Project Type : Factory (Operational Centre)
Location : Jaipur, Rajasthan
Client : JCB India Ltd.
Architect : CP Kukreja Associates
Structural Engineer : CP Kukreja Associates
Steel Fabricator : Larsen & Toubro Ltd.
Steel Supplier : JSW Steel Ltd. & Essar Steel
Steel Tonnage : 10,000 Tonnes

a ‘box’ designed ‘out of the box’

In today’s construction engineering scenario, any project needs to be delivered on time, with each and every phase of it being put to the most perfecting detail with cost and construction efficiency allowing least waste of resources. In such a condition, a design just not merely end with a drawing on the architects drawing board, but is greatly dependent on material handling, fabrication, assembly and post construction maintenance – this is especially true of large scale industrial projects and it is needless to say that structural steel is one of the most distinguished materials that makes such extreme engineering technology feasible in crunch time.

Aspiring With Culture
J C Bamford Excavators Ltd (universally known as JCB), a British multinational Corporation serving as the world’s third largest construction equipment manufacturer, who already had their operational centres in Ballabgarh and Pune, aspired their ambition to try higher with their new culture which has now become JCB’s single largest footprint in India with 1 million sq. ft. of new factory space on a 115 acre site – such a new facility was envisioned to put the company as a market leader in production of construction equipment, thereby, making a mask in the growing Indian economy.

Responding With Glory
The basic brief for the JCB project at Jaipur justified it as a Greenfield project which has to respond to the existing desert topography in an environment friendly manner. JCB is a company who has committed itself to the development of the grounds around its factories through high quality planting and landscaping, and if possible, with appropriate formulation of lakes.

Following such landscape and site-planning philosophy, a masterplan for the entire project had to be developed, which was carried out in two phases: Phase-1 covering 70 acres had 85,000 sq. mtrs. of manufacturing and fabrication facilities; and Phase-2 witnessed construction of another 46 acres of land. The first phase was also envisioned to contain large office facilities over 12,000 sq. mtrs. that would allow the factory to start operating as soon as the construction is completed.

The two phases were planned in a manner keeping in mind an uninterrupted production flow so that the workability of a factory is not hindered even when the second phase was still being constructed. Besides all these factory functions, an auditorium of 300 capacity was also proposed in coordination with the assembly block. Together, the brief suggested a comprehensive, yet, compact development with judicious site utilization, smart work flow and high environmental restrictions.

Designing With Holism
The project was envisioned as a holistic approach from the site level to the building level – over a master plan level. It was aimed to merge the blocks seamlessly with a local topography, which is characterized by an arid landscape with occasional greenery and water holes; the grounds were emphasized to match into natural contours of the surrounding area with possible formation lakes and plantations.

Attempt was maximized to utilize the natural contours of the site while necessary ‘cut & fill’ techniques were carried out with soil present on site only, which promised minimum cost of site-grading, while creating high ground for the building and a depression for a water body, which becomes an oasis amidst the desert landscape.

At the architectural level, the project was conceived as two separate buildings that allowed controlling the footprint of the built-up area as well as landscape to flow as a continuous natural layer within the site. The project, hence, was as much significant as a master planning exercise, as it was an architectural design.

Gracing With Steel
Such a large scale project could only be imagined as a steel intensive engineering which allowed to install the latest industrial architecture technology into the design. Such designs varied from those of the ‘hung loading’ (that allow material handling from 50 kg/sq. mtr. in fabrication units to 250 kg/sq. mtr. at the assembling units) to the designing of roof-frames aided by jack beams (for enabling the ‘overhung conveyor belts’ to move manufactured goods from one space to another), and even more critically, design of service systems which are really complicated and forms the backbone of any functionally efficient industrial building.

Although an industrial space is mostly dominated by machines, it needs to be critically designed respecting human working conditions. In this context, the most important need is to facilitate proper lighting, cooling and ventilation. Other than artificial lighting, steel on roof, walls and other structural members are painted white by spectrography-tested steel paints which reflects 80-95 per cent of natural light coming through skylights, and allow the workspace to be lit up by reflected diffuse light, which is best for eyes working in enclosed spaces for long hours.

