FGLA 2020 Award: Forest Essentials Facility
The design brief outlined the construction of a facility for a skincare company that focuses on reviving the ancient science of Ayurveda. Taking the opportunity to marry a practice steeped in tradition with modern aesthetics, the architects adopted vernacular construction techniques to produce a contemporary project.
Their approach to the design and development of the facility was highly specific to the site topography, climate and the immediate context. The location of the site and the limited availability of resources determined the project’s budgetary and building constraints. The firm set out to create a net-zero building through an integrated design approach, resulting in a free-running and an off-grid facility.
Passive design strategies and vernacular construction techniques were implemented to achieve an energy efficient building envelope with an energy performance index (EPI) of 35kWh/m2/year. With a solar roof generating 50kWp, the facility not only proves to offset its own requirements, but it also generates surplus to supply back to the grid. Operable panels encourage natural cross ventilation through the building, along with the use of ceiling fans that further enhance the effect of physiological cooling. This expands user thermal comfort range by 5 degrees Celsius.
Overall, these approaches have helped create a conducive microclimate within the building: open-plan spaces with daylighting allow for flexibility in spatial functions. Resource optimisation also enabled the team to economise investment in renewable sources of energy that help in closing the loop by offsetting the energy and water requirements of the facility. All leftover and waste materials on-site were repurposed to be used throughout the facility. Stone excavated from the site was dressed locally and reused in the construction process.
Dr Nirmal Kishnani: As a self-professed prototype, this is noteworthy for a spectrum of achievements. It is a thoughtful adaption of an existing building. It integrates local materials in a pleasing way. The development is net-zero energy, which is no small feat in a cold climate. Lastly, the programme embraces the local community, providing a service to this rural area.
Prof Herbert Dreiseitl: Forest Essentials Facility presents its architectural profile in an honest, clear and transparent form. The jury was most impressed by the well-selected materials and craftsmanship. The architecture is simple and clear to understand, a perfect orientation with best conditions to do productive good work. This entry handles energy and resources well, making this institution a very liveable place.
Prof Chrisna du Plessis: This project is a true embodiment of Green leadership in its careful consideration of site and climate, use of local materials and traditions, multilayered community engagement, the net-zero approach to energy and water management, and a commitment to the wellbeing of not only the occupants, but also of the larger systems in which it is situated. It also is a true expression of the brand philosophy of the user-client, an Ayurvedic skincare company, which aims to harmonise “ancient wisdom with modern aesthetics”.
Project Name Forest Essentials Facility
Location Lodsi, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
Completion Date August 2019
Site Area 0.5 acres
Gross Floor Area 10,000 square feet
Client/Owner Mountain Valley Springs Pvt. Ltd.
Images/Photos Drawings: Morphogenesis Images: Morphogenesis; Mountain Valley Springs Pvt Ltd
Architecture Firm Morphogenesis
Principal Architects Sonali Rastogi; Manit Rastogi
Main Contractor Abdul Rehman
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer Stellar India
Civil & Structural Engineer Suneet Prasad
Environmental Consultant Morphogenesis