A series of disused buildings from Mumbai’s colonial past set within the Mumbai Race Course are to be converted to form a series of restaurant and bars. The conservation guidelines call for the preservation of the roof profile for three-quarters of the buildings and full conservation for the remaining one-quarter.
The interesting aspect of the site, however, lies not in the colonial buildings but in the open spaces covered by mature Rain Trees. These spaces are shaded throughout the year by the thinly wide spread leaves of the Rain Trees, allowing almost the entire proposed program to occur outdoors.
Our proposal attempts to continue this idea of a continuously differentiated space, with no clear boundary, into the envelope of the conservation building. A new structure is proposed within the old building envelope. The structural system adopted here is that of a tree-branch. The propagation of the branching system along the longitudinal section of the conserved building is differentiated in its growth along the transverse section. This differentiation reorganizes the old buildings with new dining programs. Therefore each dining program (wine bar, restaurant, pre-function and banquet facilities) is captured within a different spatial volume, defined by the variable degree of the branching structure. As the structure branches into finer structural members as it approaches the ceiling. When the branches touch the ceiling, the ceiling plane is punctured with a series of openings corresponding to the intersection of the branches with the purlins and rafters. These openings become light coves and slits.
Description by architects