Morphogenesis and the Lodsi community project for Forest Essentials


Studio Noughts And Crosses ,

Lodsi, Uttarakhand, India,


riciclo, Refurbishment,

Morphogenesis, an Indian architecture and urban planning studio with offices in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and New Delhi, has created a „net zero“ emissions industrial complex for Forest Essentials. Located on the slopes of the Himalayas, the complex provides a model of sustainable development for rural communities making use of integrated passive and active design technologies.

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Morphogenesis and the Lodsi community project for Forest Essentials
The village of Lodsi is located in India’s Uttarakhand region, on the slopes of the Himalayas, on the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh. Here, Morphogenesis designed a production plant for Forest Essentials, a company that produces authentic traditional skincare products based on the ancient science of Ayurveda. True to the company’s philosophy and their own vocation, the architectural studio founded by Sonali and Manit Rastogi in 1996 on the basis of a vision of sustainable architecture for today’s India proposes a holistic project demonstrating respect for people and the landscape in which it stands.
The architects of Morphogenesis apply local building methods to create a contemporary production facility, creating job opportunities in harmony with the local traditions and environment, a source of great pride for the population. Here we shall look at the details of how the project responds sensitively to the local climate and context, using design strategies and renewable energy systems to create an independent building with a low environmental impact in terms of energy, water and waste.
The project began with an abandoned existing plant, adapting the local vernacular to create a contemporary production plant. The butterfly shape of the building’s roof takes advantage of local winds to provide ventilation and improve natural lighting inside the building. In the same way, the building materials and outer wrapper have been analysed and optimised to create a façade with a high thermal mass, achieving high energy efficiency with an EPI (energy performance index) of 35kWh/m2/year. Moreover, a solar installation on the building’s roof generates 50kWp, not only fulfilling the plant’s energy requirements but generating a surplus to feed into the state grid, qualifying the building as „Energy+“.
With a view to the circular economy, all leftover and waste materials on the site where the new Forest Essentials production plant is now located were reused. These include reclaimed wooden rafters used as light fixtures, scrap purlin sections as tube light holders, stone chisels as door handles, and re-bars connected to form a washbasin pedestal, to mention only a few examples of reclaimed elements.
The project incorporates an existing gaushala, a stable for cattle that was already in existence on the site for production of cheese and dairy products. The Morphogenesis project also maintains the large aangans, gathering spaces, to support the close-knit local community. As the architects say of their project: „The use of local materials, techniques, and labour form the ethos of the facility, making it a project for the locals, by the locals. This holistic interdisciplinary approach aims to set a new benchmark for a decentralised community with a global footprint.“
The farm and plant designed by Morphpgenesis in Lodsi are a beacon of Forest Essentials’ social and environmental commitment as a company that directly or indirectly provides work for 75% of the households in the village. It has created job opportunities for local women, supplied drinking water to nearby villages, and introduced initiatives supporting education: an example clearly illustrating the importance of an enlightened clientele that understands the difference that good architecture, sustainable in every way, can make.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: Morphogenesis
Location: Lodsi, Uttarakhand, India
Year: 2020
Images: Studio Noughts And Crosses 


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