Originally known as the “Ralli House”, TCS House was built in 1922 and remodelled in 1966. It is located in the fort precinct, an important image center of commercial activity for the Greater Mumbai Region. The area occupies a significant position historically – it marks the origin of Mumbai. The challenge here was to seamlessly introduce today’s requirements of the building without disturbing the original design by rehabilitating the building. A balance had to be created between preserving the character of the building, designing changes within this building and its contiguous additions. The result was through sympathetic massing, design and materials creating a unified statement. It is essential to interpret the past the way we see best and provide for the future without losing the spirit of the place. We have attempted to prove that old buildings can eloquently fulfil the expression of life to today.
The challenge of the structure totally covering the site is an urban setting was further compounded by the fact that the existing stone shell (3 sides) has to be retained as this building was classified as a Grade II – A heritage structure and deconstruction instead of demolition was a key factor. To achieve this, key existing structural elements (columns and beams) were either left untouched or temporarily strengthened. Then the new RCC frame work was erected while simultaneously removing the earlier support system. Care was taken to ensure that at any given point in time the unsupported height of the stone walls was restricted to a maximum of 8 meters (height of two floors). Additional external supports in the form of standard “H” frames were introduced for additional bracing. However, the size of the frames needed to be restricted as they were erected on a public foot path. The demolition of the existing beams and columns was carried out by a specialist contractor in a phased and precise manner. Care had to be taken while dismantling that the vibrations caused by the cutting equipment were not transferred to the stone wall.
Lack of storage space was in fact one of the biggest challenges faced during construction. The only minuscule open space on site was occupied by an existing electrical transformer which was supplying power to adjoining buildings. It has to be left untouched and functioning while the deconstruction and the re-erection work was going on. The rear side structural glazing wall and cantilevered floating staircase could only be erected once this existing transformer was shut down and removed by the concerned authorities.
- project: TCS House
- client: Tata Consultancy Services
- location: Mumbai, Maharashtra
- architects: Somaya & Kalappa Consultants
- date of completion: 2007
- area: 62,940-sq.ft
- services: Retrofitting and Re-architecture