A monument to brilliance: Surat Diamond Bourse by Morphogenesis is the world’s largest office building

AUG 22, 2023 | By Rajlakshmi Dastidar
The perforations lead to the play of light and shadow, following the movements of the sun; Photography by Edmund Summer
The self-shading creates nine shaded courtyards that reflect the lives of all the members of the community, like in a traditional bazaar; Photography by Edmund Summer
The monolithic layout of the Diamond Club on the northwest emerges from the wall of the spine and ensures maximum visibility; Photography by Edmund Summer
The spider-glaze with glass fins drenches the corridor in light, enhancing the beauty of the burberry beige and grey marble from Silvasa. The light fixtures are from Sutra; Photography by Edmund Summer
Similar to any airport terminal, the walkable corridors also switch into seating areas when in need; Photography by Edmund Summer

The Surat Diamond Bourse, designed by Morphogenesis is a sprawling 7.1 million sq ft office building, standing as a testament to the interplay between time, materials, and the human spirit. At its core lies an ingenious inspiration — the efficient fishbone delivery system observed in various living beings, including humans. 

Sonali Rastogi, who co-founded Morphogenesis with her partner Manit Rastogi, elaborates on this remarkable concept, “The central spine, akin to the distribution channel found in the natural world, functions as a conduit for both people and resources. It’s not just a passageway; it’s a connection to shared spaces that foster collaboration and innovation.”

The gardens along the central axis of the building acts as natural filters enhancing the indoor air quality; Photography by Edmund Summer

Canvas chronicles

You’ll find yourself transported across epochs, where history, ingenuity, and creative brilliance have been woven together. The bourse, a crucible of history and modernity, beckons with open arms, inviting you to explore its corridors and unveil its stories.

Materials too, take a bow in this grand narrative. The foundation of the bourse is laid upon Lakha red granite and Gwalior white sandstone, sourced from within a 300 km radius. These stones carry with them the history of the Deccan Plateau’s stone-working community, their hands etching tales of craftsmanship into the very essence of the structure.

The fins at both ends of the building are crafted by using Lakha red granite while the Venturi effect lets the warm air to escape, creating a cooler and more sustainable atmosphere throughout; Photography by Edmund Summer

Crafting a landscape through nature

As the winds dance around the bourse’s flared ends, a subtle alchemy takes place. The Venturi effect, a transformation guided by science, whisks away warm air through strategically placed atria. It’s not just about design; it’s about creating a microclimate that nurtures and sustains, harmonising nature and architecture in a symphony of comfort.

Intriguingly, the layout of the north and south office blocks perform a play of light that renders artificial lighting almost obsolete. Akin to the spacious pathways of an airport terminal, these corridors blur the lines between horizontal and vertical movement, fostering a sense of organisation and flow.

The drop off zone features circular shaped skylights which bring in natural light and provide visibility to anyone who uses the space; Photography by Edmund Summer

Nature, an ever-present muse, envelops the bourse in a cloak of lush landscapes. A delicate balance is struck between low-tech passive strategies and modern technology. Gardens, aligned along the building’s axis, breathe life into indoor spaces while cooling the surroundings. Here, between tradition and innovation, each pirouette sculpts an environment conducive to creativity and clarity.

The corridor design draws inspiration from an airport terminal. They turn into seating areas as and when required; Photography by Edmund Summer

As the heart of the bourse, the central axis isn’t just a geometric entity. It’s a beacon of energy, powered by the sun’s golden touch throughout the year. The interactions flourish within break-out rooms and communal spaces, echoing the rhythm of solar-powered vitality.

The central axis also poses as a social hub where people from all walks of life and unique skills get to interact with each other; Photography by Edmund Summer

As you tread through the corridors of the Surat Diamond Bourse, you’re more than just a spectator; you’re a participant in a narrative that transcends time and space. The bourse stands as a tribute to a community that has honed the art of trading, cutting, and polishing diamonds over generations, crafting an ode to its enduring legacy.

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