- Nirali Jain
A Noticeable Book Stack
Antilia – multi-storied private residence of South Mumbai.
This building can never be unnoticed as one passes by the elite Altamont road of Mumbai. Antilia, a residence designed for India's richest and Forbes's fourth richest man, Mukesh Ambani, did become a debatable topic for many. At times, it requires one to push past what they know and look beyond what it says with a different perspective.
Antilia, a commercial center and a private residence comprise 27 floors, where spaces designed considering the lifestyle, work schedule and varying requirements of the family, including their functions. It was designed by a consortium between American Architects Perkins+Will and Hirsch Bedner Associates, with Australian-based company Leighton Holdings taking charge of its construction.
This building is 173 meters high and 37,000 sq.m. floor space which contains a health club with a gym, dance studio, swimming pool, ballroom, guestrooms, a variety of lounges and a 50-seater cinema, plus three helicopter pads on the roof. A dedicated car service station is located on the seventh floor which cater to 168 cars parked within the garage. The client's passion for speed, like his interests in cars and jet, is showcased by incorporating nine high-speed elevators in this residence. The top six floors are set aside as a private residential area with almost 600 operational service staff who accommodate the lower floors. A garden level separates the parking and commercial spaces from the residential spaces above.
Though many details cannot be stated here due to its privacy and the reticent drawings with their specifications, we can mention few features about this residence. The concept of "Vaastu" - a traditional principle in Indian culture, which means any building form and orientation, is designed to create harmony between the built form and its surrounding energies. Antilia is developed with a square plan (a suitable geometric form in Vaastu) with a jarred facade and projected terraces to create a play in light, shade and wind direction. Another Vaastu principle, where the mid intersection point of any residence should be free from any obstacle, could be interrelated in elevation by the separating garden level at mid-section around the V-shaped columns at the edges.
A seemingly lurched structure with no two floors being the same and with three helipads on top is an architectural plus engineering challenge to manage. Antilia sets an example in meeting the enormous needs of inhabitants, going vertical with the immediate context of a crowded street with the slum around.
The flat glass facade towards the other end is a bold move though elegantly handled with a sustainable approach. The proposed vertical gardens, as trellis panels with hydroponically grown plants, helps in reducing the urban heat island effect. As per Architects, they could weave the walls into full-grown trees, which would increase the green for this project by approx. 5-10 times compared to what it could be over the ground and the roof. They do believe this building can become a prototype for the buildings in future.
However, this residence does cover a blanket of judgements. Keeping that aside, it's an abstract art that can be decoded and articulated with various dimensional perspectives.
Eventually, this green book stack did become the landmark of that street.