Exploration Architecture has completed the design for a sustainable factory in India that aims to meet both the human and environmental challenges facing the country’s textile industry
Exploration Architecture boast that their innovative factory will radically reduce energy and water usage in the design teams’ goal to create a zero waste factory as well as an inspiring environment in which to work, which is something that is in short supply in India at the moment.
The challenging client brief stated: “The structure should be designed and engineered to use the least material possible and should provide a world-class environment for the 600 people who will work at the factory.”
The textile industry is very water and power intensive, which made the architects’ job all the more difficult. The client’s aim is to channel all waste into circular or closed loop system, in order to get as close to zero waste as possible.
Exploration Architecture has a reputation for attracting clients that aim to go beyond standard approaches to environmental sustainability. Michael Pawlyn and his team were selected for this project because of their renowned expertise in biomimicry and designing for zero waste.
Michael Pawlyn explains: “While conventional industrial systems tend to be simple, linear and wasteful – employing long-term toxins – biological systems are generally complex, interconnected, have closed loop flows of resources that don’t cause long-term damage to the environment.”
For the building itself the team took inspiration from examples of hierarchical structures in biology, biomimicry, such as the Euplectella glass sponge. The result is a lightweight roof that integrates structure, photovoltaic energy harvesting and daylight provision.
Pawlyn commented: “ We knew from our work on ecosystems models that it is possible to get to zero waste and wehave enjoyed the challenge of pursuing that goal.”
The building was positioned in a strict north-south orientation so that roof-lights and glazing facing north would provide generous amounts of natural light throughout the working environment, while sloping solid surfaces are perfectly positioned for photovoltaic panels. The design team used profiled aluminium as the roofing material because of its lightweight, full recyclability, and because it maintains optimum water quality for the rainwater that is captured for use in the manufacturing processes.
Project Associate Yaniv Peer explained: “There are a number of functional challenges that we are seeking to address in this project including minimising energy consumption, increasing resource efficiency, eliminating waste production through closed loop models of consumption and creating a great working environment with generous amounts of daylight and views out to nature. When completed, this building will act as a shining example of how ecosystems thinking can radically reduce the textiles industry’s impact on the environment whilst improving the company’s bottom line.