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Sculptural Steel Office Ditches Right Angles for Curves

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Fins of steel

When most people think office, few are likely to imagine a steel-armored horseshoe with overlapping exterior curves. But The Crescent, a 4,905-square-foot office building in Surat, India, is far from your typical cube farm.

Designed by Sanjay Puri Architects, the building’s finned form and orientation arose from a need to shield its interior from the harsh, hot rays of the Surat sun.

Because the city’s temps often climb above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the architects elected to reduce solar gain by aligning the building along a north/south axis with most of its windows open to the north. A set of glazed clerestory openings help bring natural light into the interior offices while minimizing solar gain. A small pool at the entrance of the structure provides a natural cooling effect, while a rear courtyard is home to a small shaded lawn.

But the structure’s most striking feature is its facade—a set of curved fins skinned in weathered Corten steel. The rectangular metal panels create a visually strict counterpoint to the more organic curvature of the building, especially at the entrance where the ends of the horseshoe rise into a set of four inclined points.

Alternately evoking a fortress or an armored beetle, the heat-conscious building is anything but average.