span of 1 to 2 months. This if first of its kind to be explored at Bandra Kurla Complex Grounds on an approx. 10 Acre piece of land. Our client was very interested on a business model which is intrinsically weaved with Indian culture, food and people. Our city is a mix of people from different parts of our country and everyone has their own distinct traditions and culture which in a cosmopolitan city of Mumbai gets merged well. The innate intent of this exhibition space was to celebrate different cultures from different states of India.

Henceforth the design proposal was developed with a thought to include two major sections, one for commercial purposes and the other as engagement spaces. They were divided proportionately so that there are enough interactive spaces within. The commercial space was divided into 5 different pavilions with each of them representing a different state from India with food joints, handicrafts shops, curios, museums and exhibition/theatre spaces. The engagement spaces included the central congregation spaces, Music performance spaces, walkways, open spaces / gardens, etc.

The master planning of this exhibition space was developed in such a way that the visitor should experience the same cultural space within the centre and at the entry point while purchasing the entry tickets to get a glimpse of the feel that they are about to venture. Once the visitor is inside the park the layout is such that it should be able to give them an overall view of the campus with all its different pavilions, so while they walk through each one of them they are intrigued to venture more into the other pavilions which can be achieved only by creating two to three different visually connecting focal points from different locations. This will also help is holding the interests of the visitors and will cater to different kinds of people for their personal choices of engagement. The central spaces are kept open for large open air musical performances which will work as a catalyst for generating more visitors. The overall circulation or movement path is very simple so that it is easily registered by visitors and provides them with enough opportunity to explore most of the exhibition spaces rather than just a few visits before they exit the premises. Each of the pavilion has a meandering pathway starting through a Museum / cultural exhibit space representing each state followed by retail spaces and food joints which can be well enjoyed with friends and family. The pathways within the pavilion are kept wide enough to avoid overcrowding and leads one upon some open spaces now and then to avoid blockage of pedestrian movement. These open spaces can be well used for relaxing and experiencing all the different activities which each pavilion is offering and surely cannot be missed by the visitor.

On the other hand, the master plan layout also focused on creating the core zone with a central open space with a performance stage which is just right for literary / musical events which could easily cater to a crowd of around 4000 to 5000 visitors. This will be an added interest for this exhibition space by catering to different interests of people as there are enough entertainment and media channel distractions which makes it difficult to hold people’s attention for long. The integrity of the space is well achieved by the simple layout through meandering paths and visually connecting pavilion and entertainment zones.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Exhibition Space Design for Clarity Corporation at 3D Printing Expo held at Nehru Centre, Worli, Mumbai

The exhibition was about 3D Printing Technology from all over the world and also about 3D Printing services that are available in our country. Together the event was meant to broadcast the cutting edge 3D Printing technology that is available to professional designers to doctors to engineers to basic design enthusiasts. So the exhibition space design needed to be developed well in consultation with the team at clarity3dprintng so they commissioned us to design a simple & elegant installation art kind of space which directly explains the essence of this technology. The event really captured the enthusiasm of SDM Architects as we are one of the few Architectural design firms based in Mumbai who started using a 3D Printer for making 3D Printed models of our projects.  The interior design of the exhibition space makes use of humble folded paper and 3D Printed Text which explores the nature of 3D Printing objects, either virtual, real or imaginary. As the technology has been evolving for past 30 years, it was essential to showcase this evolving technology for mass market use rather than just industrial / commercial use. The branding & design of the exhibition space presented a fresh look at how design consultancies are moving towards usage of technology for faster realisation of their ideas in the form of a 3D Printed object.

Overall the exhibition celebrates this innovative technology which is about to make extraordinary changes in the field of design and manufacturing. The exhibition is part of one of many global 3D Printing events which are held from time to time.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Resort Project at Istnabul, Turkey

​The project is located close to the city of Istanbul which attracts approximately 31.45 Million tourists each year for its culture, food, spa & health along with eco-tourism. Our client was interested in developing this 4.9 Acres (20,000 Sq.M.) of land into an eco-resort as the plot is well placed with a good cluster of trees including pine, oak, maritime, etc. This deciduous plantation allowed for developing a resort with 30 pre-fab individual residences which are triangular in shape and design.

