Area: 10,000 sqft
Lead Architects: Ar. Sonali Rastogi, Ar. Aarushi Juneja
Contractor: Abdul Constructions
Landscape Architects: Morphogenesis
Structure Engineer: Suneet Prasad
Completion Year: 2019
Photographs: Noughts & Crosses LLP
Forest Essentials is a modern skincare company that focuses on reviving the ancient science of Ayurveda and infusing it with contemporary aesthetics. Its philosophy presented the design team with an opportunity to adapt vernacular construction techniques to create a contemporary production facility located in the Himalayan foothills along the banks of the river Ganges in Rishikesh.
The design approach and development of the facility was highly specific to the site’s topography, climate, and immediate context. Furthermore, the location of the site and the limited availability of resources determined the budgetary and building constraints for the project.
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. Functions that require a cooler environment (herb grinding, packaging, and storage) are located on the upper floor, while the preparatory functions with high internal heat gain are located on the lower floor.
The Lodsi Community Project addresses socio-cultural and economic sustainability. It is an example of decentralised development in the post-pandemic world. This project stayed functional through most of the pandemic, and we believe this is exemplar for future growth across India.
Ar. Sonali Rastogi
The North-South oriented butterfly roof form allows large openable windows for the ingress of North-East and South-East winds for ventilation, with 80% naturally day-lit spaces and unobstructed views of the valley. The high-volume of space with operable clerestory windows enforces Bernoulli’s principle and moderates indoor temperatures. A central light-well forms a multi-purpose communal space. This also doubles up as mother and child wellness camps and for students’ post-school.
Passive design strategies and indigenous construction techniques resulted in a strong architectural expression that contextually blends in and builds community pride. Façade shading, window-to-wall ratio, and building materials were optimised to ensure a high-thermal mass façade, resulting in an energy-efficient building envelope with an EPI of 38kWh/m2/year. A solar roof generating 55kWp offsets the facility’s requirements and creates a surplus to supply back to the grid, thereby rendering the design ‘Energy+’.
A site-specific rainwater collection, storage tank, and an effluent treatment plant, offset the water requirements. Waste materials at the site have been repurposed and used, for example, reclaimed wooden rafters as light fixtures, waste purlin sections as tube light holders, stone chisels as door handles, re-bar as wash basin pedestals, etc. All organic by-products have been reused or composted. The planning incorporated the existing ‘gaushala’ (cow shed) to produce milk-based products.
About 65 villagers helped build the building, thus supporting 45% of the village households directly and the entire village indirectly. Use of vernacular materials, techniques, and village labour forms the ethos of the facility, making it ‘a project for the locals, built by the locals, and for the employment of the locals.’