The Development Alternatives headquarters in Delhi stands out amid a sea of glass and chrome.

They didn’t want a Charles Correa building or a BV Doshi design, they wanted a DA building. Development Alternatives (DA), founded by physicist-environmentalist Ashok Khosla in 1983, was conscious of making a statement with its world headquarters in Delhi. The rectangular plot of land, at the edge of Sanjay Van in Qutub Institutional Area, has seen experiments in construction that honour its vision of promoting environmentally appropriate technology and social relevance.

When their first building was being designed in 1995, many young architects had their hands on deck. Nearly 15 years later, as the organisation grew, the need for a larger space meant a search for an architect, who was sensitive to their requirements. That’s how DA approached architect Ashok B Lall. “He held meetings with the entire staff to understand what we wanted in the building. From experiencing nature to having 100 per cent rainwater harvesting systems, we wanted an office that would be comfortable and welcoming,” says Zeenat Niazi, vice-president, DA.