The site was divided into three main sections, which are:
1. The Main Entertainment Building with Lobby, Game zone, Kitchen and Dining
2. The other being the residence area (includes 30 units for stay) which are very well accommodated within the huge cluster of trees, and
3. The last zone includes the large swimming pool along with few stay units next to the large garden for walks, play and relaxation.
These units are arranged in clusters to provide a sense of community, but still manages to maintain a sense of privacy for each private bungalow unit. The keen spirit of the place was to maintain the natural flora and fauna and to strategically develop the overall master plan with pre-fab stay units which doesn't hamper the natural ecosystem. Most of the paths and connectivity are winding so as to create a sense of surprise and also enhance the spirit of enjoying a life in nature.
The project also targeted to have a sustainable development which can be maintained well over the years. So the pre-fab units were installed with solar roofing cells. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


A brief description of the stages in a construction project, written for those embarking on a project.

1. Create a Design Brief
While you may have a vision for your project in your head, in practice, you need to convert this into a design brief. A design brief is a short document that describes the project. It is essentially a list of spaces that you need in your project. For example, if you wish to build a college of music, the brief will include the major spaces that you envisage, such as 10 piano practice rooms, 15 guitar practice rooms, one 200-person auditorium, 20 lecture rooms, and so on. To achieve an accurate and complete design brief, hire an architect, as there are many requirements you may not know about, such as fire pump rooms, corridors, and utility areas.

2. Hire a Design Team
Hire your design team. See our page on how to hire an architect. The team will consist of an architect, a structural engineer, and building services engineers at the very least. Larger projects require additional designers, such as landscape architects, acoustic engineers, and facade consultants.

3. Concept Design
The architect will do a Concept Design for the project. You will need to give a clear response to this, and highlight what you like and what you want changed. You should also ask the architect to give you a preliminary cost estimate at this stage, so that you get a feel for the costs. You can then adjust the design accordingly with the architect. It is important that you, the client, think about and approve the architect's design fully at this stage, as changes after this stage are difficult. It is also important that the architect should not proceed with further design before obtaining your approval at this stage.

4. Design Development
In this phase, the architect will share the design with the structural engineer and services engineers to get their feedback and comments. They may ask for changes for engineering reasons, which the architect will discuss and incorporate. Sometimes architects forget that their creations are subject to the laws of physics! They will also ask for shafts and spaces for pipes, cables, and ducts to be added to the design.

5. Construction Documentation
Construction Documents are a set of construction drawings, specification, and legal agreements between a client and a contractor. Usually, these documents are prepared by an architect or project management consultant. They represent the final design put together by the designers. Since the design is 'final' - architects use that word with caution - it can be passed on to several contractors for competitive bidding, a process called tendering.

6. Get Permissions
This process usually starts after stage 3, and proceeds in parallel with the other work. Concept level drawings are usually good enough to begin the process of obtaining permissions from local authorities. Usually, a number of meetings and submissions is required for this to occur. Local authorities may also ask neighbours for objections. This process can easily take months and can sometimes take years.

7. Hire a contractor

8. Start Work and Manage the Construction

9. Finishing Construction

10. Occupying the Project

Stay tuned.  Will be updated with detailed descriptions soon.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How to Hire a Architect - Mumbai, India

Here is our guide to hiring an architect.  Read on...

1. Understand the technical competence of the architect
No matter how creative the architect's sketches are, ultimately, you want a building that will not leak, rot, fall apart, or need maintenance. Every architect is not as technically competent as the other. A good architect will have a basic understanding of structural engineering,building constructionbuilding services (such as electrical, plumbing, air-conditioning, and information systems), quality management, local building regulations, and project management. Not every architect has these skills. Look at the architect's previous work, and ask to see buildings that she has completed. If possible, speak to the owners of these buildings. Ensuring that the architect is licensed to practice in your area is a key step in hiring an architect.

2. Get a feel of the style of work of the architect
Conflicts crop up during the design process when the architect and the clients have different views. Try and get an idea if the architect can see the problem from your point of view, or is flexible. The worst thing you can do to an architect is show him magazines - 'I want this'. Sometimes a client will show an architect two different magazine shots - for the same room! That makes no sense. Instead, look at the previous work of the architect, and, if you like what you see, trust the architect. He should come up with a solution tailored to your needs. Be aware that some architects have their own signature styles, and you will get that style - and nothing else - when you hire them.

3. Be clear about what you want
You must put a lot of thought into what you want. "I want a hospital". What kind? How many patients will arrive in the busiest hour? Will your cafeteria use food cooked from outside or will it have a kitchen? What is your nurse:patient ratio? Put a lot of thought into this, and write out a clear design brief for the architect. This will help you to clarify your thoughts, and is an essential step in communicating what you need to the architect. A design brief contains a list of spaces you need, and a brief note on the functioning and organisation of your project - even if it is a small house.

