- Structure Engineers:Mr. Suneet Prasad
- Contractor:Abdul Constructions
- Landscape Architects:Morphogenesis
Text description provided by the architects. The Lodsi community project for Forest Essentials is nestled in the Himalayan foothills, along the banks of the river Ganges, in Rishikesh, India. The design brief stipulated by the Client outlined the construction of a manufacturing facility for a modern skincare company that focuses on reviving the ancient science of Ayurveda. The brand’s philosophy of infusing ancient wisdom with contemporary aesthetics presented Morphogenesis with an opportunity to adapt vernacular construction techniques to create a contemporary production facility.
Our approach to the design and development of the facility was highly specific to the site's topography, climate, and immediate context. It has been designed in a manner that does not exceed the footprint of the previously existing structure. Furthermore, the location of the site and the limited availability of resources determined the budgetary and building constraints for the project. Therefore, the firm set out to achieve a net-zero and energy-efficient building through an integrated design approach resulting in a free-running and off-grid production unit.
The built form draws inspiration from the traditional Garwahli ‘kholi’ (house). A rectilinear volume-oriented along the East-West axis has been planned with a central entry that divides the facility into two parts. The functions that require a cooler environment (herb grinding, packaging, and storage) are located on the ground floor, whereas the preparatory functions with high internal heat gain are located on the upper floor.
The North-South oriented butterfly roof form, reminiscent of the traditional roof not only provides a modern aesthetic but also permits the use of large openable windows that take advantage of the prevailing Northeast and Southeast winds for ventilation further providing 80% naturally daylit spaces. The high volume of space with operable clerestory windows enforces Bernoulli’s principle and helps moderate the indoor temperatures. A central light well eliminates corridors forming a well-lit communal space for the workforce.
Various learnings were derived from the indigenous construction techniques and incorporated into the design. The passive design strategies give a strong architectural expression to the building and create spaces that generate symbiotic relationships. Façade shading, WWR (window-to-wall ratio), and building materials were analysed and optimised to provide a high thermal mass façade resulting in an energy-efficient building envelope with an EPI (energy performance index) of 35kWh/m2/year. Further, a solar roof generating 50kWp not only offsets the facility’s requirements but generates surplus to supply back to the state grid thus proving to be ‘Energy+’.
The use of renewable sources of energy aid in economising investment and offsetting the energy and water requirements of the facility. A site-specific rainwater tank has been optimised and planned to suffice the water requirements of the facility. All leftover and waste materials on the site have been repurposed to be used throughout the facility e.g., reclaimed wooden rafter as light fixtures, waste purlin sections as tube light holders, stone chisels as door handles, re-bars connected to form a washbasin pedestal, etc. This results in a facility that is entirely net-zero on energy, water, and waste.
The existing ‘gaushala’ (for animal husbandry and production of milk-based products) was incorporated in the planning and augmented with a community gathering space. This project employs 65workers, which directly or indirectly supports 75% of the village households. The provision of large aangans (gathering space) promotes the culture of the region which is that of a close-knit community. The use of local materials, techniques, and labor form the ethos of the facility, making it a project for the locals, built by the bocals, and for the employment of the locals. This holistic interdisciplinary approach aims to set a new benchmark for a decentralised community with a global footprint.