Indian architecture studio Morphogenesis recently unveiled the Surat Diamond Bourse in the city of Surat in Gujarat. The world's largest office building, the ‘city within a city’ has overtaken the 620 000-square-metre Pentagon near Washington DC, which held the title of the world's largest office building for 80 years.
The colossal 660 000-square-metre Surat Diamond Bourse consists of nine 15-storey wings, with 4 717 offices hosting 67 000 diamond cutters, polishers and traders, arranged around a central corridor. A central spine connects all the offices, with a series of full-height atriums and balconies overlooking each level. This central block opens out into fan-like shades at either end of the building to allow in air.
Sonali Rastogi, founding partner of Morphogenesis, explained that the building's nine wings are strategically oriented north-to-south, providing a shield against the sun. These glazed wings also allow for ample natural light in the expansive structure.
Amid the wings are courtyards that serve a dual purpose. First, they ensure that all office spaces get plenty of light, promoting a vibrant work environment. And, second, they serve as informal trading and meeting spaces, facilitating recreational activities and fostering an atmosphere reminiscent of that of a traditional Indian bazaar.
Alongside these courtyards and offices, the building also contains a food zone, a retail plaza and a health club.
The facade of the building is partially clad in Lakha red granite, a vibrant red stone that was procured locally from within a 300-kilometre radius of the building site.
India’s prime minister Narendra Modi described the Surat Diamond Bourse as ‘a testament to India’s entrepreneurial spirit’. ‘It showcases the dynamism and growth of Surat’s diamond industry,’ he said, and ‘will serve as a hub for trade, innovation and collaboration, further boosting our economy and creating employment opportunities’.
After more than four years of construction work that were fraught with Covid-related delays, the building is set to open to occupants in November 2023.
Photographs: Morphogenesis, Edmund Sumner.