4. The other consultants you need
An architect cannot design a building by herself. You will also need a licensed structural engineer, and a building services engineer. Click on this link to learn about building services design. The structural engineer will design the structural system of the building, and ensure that it meets local design codes and standards. The same architectural design for a building in different locations can have a different structural design, as this is tailored to local conditions, especially with regard to wind and earthquake forces. The architect may herself hire these additional consultants, and provide you with a single-window service.

Read our page on Stages of a Building Project

More on the way...

CAB guide to hiring an architect
AIA-MN guide to hiring an architect

Learn all about Building Construction

Monday, May 20, 2013


Architect Samir D'Monte was the principal architect for the Jet Airways MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Hangar) at Mumbai airport.

The 70m span hangar contains spaces for:

  • Parking of 2 x Boeing 737 series aircraft OR 3 x ATR aircraft
  • a Composite Repair Shop
  • A Paint Shop
  • A Cleaning Shop
  • An Engine Shop
  • An Avionics Shop
  • A Wheel & Brake Shop
  • A Seat Repair Shop
  • Tools Room
  • Aircraft Stores
  • A training facility
  • Offices for the Aircraft Maintenance and Ground Support Teams
  • A Dining Hall
  • AMOS Server Spaces
  • A complete Aircraft Docking System, which Samir also worked on in detail

In 2013, Jet Airways asked SDM Architects to upgrade and overhaul parts of this facility.

Samir was also the principal architect for the Essar Hangar at Mumbai airport, a smaller hangar that houses a Gulfstream G5, and has light maintenance facilities, and a small departure / waiting lounge.  Both these hangars were designed with Shirish Patel & Associates, reputed firm of engineers in Mumbai.

SDMA is well versed with the art and science of Aircraft Hangar Design.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Building Regulations in Mumbai - Building Bye-Laws in Mumbai

Our simple outline of important building regulations in Mumbai...

1. FSI: for residential buildings is 1.33 from South Mumbai till Mahim in the West and Sion in the centre.  North of that it is 1.0.  For educational, healthcare and hospitality projects, it is 1.33 plus 300% extra, which is 1.33 x 4 = 5.32.

The following are not counted in FSI calculations:
• Basements
• Stilt Parking
• Staircases
• Lifts and lift lobby (lobby area to an extent equal to lift area, additional lobby areas are counted)
• Pump rooms, utility areas, security cabins
• Shafts
• Society Office upto 12 m2 if there are less than 20 apartments, and 20 m2 if more
• Gymnasium upto 2% of FSI area
• One Servants’ toilet per floor upto 2.2 m2 with access from lift lobby
• Refuge Areas and terraces
Normally, 15% of the plot must be reserved as a recreation area.  If the plot area is greater than 2,500m2, then this 15% is also subtracted from the total FSI of the plot. Note that this explanation pre-dates the concept of "Fungible FSI". We will add an explanation of fungible FSI soon.

What is FSI? FSI or floor space index, is the ratio of how much space you may construct on a given plot. It is the ratio of allowed built-up area to the plot area.  For example, on a 10,000 ft2 plot with an FSI of 2, you may construct 20,000 ft2 of area.

2. TDR: can be an additional 1 on FSI in normal areas, not in CRZ areas.  Areas given to road setbacks and recreational grounds (15% of the plot area) should be deducted from the TDR.  Therefore, if there are no setbacks, the TDR will be 0.85.

What is TDR? Transferable Development Rights are a mechanism to reduce new construction in crowded areas and shift it to less dense parts of the city. In Mumbai, TDR was initiated to de-congest south Mumbai and shift new construction northwards. It works as follows: say you own a 10,000 ft2 plot with an FSI of 1.3 in South Mumbai, and your building has 8,000 ft2 of built-up area. To utilise your full FSI allowance, you would have to build 10,000 x 1.3 = 13,0000 ft2 of space. This means you have 5,000 ft2 of extra capacity in your plot which you are not using. With TDR you can then sell this right to build 5,000 ft2 to someone north of you. You then cannot build more than the existing 8,000 ft2 on your plot.

3. Height of Building: depends on location and proximity to airport.  Height of a room should be less than 4.2m.

4. Setbacks / Open Spaces Required around building: Ht/3 for living spaces (bedrooms, living rooms) and Ht/5 for dead walls and toilets.  This can be overcome by paying a premium to the BMC.  However the CFO will demand a clear 6mx6m for fire engine movement.

