The SAHRDC is a detailed model of a union between traditional ideas and innovative, meticulous techniques by Anagram Architects

Architecture Interior
View of the External Brick Façade 
Project credits:
Project name: Offices for the South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre
Location : New Delhi, India
Client : South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre
Design Firm: Anagram Architects
Project Team: Vaibhav Dimri and Madhav Raman
Year Completed : 2005
Structure: Trabeated structure in concrete (Cast in situ) and Exposed Brick masonry
Exterior Finishes: Exposed Brick masonry, Brick tiles, Exposed Stone Masonry, Stone Tiles, Handmade Ceramic Tiles.
Interior Finishes: Cement Plaster, Exposed Brick Masonry, Brick Tiles, Cement Mosaic flooring.
Site Area: 50 sqm.
Covered Area: 172 sqm.

A non-governmental institution, the South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre (SAHRDC) aims to investigate, document and circulate information about human rights. The SAHRDC is a small office with limited resources, which also runs a coveted internship program that attracts scholars from universities in India and abroad. The Centre required an office to be made on a 50 sq.m plot, accentuating spatial efficiency and cost effective construction.


View of the South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre 

The site context and its related challenges were to be factored in while planning the Centre. The site is located in a very busy street corner, with essentially pedestrian traffic. As a result, the visual and acoustic intrusion in the work spaces was a concern.


Working on a modest budget, the techniques of construction adopted had to optimize the space available on site.

The longer side of the site (10 m) is exposed to direct sunlight throughout the day. This factor was a major design generator, as reducing the resultant solar thermal gain became a challenge.

To distinguish the building from the adjacent street, some fortification was required, but at the same time it was important that the façade converses with the external activity. The external wall was then designed as an active and vibrant skin, echoing the buzz of the street, stimulating a design response which otherwise would have been an ordinary façade with minimal fenestrations.


View of the External Brick Façade  


View of the External Brick Façade  

The porosity of the wall, enhanced by the bricks, maintains the privacy of the office, while playfully engaging with the street corner. This novel design response elucidates the studio’s creative principal of crafting contextually responsive and resource efficient architectural solutions.



View of the External Brick Façade  


View of the External Brick Façade  

In order to efficiently use the available space, a single consolidated volume is created on each floor to be divided flexibly using partitions, as per the client’s requirement. This volume on each floor is serviced by an adjoining buffer bay of a single flight cantilevered staircase and a toilet stack. The building costs were kept to a minimum by using exposed brick construction and by creating a beamless soffit at every floor.

A gently vaulting roof was designed to create a beamless soffit without increasing the thickness of the slab. Lateral inverted beams were introduced and flooring was laid onto an infill, so that each floor plate was insulated, eliminating the need for a false ceiling.


Vaulted Ceiling

The buffer bay is designed to be a breathing thermal barrier along the sun facing side. The placing of the staircase block and the toilet stacks in this bay shields the interior work spaces from the direct, harsh sunlight. The porosity of the wall, owing to the bricks used, keeps this bay well ventilated and shaded, limiting the heat transferred to the internal functional areas.


Staircase in Buffer Bay


Staircase in Buffer Bay  

A single brick module is repeated to create a visually complex and an aesthetically appealing design pattern, on the lines of the traditional South Asian Brise soleils. Through this, Anagram Architects make a successful endeavor to enrich elemental modernity with exhaustive research in traditional and atypical practices.


View of the External Brick Façade  


View of the External Brick Façade  


View of the External Brick Façade  


View of the External Brick Façade  

A six brick module is laid in staggered courses to create twirling, innovative vertical stacks and an undulating surface. A five week design process devising masonry techniques on site resulted in the construction of the screen wall. From verification of plumbline to the structural bonding of the brick courses, methods of brick laying were devised through a deep on-site collaboration between the masons and the architects.

With the SAHRDC, Anagram Architects have designed a contemporary structure which finds its roots in the traditional architecture of South Asia. The studio has devised inventive and ecologically sustainable solutions to tackle the various design challenges, with the resultant structure being a modern establishment portraying innovation and meticulous technique.


Six Brick Module Detail 
18Six Brick Module Detail 


Six Brick Module Detail 


View of the External Brick Façade  


Details in Brick Laying


View of the External Brick Façade  





Design Team

– Tanvi Naik ,Volume Zero.

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