As far as heating and ventilation are concerned, they are managed by controlling the stratification level (the interface between the sedimented cold air pumped by air conditioners and the lighter hot air floating above) which is designed to be 2 to 3 metres above the finished floor level. The temperature within this volume is comfortable for working, unlike the hot air floating above which gets heated due to friction and vibration of machines inside.

However, the hot air is circulated through exhaust fans which are incorporated amidst the complex roof design. Thus, steel in such an architecture, not only fulfill structural stability, but, also allows super-efficient service and maintenance that holds the secret behind the successful functioning of the factory allowing it to manufacture 105-110 equipments a day, instead of an ordinary rate of 50-60 equipments which is otherwise common in such circumstances.

Specifying With Architecture
All JCB projects are subject to strict architectural specifications, which are part of the guidelines for developing each of the factories for the company. Such specific array of guidelines are adopted to bring in high perfection in work delivery as well as defining a distinct identity for the brand JCB. The project in particular had some extra specifications like the roofs that were painted white and differ from the green colour typically used for JCB buildings. This was done considering the extreme heat of the Jaipur climate that could only be countered by reflecting 85 per cent of the solar heat that allowed cutting down massive air condition load.

The other architectural considerations consciously observed included construction of the projects as two separate buildings that allowed:

  • Landscape to flow as a continuous natural entity on site
  • A fabrication unit to start functioning as a separate block independently, even when phase-II was under construction
  • Allow more space for natural lighting within the building
    Bring paint shop facilities convenient to outdoor areas present between the two buildings

Identifying With Geometrics
JCB factories typically identified themselves as ‘box’ structures with buildings rising from a considerably higher ground in comparison to the surrounding landscape. This allows the buildings to break the skyline, yet, being visible from great distances.

JCB also defines its internal architectural dimensions as clear, long spans with uninterrupted visibility. All these called for the use of pre-engineered building (PEB) techniques which has put both, architectural and structural dimensions of the project a class apart.

The project has been processed digitally through typical architectural and structural design software viz. STAAD.Pro, ETab, AutoCAD other than several more engineering software that have assisted in heat-flow analysis, energy analysis, sun path diagrams, work flow diagrams and animation for walk through generation. The main frame of the building consists of large pre-engineered building parts of span 20 mtrs x 40 mtrs resting on jack beams at every 6-metre interval. The different steel sections used were Fe 350, Fe 345, Fe 450 as structural steel and Fe 500 where ever RCC was used. The machines used for the construction were hydro lifts, cranes etc.

The project has been as much a milestone for JCB in India, as much it has been for CP Kukreja Architects. The major designing achievements can be enumerated as:

  • Creating a large industry of the scale and complexity with seamless communication among 20 prime construction experts hailing from engineering disciplines that provided a world-class design to take shape
  • Completing the entire project and inaugurating it in a record time of 15 months Accomplishing With Efficiency.

There were few major challenges faced by the concerned firms while executing the project. It required accomplishing a much needed coordination and joint effort by engineers from multiple disciplines that allowed the project to set high standards in the field of industrial design development. The project of such scale completed within record time of 15 months also ensured 100 per cent safety record. Another accomplishment was fabrication and erection of extremely large spans of pre-engineered building parts, without which the project could not have been completed so efficiently and speedily.

The best part of this project, I believe, is that the functional requirement of a large factory, which is manifested through intensive mechanical engineering, have been contained in a relatively much smaller footprint – that too juxtaposed harmoniously with the soft landscape, the combination almost becoming an interesting interplay of the hard machine and soft nature. Such a conscious blend in the design, accompanied with the soft and subtle choice of color, merges the architecture of these industrial buildings with the desert landscape almost like sand dunes. This is a large industrial facility which is intensively equipped with mechanical engineering and despite its robust architectural character, merges with the soft landscape without becoming a strongly forced imposition. This project proves that even industrial architecture can be designed at par with the principles of sustainability to utmost detail.

DIKSHU KUKREJA, Principal Architect, CP Kukreja Associates



As a designer, C.P. Kukreja Architects has been involved in the recent years in several large landmark industrial projects for major national and international clients in different parts of the country. In that context, the entire spectrum of design parameters for a modern industrial project starting from site selection to functional requirements, material selection, construction techniques and cost-and-time factors make such designs much more than just constructing steel sheds.

S. K. NANDI, Principal Consultant, CP Kukreja Associates