5. Min Size of Rooms: as follows: 
                                       Min Area                Min Width
Habitable Rooms              9.5 m2                       2.4m
Toilets                              2.2 m2
Toilets (separate)             1.1 m2 (WC)            1.5 m2 (area of bath)
Kitchens (1 BHK Flats)      5.5 m2                       1.8m
Kitchens (2 BHK Flats)      7.5 m2                       2.1m

6. Balconies: upto 10% of the FSI area per floor allowed free of FSI.  Flower beds upto 1.2m in width allowed all around the building.  If a flower bed is placed in front of a balcony, then its width should not exceed 0.6m.

7. Refuge Areas: one every 24m in height, area not less than 4% of the occupied space existing till the next refuge area.

8. Staircases: not less than two if the floor plate is more than 500m2 or the height more than 24m.  Each should be 1.5m wide, enclosed by a 230mm brick wall, ventilated to the outside, and accessed via a fire door.  Higher buildings will require 2m stairs.

9. Shafts: min dimension of 0.6m.

10. Service Floors: should have a minimum clear height of 1.5m.

11. Parking: 

In residential buildings, for tenements upto 70 m2 in area, 1 car per tenement, 2 for bigger flats (except in A Ward, where 4 are required).  After this, add 10% for visitors. (50% of spaces can may be 4.5 x 2.3m, the rest not less than 5.5 x 2.5m). 

In educational buildings, it is one car per every 35m2 of carpet area of the administrative offices and public services spaces only.

Disclaimer: this is intended to be a guide for students and laymen, and is a partial guide to building regulations in Mumbai.  These regulations also change from time to time.  Consult your licensed architects and permissions experts before building anything!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

SDM Architects is one of the leading industrial architects in Mumbai, India

SDM Architects has extensive experience of projects in the industrial sector.  We believe that an industrial architect should first understand a production process in great detail, and then design the building to suit this process.  The building is only an envelope that enables the smooth functioning of the industrial process.

SDMA is also experienced in Master Planning of Industrial Complexes.

For every industrial building, SDMA will study the following in detail:
  • Raw Materials: how they are brought in, unloaded, and stored
  • Production Process: as industrial building designers we study the production process in great detail
  • Circulation Efficiency: if 250 people are made to walk an extra 1 minute to the toilet, that is a loss of over 15,000 man-hours per year! Therefore an idustrial architect should take great pains to ensure the efficiency of an industrial building design.  Similarly, the path of movement of materials should also be optimised
  • Finished Goods Storage: a well-designed finished goods warehouse with proper storage heights and accessways is essential to the functioning of a manufacturing plant
  • Packing and Loading: are also vital areas that should be designed carefully.  The industrial architect should plan a layout with the correct movement corridors and turning spaces, especially if forklifts are used.
  • Utilities: are the backbone of your plant.  Do you need captive power, backup power, and emergency power?  How about compressed air, vacuum, or gas supply systems? Firefighting systems are a key requirement for safety. SDM Architects works with the best building services engineers in the industry to specify high-qualiity, low-maintenance equipment and also to design buildings that house these securely and allow easy maintenance.
  • Sustainability: SDMA has for years been designing buildings that make full use of natural lighting.  These days, the science of sustainable design has grown by leaps and bounds and we have kept pace.  Read more here.

View our projects in industrial building design.

Our clients include:
Can Pack India, a leading MNC in aluminum can manufacturing
Oerlikon, a huge german-swiss machine tools and technology company
Magicut Tools, Palghar, near Mumbai
ACCRA Pac India

Sustainable Design Ideas & Understanding

We have a very strong interest in sustainable design at SDM Architects, and believe in design solutions that produce actual, measurable results rather than green certificates for a building.

We believe in intelligent design based on scientific reasoning, and not airy-fairy architectural ideas.  Our goals in design are as follows:
To reduce the energy consumption of the building
To make the building comfortable for humans without the use of large air-conditioning or heating systems that consume massive energy.  Remember that because you switch on your air-conditioner, somewhere, a coal power station is spewing out tons of emissions into the air!
To ensure that building materials are not sourced from a mine in Australia or a factory in Helsinki, but rather, to use materials that are naturally found in the region of the building

How we do it

We do this in a number of ways.

Fundamental to everything is a scientific understanding of the energy balance of the building.  If a building is considered to be an isolated system, then

           Energy state of the building = energy entering the system - energy leaving the system

So to get an idea of the energy balance of a building, one has to identify all the ways energy enters the system, add them up, and then weigh that against the total energy loss of the building.  Note that transfer of energy happens in many different ways - for most buildings, in over 25 different ways!

The next is a strong understanding of thermodynamics.  Thermodynamics is the study of how heat flows.  This is central to controlling human comfort in a building.

