Back To The Future
Architect and Interiors India|August 2020
Back To The Future
Humming tree uses a rustic template with industrial elements to create a futuristic automobile display space in Kerala
Mitalee Kurdekar

It’s not what you would expect a car showroom to look like – in fact, PADDOCK far exceeds any expectations. Created by Humming Tree, this automobile display space in Kannur, Kerala, stands apart on many fronts. Unlike typical car showrooms that are all about the glitzand glamour – using ample artificial lights, towering glass façades and completely airconditioned interiors, this space takes the exact opposite approach. At a time when electric vehicles are making their grand appearance on India’s automobile scene, here is a car exhibition outlet that gives the sustainable design a big thumbs up. And it is all thanks to Humming Tree’s vision – one born of research and observations made over time.

“Usually, the process starts with an architect designing a building form that relates to its context and accommodates the client’s program, then progresses through increasingly detailed design phases. In thinking about climate responsive buildings, we began to question how we could expect different results if we kept doing things the same way. The answer, for us, was to rethink the traditional design process by not starting with architecture. To move this concept forward, we began approaching our work from a genuinely sustainable perspective, striving to create buildings that respond directly to their unique place,” says Arun Shekar, principal architect, Humming Tree.

“The most crucial lesson we’ve learned so far is the importance of developing a deep understanding of the climate metrics before the pencil ever hits the paper,” adds Mohammed Afnan, principal architect, Humming Tree.

DRIVING FORCES

In keeping with this philosophy, the duo does not start with building massing or an architectural form, instead first answering questions about the building’s location, like: “What is the sun’s position in the sky at a given time and season?”, “What effect will the wind have on occupant comfort surrounding the building?” and “How much rain falls on the site each season?” Beginning with climate data rather than architectural sketches has turned the typical design process upside down, and yielded surprising results.

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August 2020