Factory in the Forest

Text description provided by the architects. Architectural competition winning entry for an electronics manufacturing plant. This site is conceived as a forest that penetrates, surrounds & steps over the building creating maximum contact with nature – green, breeze, scent, sound, touch. A canopy supported by a ‘forest’ of columns creates unity to office & courtyard while giving protection from the tropical sun. Office levels give access to roof gardens and staff are encouraged out for breaks, meetings or just contemplation.

© Lin Ho Photography
© Lin Ho Photography

© Lin Ho Photography

© Lin Ho Photography

A green courtyard separates the office & factory with views and access from both. A bridge over the courtyard links the office & production & this circulation route becomes a space for meetings, breaks & lectures. The factory has views to landscape & the sky condition through full height & clerestory glazing with glazing protected from the sun by free-standing off-form concrete fins and roof louvers. Rainwater cascades from roof spouts – heightening awareness to tropical storms, to storage tanks for landscape irrigation.

© Lin Ho Photography
© Lin Ho Photography

The plant receives natural diffused light across the entire factory floor reducing dependency on artificial lighting that, combined with chilled water floor slab cooling & cutting-edge air-conditioning technology reduces energy consumption to half that of a conventional plant of similar size.

© Lin Ho Photography
© Lin Ho Photography

© Lin Ho Photography

© Lin Ho Photography

Structure & materials are expressed; off-form reinforced concrete and steel structure, glazing and landscape. With this small palette of materials, the building explains to us what it is, what it is made of & how it is put together. The approach was to create a stimulating & meaningful working environment for all employees – the forest to be the face of the building & company. Forests, critical for both macro & micro-climates are also vital for our psychological well-being.

© Lin Ho Photography
© Lin Ho Photography

Sustainability – From project onset, the client wanted an energy efficient and climatically responsive building. The cardinal sustainable design principles were energy efficiency, water efficiency, daylighting and biophilia – the fundamental human need for connection to Nature.

© Lin Ho Photography
© Lin Ho Photography

© Lin Ho Photography

© Lin Ho Photography

The building is designed to shield against the hot & glaring tropical sun, while allowing diffused natural daylight to filter into the building. The office & courtyard are shaded by a louver canopy designed to provide effective solar protection during the hottest part of the day.

© Lin Ho Photography

© Lin Ho Photography

The factory skylight design was optimized to achieve an evenly day-lit work environment. The simulations and daylight measurements in operation show that the factory floor achieves an evenly day-lit work environment without glare throughout the year. Dimmable daylight responsive LED lighting and individual task lighting ensures that the required light levels are always obtained.

© Lin Ho Photography
© Lin Ho Photography

© Lin Ho Photography

© Lin Ho Photography

An innovative radiant floor cooling system works with embedded PEX pipes in the concrete slabs throughout the factory & office. By cooling down the slabs to about 21°C, this structural element of the building doubles up as part of the cooling system. The higher chilled water temperature and the water-borne cooling transport makes the radiant floor slab cooling twice as energy efficient as conventional air-conditioning.

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Green Building Africa promotes the need for net carbon zero buildings and cities in Africa. We are fiercely independent and encourage outlying thinkers to contribute to the #netcarbonzero movement. Climate change is upon us and now is the time to react in a more diverse and broader approach to sustainability in the built environment. We challenge architects, property developers, urban planners, renewable energy professionals and green building specialists. We also challenge the funding houses and regulators and the role they play in facilitating investment into green projects. Lastly, we explore and investigate new technology and real-time data to speed up the journey in realising a net carbon zero environment for our children.

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