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  • IF.BE Ice Factory Ballard Estate | Malik Architecture

    The 140-year-old Ambico Ice Factory is located in Ballard estate, the heart of Mumbai’s heritage precinct. We have reimagined the space as IF.BE (Ice Factory Ballard Estate), is an organism that merges art, exhibition, events, performances, gatherings, food, and design. Essentially it is a space for encounter, organized within beautiful but aging structures surrounding a large Banyan tree. Time, arbitrary additions, and asymmetric structural and infrastructural loading had caused a level of damage and decay that was revealed through a patient and assiduous examination of walls, foundations, roofs, etc.

    Visit: Malik Architecture

    IF.BE Ice Factory Ballard Estate | Malik Architecture

    Editor’s note : “Malik Architects’ skillfully refurbished Ice Factory emerges as a haven seamlessly woven into its natural surroundings. A captivating roof lantern takes centre stage, its graceful framework gently scattering sunlight throughout. Ingeniously repurposing industrial remnants into fresh configurations, the space undergoes a metamorphosis into an organic sanctuary. Amidst towering banyan trees, the robust brick walls exude an aura of rediscovery, inviting contemplation within a tranquil embrace.” ~ Venessa Thomas (Co-Editor)

    The drawing archives revealed a continuous courtyard connecting Calicut and Cochin Street, which was now cluttered with ad-hoc structures and metal roofs. Within this courtyard, an old banyan tree sits alongside the chimney of the factory. The coherence of the load-bearing, wooden-trussed, north-lit interior spaces has been somewhat vitiated by successive divisions and alterations. The roots of the tree, growing within the premises, had been choked under rubble and concrete. This tree provided the spark of inspiration that birthed the project – the shift from the Ambico Ice Factory to IF.BE.

    The recovery of the courtyard, restoring safety and clarity to the existing structure, revealing the organizational and physical anatomy, allowing the Banyan tree to breathe, and finding a way to shelter the new/additional spaces through a dialogue with the original structures was critical. There is no need to search for a new language, the triggers lie within the existing architecture. For four months, the factory’s decades-old plaster walls were gently scraped before the first semblance of brickwork could emerge. The building’s vintage Burma teak woodwork, lost to time, was slowly uncovered.

    The main Ice Factory, sub-station, cold storage, and the ice-cubing area required intensive examination and surgical intervention through retrofits to stabilize crumbling, warped, and leaking walls, sagging roofs and trusses (some of which had detached from their bearings). The existing North-light truss roofs are extended over the Cathedral but this undergoes two mutations to rotate 90 degrees to form the East-light roofs, while simultaneously dipping sharply towards the existing stone boundary wall to preserve light and ventilation for the neighboring structure. The pitched lantern roof of the sub-station extends over the courtyard and impacts the large glass walls of the newly formed ‘Cathedral’ Space.

    Industrial artifacts found on site were creatively repurposed to evoke the factory’s history – giant cooling coils used to manufacture ice have been embedded in the glass floor towards the entrance, giving the space a museum-like quality. The original gantry, used to move slabs of ice, continues to be housed in the Ice Factory and be mobilized as part of art installations as well as used to innovatively partition the room. The suturing is imagined to heighten the fragile, almost tenuous relationship between the  ‘Found’ and the ‘Made’. It manifests the true nature of IF.BE is an exploration of the liminal space between speculation (IF) and reality (BE). IF.BE is a “seed” for urban regeneration in a largely commercial heritage precinct.

    The current attitude towards development in this precinct favors the demolition of industrial spaces that do not fall within the Grade-I heritage umbrella. IF.BE is meant to be an example of holistic and sustainable development, and to serve as a reference for the present and future. It becomes an exercise in micro-urbanism, adaptive reuse, and a space for discourse in the public realm. Its message is material and notional. It serves as an example of sustainability through preservation. The suturing of spaces with different quantities of light, dimension, volume, and material around the Banyan tree forces one to engage with the space in unconventional ways unlike the “all white” gallery spaces or “black box” performance venues. Users and curators are encouraged to formulate their own conversations with the space and its evolving program.

    Designed by: Malik Architecture

    Project size: 10870 Sq.ft

    Year built: 2022

    Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra

    Consultants of the project:

    Manufacturers:  Mascon Const. & Interior, Mohit Interiors, TRG international

    Structure Engineering: Global Engg. Services

    Project Coordination: Madiha Qureshi

    Principle Architect: Kamal Malik & Arjun Malik

    Design Team: Sundeep Sarangi, Makarand Sathaye, Dhruvil Gandhi, Jignesh Vadhia, Hitesh Gwalani

    Photograph Courtesy:Bharath Ramamrutham

    Source: Archdaily

    Firm’s Website Link: Malik Architecture

    Firm’s Instagram Link: Malik Architecture

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