HPCC + CCCR at Pune by Madhav Joshi and Associates

Madhav Joshi and Associates

Madhav Joshi and Associates

Text and Images by Madhav Joshi and Associates

The high performance computer center (HPCC) and center for climate change research (CCCR) buildings located in Pashan Pune, were con­ceived to pioneer research on climate change and allied studies. The facility promotes the urgent need to build a critical mass of trained researchers to address the science related issues of climate change that are of particular relevance to India.

Share Post:

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

HPCC+CCCR at Pune by Madhav Joshi and Associates

The high performance computer center (HPCC) and center for climate change research (CCCR) buildings located in Pashan Pune, were con­ceived to pioneer research on climate change and allied studies. The facility promotes the urgent need to build a critical mass of trained researchers to address the science related issues of climate change that are of particular relevance to India. The facility provides a network of research groups with state of the art scientific capabilities to generate a large ensemble of future climate change scenarios using super computers with large number crunch­ing capabilities.

The two buildings have very diverse requirements. HPCC building houses a super computer as well as accommodate research offices, data archival, a conference room and training facility.

HPCC+CCCR at Pune by Madhav Joshi and Associates

CCCR building comprises chiefly of research offices for scientists, research scholars, visiting scientists and faculty, a library, a seminar hall, laboratory and administrative offices.

However, the ground floor and first floor of the administrative wing are Being converted to accommodate new HPCC.

To embody the significance of the organization it was important that built en­vironment responds to the challenges posed by climate change and deplet­ing energy and material resources. The need of the hour was to come up with a typology for a workplace that is a low carbon development with mini­mal impact on the surroundings.


Pune, located in Maharashtra, stands on the leeward side of the western Ghats at an altitude of 560 m. The place experiences moderate climate with three distinct seasons- summer (march-may), w1nter ( nov-feb) and the monsoons (june – oct) with most rainfall between the months of June and July

The most significant aspect of the climate of Pune is the large diurnal varia­tions in temperature for a majority of the year.


HPCC+CCCR at Pune by Madhav Joshi and Associates
Concept Diagrams

The project capitalizes on the seasonality of the location. Key concepts were the implementation of strategies for demand reduction and adaptive comfort of the occupants. Adherence to solar passive design principles of daylight design and natural ventilation coupled along with low energy systems were the main design drivers. Modification of microclimate would be achieved by minimal hard surface of paved areas, use of appropriate vegeta­tion and the introduction of water bodies on site as part of the landscape. A connecting bridge and an open-air plaza that seamlessly merges the indoor And outdoor spaces would unify the two buildings. The HPCC primarily dealt with solar passive design strategies whereas the CCCR building went a step further to work in conjunction with low energy systems to offset cooling de­mands.

A very robust design was thus conceived, that is minimalist and low on main­tenance. It did away with all applique decoration as a choice and kept a very controlled palette of materials to work with.



The two buildings, HPCC+CCCR are laid out on a 6mx6m modular grid With a connecting bridge and an open air plaza (climate plaza) in between. The maximum width of the floor plate limited to 18m, helped in orienting the long facades of the buildings in the north- south direction and reduce heat gain in the building.

HPCC+CCCR at Pune by Madhav Joshi and Associates
Exploded View


The layered envelope on the north and south facades- a combination of Single glazed sliding windows with aluminum louvers and deep RCC over frame enveloping the facade- designed to keep out the harsh summer sun binding the entire assembly of parts into a single entity.

A set of 5-7 louvers are combined to form a unit are placed in front of the cabins; manually adjustable to control the wind flow and temper the entry of sunlight. The louvers add an element of dynamism due to the various de­grees of their rotation made by the users inside and creates a unique facade composition every time.

On the east and the west sides this envelope takes a form of a double-layered cavity wall with scant openings.


The natural cooling system ( ncs) is a modified low energy system that taps into the potential benefits of the large diurnal variation in temperature of Pune. Indoor thermal comfort is delivered with a two- tier cooling system. Cool air supplied via ducts is augmented with radiant cooling from the slabs.


Nighttime ambient air temperature being low the cooling tower operates to Pass cooled water through the PEX pipes embedded in the concrete slabs. The concrete mass gets cooled due to the temperature being lower than am­bient air temperature.  This way the building structure itself is being used as energy storage.


