Hero MotoCorp’s Garden Factory in India is a collaborative project headed by William McDonough and Partners. This manufacturing plant for motorbikes is something a little different, marrying large-scale manufacturing and also food and plant growth.
The factory floor has large Biowalls which use vegetation to supply abundant oxygen and filter out contaminants from the air. They are irrigated using condensate from the air conditioning system.
The roof of the factory is covered in greenhouses and photovoltaic panels, providing fresh food to canteen (and eventually the surrounding community), while also generating around 5.5MW of electricity for the air conditioning system. The supports for the structure of the building are also above the ceiling, meaning that the interior has more space for manufacture and is easier to keep cool.
The entire building is designed around the Cradle to Cradle design philosophy; human comfort is catered for, while not neglecting sustainable design in any way. Hero returns 1.8x the water extracted from the aquifer for manufacturing, especially important in the hot, humid region of India the factory is located in.
This building embodies great design. It is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable and is less oppressive for the factory workers than most manufacturing facilities. A bright, enjoyable work environment surrounded by vegetation, where the staff can observe the changes in light throughout the day, is proven to increase productivity and morale. In the future, I believe great design cannot exist while neglecting basic sustainable principles, whether referring to people involved in the design, the environment around it, or even the planet as a whole.