The Glass House
The Crystal Palace Hotel is an old establishment in Meerut and as part of the first phase of a larger refurbishment we proposed the Glass House in a large courtyard behind the hotel building. This courtyard is tucked away from the noisy street and was being used for banquets and events in the cooler months by erecting temporary shamianas. We felt that this open space was being underutilized and reimagined it as an ornamental garden with two pavilions designed to provide new all day and all season venues: The Glass House-a conservatory like sunlit banquet, the Opal Room-a smaller dining space which can be connected to the Glass House and a rooftop restaurant.
The Glass House has a contemporary design language that provides an altogether acoustic, structural and climatic response. The structure was imagined as a sunlit wood and glass pavilion that provides a welcome change from artificially lit, heavily upholstered banquet venues. It has a double skinned polycarbonate roof with programmable lights that enables a dramatic switch in ambience from a sunlit pavilion like space in the day to a psychedelic party house in the evenings.
The form of the inner skin was derived as a tessellated chandelier hanging in a hall. At the time of the project, the studio was experimenting with origami tessellations and folded forms and these studies led to the resolution of the roof as a folded canopy with its characteristic chandelier like extension in the middle. The folded chandelier is equipped with a retractable platform for cakes and champagne to make an entrance for the more quirky patrons.
The structure of the glass house is a prefabricated vaulted steel shed with a double roof. The outer roof is a multi-cell polycarbonate sheet. Below it hangs a tessellated canopy of steel and multi-cell polycarbonate. The properties of the two sheets and the gap between them provides thermal and acoustic insulation while allowing sunlight to filter into the space below. In addition, for the peak summer months, there is provision to ventilate the gap between the roofs with fresh air which is introduced at one end and exhausted at the other. The faceted nature of the lower canopy enhances the lighting and improves the acoustics. The façade of the glass house is made of sliding folding glass shutters, in cooler climate these shutters can be collapsed to create a pavilion which connects seamlessly with the smaller hall and the landscaped areas all around it. While in more severe climate, the shutters can be closed in order to maximise the effect of the HVAC system