Fresh air for “natural conditioning” drawn during the daytime through the wind tower is channeled through earth tunnels to be precooled in an earth pipe heat exchanger, at 4m below surface. This precooled air further cooled in an AHU inside the building is directed to the office spaces through horizontal ducts in the office areas. The air flowing through the ducts is directed at the radiant slabs that are already precooled throws naturally conditioned air to the workspaces, flows into the central atrium and gets exhausted at the top of the atrium.

The system ensures “operative temperature” indoors be maintained below 25°c during summers and during monsoons the temperature can drift up to 27°c due to higher humidity.

The ” natural conditioning” system uses ambient air and its properties for cooling water. The systems are monitored to ensure that at no point the water temperature, radiant slab and cooled air temperature will be below the dew point temperature to prevent condensation.

The system is also highly energy efficient at the energy consumption of the natural cooling system is 20 watts/sq.m.


The institutional precinct located against the hills of the Western Ghats, is the source of gray basalt stone. The aggregate and the crushed sand as well as the grit in the plaster are made from the indigenous basalt stone. A carefully selected palette of materials was adhered to with the sourcing of materials that are indigenous to the area. The palette is predominantly in various hues of gray and contrasts with the deep black shadows cast by the elements.

The exterior material being site cast concrete with its “birthmarks” intact and with aggregate plasters contrasts with the clear float glass and aluminum louvers adding to the institutional character of the precinct. The ex­ternal wall composition is of 230mm fly ash blocks with 30mm external stone Crete plaster and l 5mm gypsum plaster inside. The tough outer crust protects a softer core of interior spaces, done in a pure white bathed in soft indirect natural light throughout the day. Accents of deep brown laminate and beige flooring add to the warmth of the working environment.


The driving intent behind the project lay emphasis on the need to design for the site and climate contextualized approach. The design, systems and occu­pant comfort strategies result in a morphology that talks of form and sys­tem integration to redefine the typology of a sustainable workspace.



Share your comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You May Also Like

Our pursuit as a variated and connected team - Triple O Studio

Our pursuit as a variated and connected team – Triple O Studio

A team composed of multifaceted creative individuals witnessed an opportunity to rethink their existing process of operating with a variety of work bubbles within a single studio. The team also experienced good sustenance with their different channels of work, their off-studio initiatives, alongside their strong connectivity within the studio team.

Read More »
"Team spirit and resilient work processes are a necessity"- FUNKTION DESIGN STUDIO

Team spirit and resilient work processes are a necessity – Funktion Design

The team at Funktion Design experienced the challenges of keeping up the morale of their personnel during fears of the pandemic. The studio had identified ways of enlivening their workspace to maintain the team’s vibrancy and increased the spirit between members. The studio’s relatively fresh experience with cloud working systems has helped them realize the importance of resilient in-studio work processes to pre-empt any future challenges like this pandemic.

Read More »
"Additional fundraising challenges and refreshed social goals." - NIVASA NGO

Additional fundraising challenges and refreshed social goals – Nivasa NGO

Nivasa NGO, possessing a network of advisors, fellow NGOs and funders, collectively witnessed additional strain on their monetary channels to aid their initiatives. The lockdowns, however, helped principal architect Akhila Ramesh to reinvent her journey with the Nivasa NGO team. With a rejuvenated studio structure and efforts to implement dignified living for the urban and rural poor, the team hopes to expand their friend network and funding avenues to aid their cause.

Read More »
"Sustaining with core research and social opportunities" - Ketham’s Atelier Architects

Sustaining with core research and social opportunities – Ketham’s Atelier

Ketham’s Atelier has been focussed on researching the core concepts of architectural design and becoming well versed with the associated skill sets. Additionally, the studio also has been running an NGO practice to impart the learnings through teaching methods. Together, the studio witnessed the importance of their research in helping them sustain through a time like the pandemic.

Read More »
New Children Space by Thinkcutieful (8)

Thinkcutieful designs a playroom for two sisters

Delhi based Design studio ThinkCutieful, specializing in creating beautiful spaces for children, has completed the décor of a modest playroom making it easy for a kindergartener and a toddler to play, scribble, exercise and relax within the safety of their home environment. A playroom, which is as fun as it is functional, is the best gift the parents could give their kids. Thinkcutieful, a mother and baby design company Founded in 2009 by Ms. Romilla Tewari – a pioneer in the field of children’s environments

Read More »

Subscribe to Architecture and Design Updates