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Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis

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Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis

Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Exterior Photography, Facade, Windows
© Edmund Sumner

Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Exterior Photography, FacadeSurat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Interior Photography, HandrailSurat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Interior Photography, Facade, ColumnSurat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Exterior Photography, Facade, CityscapeSurat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - More Images+ 23

  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  660451
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2023
  • Photographs

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Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Exterior Photography, Facade, Cityscape
© Edmund Sumner

Text description provided by the architects. Over 90% of the world’s diamond pieces are cut in Surat, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, with the city playing host to the world’s largest community of diamond workers. Most traders, however, have to commute over 250 kilometers daily by train to reach Mumbai to conduct their business, significantly impacting their cost of living and commuting as well as access to a healthy quality of life. The Surat Diamond Bourse brings this vast community together, uniting all activities of cutting, polishing, and trading under one roof. With a built-up area of 7.1 million sq. ft. occupying a 35.3-acre site, the design of the bourse redefines the conventional office building typology while establishing new sustainability benchmarks within the hot and humid climatic context of Surat.

Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Exterior Photography, Brick, Cityscape, Facade
© Edmund Sumner

A central axis anchors the building, connecting it horizontally and vertically across all levels. The Diamond Club sits as a monolithic insert on the site’s northwest, extending from the free-flowing walls of the axis and taking advantage of the frontage for maximum visibility. Nine office towers diverge from the central axis; they are interspersed with shaded courtyards for rest and recreation that can remain in use year-round. The 15-storey office towers are oriented north-south, screening the harsh western sun and enabling 75% of the workspaces to be filled with diffused light throughout the day.

Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Exterior Photography, Facade
© Edmund Sumner
Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Image 24 of 28
Plan – Site
Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Interior Photography, Facade
© Edmund Sumner

The largest office building in the world – The bourse surpasses the Pentagon as the world’s largest office building. It brings together 67,000 professionals under one roof, with independent and consolidated functioning for 4,717 offices ranging from 28 sq.mt to over 10,500 sq.mt., making it a city within a city. Its wide-ranging amenities include a sprawling 10,000 sq.mt food zone, a retail plaza, and over 8,000 sq.mt. of health and wellness, conference areas, and banquet facilities.

Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Interior Photography, Handrail
© Edmund Sumner

Championing efficiency – Designing the world’s largest commercial building comes with the responsibility of enabling an extremely high level of efficiency. For its monumentality, circulation was one of the defining parameters. The primary challenge was facilitating easy and efficient daily navigation for 67,000 people through the high-security premises. To manage large volumes of people within trading-time constraints, the building is designed with walkable corridors across all floors, similar to an airport terminal, unifying it horizontally and vertically. Functional proximities were determined by optimizing travel distances from the site entrance to the farthest office module under 4 minutes from the point of entry. The flow of people has been designed to minimize security such that once checked at the perimeter, traders can traverse the building multiple times a day. The structure rests on urban-scale columns that double up as seating areas.

Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Image 25 of 28
Plan – Typical Floor
Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Interior Photography, Kitchen, Beam, Windows
© Edmund Sumner

Prioritizing liveability – Transcending prevalent trends of conventional glass-enclosed, mechanically-cooled office buildings, Surat Diamond Bourse is designed to respond to the way of life of the diamond trading communities. The diamond traders have a history of working in a highly collaborative fashion, collectively utilizing the skill sets of different members. The central axis thus functions like the building’s spine, creating an interactive hub comprising break-out spaces, green atria, and a host of visual experiences, allowing for multiple chance encounters throughout the work day. In addition, the building accommodates designated offices and greenery-filled common areas that double up as informal workstations, drawing from the existing culture of working in the open air. The building creates a vibrant and lively atmosphere for the workforce with ample natural light and easy access to green pockets. The morphology, which maximizes mutual shading, ensures that the courts can support the way of life of the diamond community, including recreational activities and open trading like in a traditional bazaar.

Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Exterior Photography
© Edmund Sumner
Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Image 26 of 28
Sustainability Features

Exceeding conventional sustainability standards, the bourse consumes 50% less energy than a typical green building – It is a well-known fact that the building industry is the largest contributor to global emissions of greenhouse gases. A lesser-known fact is that there is no bigger energy guzzler in the building industry than the office typology. This is attributed to the high density of users in this typology and the fact that they consume a tremendous amount of energy for air conditioning and lighting. Surat Diamond Bourse directly offsets these challenges using low-tech passive strategies and modern technology. The self-shading blocks are oriented to cut out the harsh western heat and are spaced between 15 acres of landscaping that further keep the site cool.

Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Exterior Photography, Facade, Cityscape, Windows
© Edmund Sumner

100% of the building’s community and circulation spaces, equivalent to 30% of the built-up area, are naturally ventilated with passive cooling. The building flares out at both ends to funnel in prevailing winds through the Venturi effect while on non-windy days, staggered atria allow for the escape of hot air through the stack effect, thereby maintaining a pleasant internal microclimate. Gardens distributed along the entire volume of the axis work as natural air filters, enhancing indoor air quality. 100% of community and circulation spaces, covering 30% of the building’s area, rely on passive cooling for ventilation.

Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Image 27 of 28
Sectional Perspective

On non-windy days, staggered atria interrupt the spine vertically, allowing hot air build-up to escape through the stack effect. The atria also incorporate green lungs that foster a pleasant internal microclimate without mechanical cooling. The building also features one of the largest installations of radiant cooling (approximately 20 kms of running length of radiant pipes per floor; the cumulative length is approx. 300kms), where 40% of the built-up volume is cooled by an energy-efficient system that uses chilled circulated water on the floors and ceilings. The north-south orientation of the office blocks, coupled with the narrow depth of the floor plates, ensures that more than 75% of internal spaces are daylit, drastically reducing the dependence on artificial lighting. The common areas run on solar power throughout the year. A sensitive approach to achieving energy efficiency has led to the building consuming 50% less energy with a performance of around 45 kWh/sq.m./yr, compared to industry green benchmarks (110 kWh/sq.m./yr. as per Energy Conservation Building Code). These interventions have resulted in the building earning the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) Platinum rating.

Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Interior Photography
© Edmund Sumner

Built by the community, for the community – The building, commissioned by the community of diamond traders, is built in a democratic manner, as a cooperative. The community worked to ensure that the building catered to the needs of all traders, with large designated office spaces for large-scale traders as well as informal courtyard spaces that could be used flexibly by small-scale traders. In addition, the diamond traders and facility managers responsible for the upkeep of the premises formed an integral part of the design team, ensuring that all requirements were factored in. The building is thus a result of the collective agency exercised by the community.

Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Exterior Photography, Facade
© Edmund Sumner

Catalyzing decentralized developmentLocally sourced materials were incorporated with a minimal waste-to-landfill approach. Lakha red granite and Gwalior white sandstone used in the construction have been procured from within a 300 km radius. Stone-working communities from the Deccan Plateau were employed at all stages, from quarrying to dressing and application. The project exemplifies the idea of decentralized development, symbolic of Surat’s progress and rapid economic growth. Apart from the facility itself generating employment in the area, manufacturing units were set up locally to support the construction of the bourse, further creating opportunities for growth in the area. The construction of the project has aided the establishment of new social infrastructure, with schools and hospitals coming up as a result of community initiatives. In this manner, the building catalyzes holistic development in the tier II city while alleviating unchecked urban migration.

Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis - Exterior Photography, Windows, Facade, Cityscape
© Edmund Sumner

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.

Cite: “Surat Diamond Bourse / Morphogenesis” 09 Dec 2023. ArchDaily. Accessed .

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