Spatial Optimisation: An Imperative In The New CO-LAB World

The last few decades have seen the world become a much tighter canvas as connects across the globe have only brought countries and communities together. This increase in transparency has led to cross-pollination of ideas and has brought people together, giving rise to the phenomena of ‘Collaboration in the workplace’.

Cloud computing and faster internet connections are allowing professionals to collaborate with experts from across the world to deliver more efficient products. With the production sector exploiting the digital workspace, the new educated, skilled and engaged workforce needs new spaces that allow them to function at their best. These new workspaces need to establish a far greater emphasis on partnership and interdependence, so that the users may productively and effectively connect.

Our new workplaces need to take a socialist approach and ensure that the open floor-plate format helps in dissolving the boundaries and creates multifunctional and flexible spaces that are key to supporting the evolving co-working environment. Strategies to develop new or existing setups to this format do not necessarily imply a spike in investment cost, as by optimizing the existing resources, be they material or fiscal both the capital and operational costs can be controlled.

Planning or converting space to have dual functions in key in ensuring that the entire footprint of the office space is utilized to its maximum. This multiplicity of function, helps in giving each space an ever-evolving character making it more dynamic in nature and allowing for the occupants to transform it as they please. With the long hours that we all seem to be putting into work, as top organizations strive towards making their employs overtly comfortable (almost ensuring more comfort than home), there is a major blurring of lines between our work time and personal time. While, this fad is here to stay as planners and architects we can certainly ensure space transitions can help nudge an individual to perceive the space for its original intent.  Hence, the need to create multiple break-out zones in a typical floor plate is far more important now, so as to provide a distinct contrast between the spaces where we work and where we take time off to stare into space

It is imperative to constantly refine and integrate learnings from a much wider arc of behavioural trends to inform strategies that need to be applied to develop spaces. In an ideal working collaborative environment, its users must feel secure to be productive. These finer nuances of spatial demarcation help in creating a unique identity even for multifunctional spaces.



Image Stories #05

In the shadow of a tree,

a mere brick may set you free.

Here is to Joseph Allen Stein,

and what he did to the Delhi skyline.

Image Copyrights: Rahat Varma

#FavoriteSpotsInTheCity #ArchitecturalGeek #EarlierToday #PictureOfTheDay #NoFilters #BuildingLove #Spaces #DesignThinking

Image Stories #04

When the roof was on fire, you never let me know.

Say you’re sorry, honey, but you never really show.

And I could leave the party without ever letting you know.

Without ever letting you know.

Image Copyrights: Rahat Varma

#GoldByKiiara #SeeThatSky #BehindAllThatGold #DesignThinking #MajorThrowBack #Thailand #Gold #ArchitecturalGeek 

Image Stories #03

Just in case you were wondering, somethings are ment to blow your mind away. #DesignThinking #Green. #MorningFinds #Joy #FindYourClam #BlownAway

Image Copyrights: Rahat Varma

Image Stories #01

For love is often ‘fair and square’. #ArchitecturalGeek #ShotsFromEarlier #GotATree #White #DesignThinking #Facades

Project: The British School, New Delhi

Image Copyrights: Rahat Varma

The Pebble Path

-The fear of getting lost on a demarcated pebble path in a coffee plantation. #life #landscape #fears#architecturalgeek #nofilters

With a beaten gravel path ahead of me

Through the jungle, I wander

The plethora of lush green

Makes me ponder


For choices have to be made

With very little aid

And the stream of sunshine, through the green

Will only remind me of that coffee bean


As the smell of the fresh roast, right off the east coast

Sharpens my senses

I know that getting lost on is a fear that I will just have to overcome. As organised landscape, often has a way to make its user feel more empowered that it should.

And maybe this is how the joy of discovery (rediscovery) is often misunderstood.


– Life lessons to be learnt from Metropol Parasol: if you mushroom of the ground plane with full force and conviction, you’ll find a way to survive and thrive in your local ecosystem. #ArchitecturalGeek#Sevilla #nofilters #MajorThrowBackSeries#lifelessons #metropolparasol

Set on the plains of the river of Guadlquivir, Seville was founded as a Roman city but it fell in the clutches of the Muslim conquest in 712 AD. The city is steeped in history, and through time it learned to modify and change itself a number of times. With culture so deeply woven into the city fabric, the Metropol Parasol, a large architectural intervention that mushrooms over La Encarnación square initially faced a lot of opposition. Many residents as well as members of the local authorities believed that the timber structure stuck out like a sore thumb in the urban layout, while some felt that the city should perhaps adapt to change and new times.