With a detailed analysis using thermodynamics, one can design a building envelope, which is a fancy architect's name for a building facade, that performs in the best way.  By this we mean an envelope that does not allow heat to enter the building (in a hot climate), and the reverse in a cold climate.  Of course, things get tricky in a climate such as New Delhi, which is cold in winter, and hot in summer.

We must make clear that modern buildings made of concrete and masonry perform terribly in hot conditions.  This is because concrete has a very high specific heat capacity, meaning that it absorbs heat like a sponge, and retains it.  One may say that modern Indian buildings built with concrete, brick and plaster are designed to absorb heat rather than reject it!  So the energy balance of these buildings is skewed.

Case Studies

Roof System that reduces heat gain by 70%

SDM Architects designed a roof system for a 16,000 square foot home near Mumbai that reduced heat gain through the roof by 70%.  This had the effect of:
Reducing the number of days of the year the AC systems are run (it is difficult to altogether eliminate AC systems in hot-humid areas) by about 50%
Reducing the capacity (size) of the AC systems installed there, which reduces capital costs
Dramatically reducing the energy used by the AC systems, which reduces running costs
This had further "spin-off" effects, such as reducing the size of the transformer and the backup power systems for the entire project

Building made of ultra-local low-energy materials

SDM Architects designed and built an experimental classroom and toilet for a school run by an NGO at Igatpuri, Maharashtra.  The buildings were made of earth from the building site, using a technique called compressed stabilized rammed earth construction,  This technique has been pioneered and developed by the Auroville Earth Institute, among others, and we believe it holds great potential for India's future.  The roof was made with a hybrid of bamboo and steel structural members, another first-time innovation from our stable.

Building with chameleon-like skin

For a building containing studio apartments in New Delhi, we designed a building with a transformable roof.  The building has a full-height atrium topped by a glass roof.  This roof becomes transparent in winter, and stays opaque during the summer.  This allows the building to pick up valuable heat in the winter while remaining cool in summer.  The building also has a centralized evaporative cooling system for the atrium and  common spaces.

The transformation from transparent to opaque happens without the use of complicated motors, gears, and actuators.  It happens by hand - twelve people are required.  Thus the system cannot break down, and needs no maintenance apart from cleaning!

Industrial buildings that remain cool

For industrial buildings at Skoda Auto and Can Pack India, both at Aurangabad, Maharashtra, we introduced a building-wide ducted adiabatic cooling system that cools the entire factory floor to as much as 9 degrees below the external dry bulb temperature.  This system greatly reduces dust in the production areas. It has the added benefit of allowing large industrial doors to be kept open without loss of heat or entry of dust!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Competition Project Design by SDM Architects - Jan 2013

Odisha State Museum Galleries 
Design Competition
January 2013

Orissa State Museum is an old structure built in 1980's. The space is a huge with a large central courtyard and the layout is very similar to Calcutta State Museum, but the items for display is much lesser than them. Regarding the same the state government wants to start renovating 3 existing gallery space and design 2 new gallery spaces. So we worked on 4 of these gallery spaces which are shared here through the final layouts and views for them along with the rough sketches of our thought process.

The galleries designed are:

1. Mining & Geology Gallery

2. Freedom Fighters Gallery

3. Odisha through Ages Gallery

4. Patta Painting Gallery

These galleries are of different sizes but the grand heights of these different rooms gave us the possibility of working on some interesting gallery designs. Each of these galleries have there unique identity and layout design as per the items that needs to be displayed.

Odisha State Museum Competition done by Mumbai architect SDM Architects

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SDM Architects Official website is about to be launched

For a long while now we have been trying to summarize all our architecture work that we have done in the past and continue doing. Being a small firm we don't have a pool of very large scale projects but each and every project of any scale that we have worked on shows our thought and keen interest in designing. Most of the designs are appreciated by our clients and few we haven't managed to please but none the less its  a learning process of  our long journey as a architectural firm.

Here is a sneak peak of the website from the LANDING page


And the most interesting section which is named as INTERESTS is where we keep a record of all that we do to make our work more interesting on every day basis.

There is still enough amount of information which still needs to be shared on the website before we go live. So do keep a close look at our blogspot for more information.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sketch of a Wall Art for a House

Interior spaces are very personal choices of each and every family but as a architect we do share ideas which are not very common. In this image we tried to create a personalized artwork with a combination of 2D and 3D items in the wall and two sliding doors on the two sides. The idea includes wall painting, to brass sculptures to sea of poppies light from the water body down below.