The structure proposed over the dilapidated parking lot, which was merely seen as a dead spot between more popular tourist destinations, is undeniably enchanting. The parasol grows out of an archaeological excavation site into a modern-day landmark located in the heart of the old quarters of Seville.

The organic structure bourgeons off the ground at six different points, and programmatically divides itself into four different levels. The lowest level is in fact an excavation site of an ancient Roman district; replete with remnants of old house walls and mosaic surfaces. The level above sits partially below the outside ground level, and houses various shops and stores of daily commodities; while the floor above this contains a number of restaurants. These eateries often spill over into the main public areas creating interesting interstitial spaces of congregation. The roof level houses another restaurant and viewing gallery. A winding pathway sprawled across the undulating canopy facilitates stunning vantage points over the city roofline.

The initial design intent was to bring shade to the plaza to create a climate that invites people even in hot summer months. The notion of the project had always been to understand the fine balance between light and shadow, as the designers began to explore interventions that could be interesting to the city fabric and architecturally abstracted. While employing different iterations of their concepts, they often shifted scales of various elements found on site to establish a relationship between the design and its context.

Marx:Architecture:Influences and Interpretations


Marxism quintessentially divides people into two broad categories and attempts to explain based on their relationship to how things are made. Most people are called “workers” because they work in factories or offices or farms for money. They belong to the “working class”. Another group, that  are not as big as the working class are “capitalists”, because they own the factories, land and buildings that the workers have to work in and also own all of the tools the workers have to use.


Marx calls Capitalists the “Ruling Class” because they live off of the work of all the workers.


There has never been a clear outline explanation for Marx:Architecture. What then would constitute the relationship between the terms ‘Marx’ and ‘Architecture’? His text are yet suggestive towards a full range of architectural and spatial principles.


Engels breaks down Marx’s project as coming out of the synthesis of three strands of

European thought: economics (British), politics (French), and philosophy (German).


There are first the texts that deal directly with an urban thus, implicitly architectural subject matter, such as the section on the country and the city in the German Ideology of 1845, and in the 1848 Manifesto, or the constant references and comments on the processes and effects of industrial urbanisation. There are also texts on housing and urbanism by Marx’s collaborator Engels.


Marx can thus be understood as both:

1. A theorist of human production in general; and

2. A theorist of capitalist production in particular.


Walter Benjamin (1936)




In a sense most of Benjamin’s most famous work roots from the Marxian thought. In a famous passage towards the end of  ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, Benjamin writes:

Building has been man’s companion since primeval times. Many art forms have developed and perished…[But] architecture has never been idle. Its history is more ancient than that of

any art, and its claim to being a living force has significance in every attempt to comprehend the

relationship of the masses to art . . . [The] mode of appropriation, developed with reference to

architecture, in certain circumstances acquires canonical value. For the tasks which face the

human apparatus of perception at the turning points of history cannot be solved by optical

means, that is, by contemplation, alone. They are mastered gradually by habit.


by this logic —that the ‘mode of human sense perception changes with humanity’s entire mode of

existence . . .determined not only by nature but by historical circumstances as well’. We may derive the basic layout of the architectural as spatial practice.

Paul Valéry, Pièces sur L’Art, 1931

Original Title: Le Conquete de l’ubiquite

Title of the Translated Copy: The Conquest of Ubiquity

*Ubiquity is a synonym for omnipresence, the property of being present everywhere.


“Our fine arts were developed, their types and uses were established, in times very different from the present, by men whose power of action upon things was insignificant in comparison with ours. But the amazing growth of our techniques, the adaptability and precision they have attained, the ideas and habits they are creating, make it a certainty that profound changes are impending in the ancient craft of the Beautiful. In all the arts there is a physical component which can no longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which cannot remain unaffected by our modern knowledge and power. For the last twenty years neither matter nor space nor time has been what it was from time immemorial. We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in our very notion of art.”



See David Murray and Mark Neocleous, ‘Marx Comes

First Again, and Loses’, Radical Philosophy, 134

(November/December, 2005), p. 60.


See David Cunningham, ‘The Concept of the

Metropolis: Philosophy and Urban Form’, Radical

Philosophy, 133 (September/October, 2005), p. 13.