Ecology & Environment

Sembra Valley, Kodaikanal

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Sembra Valley is an eco-sensitive development in the rare folds of the true nature of Kodai Hills far away from human habitation. A place is created, submerged and surrounded by nature, where an ecological garden becomes the canvas and eco-sensitive architecture plays out as eco-lodges, eco-topos and eco-forums. An organic vegetable farm becomes part of the planned facility, which promises ultimate naturopathic experience.

 


Greenfield Office, Eastern Ghats

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This environment friendly project office of Greenfield Shelters is perched on the exotic location on the eastern ghats overlooking the enchanting valley view. Built with reused steel frames, silver oak wood, bamboo, stone, mud and thatch it is a structure built to capture the nature surrounding it.

A zero energy building which is off the grid, uses biogas based generator, wind power and solar power for all its requirements. The landscape incorporates big boulders of the site in its contours. The waterbody which penetrates the building and culminates in a vertical garden wall becomes the central feature. The Vertical garden itself is made of reused mineral water-bottles, stalked on metal frames and wrapped with geotextile. Organic vegetable garden, waterless toilets, mud-floor, bamboo floor, bamboo furniture and several other elements which exhibit strong commitment to ecological design principles.

The project shortlisted for IIA National Award for Excellence in Architecture, 2016.

Jury Comments: The Architect has made the design to be eco-sensitive in every aspect of the project.


Lotus Pond Wellness Centre, Kodai Hills

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This eco-sensitive wellness centre is designed as part of the Common Facilities for the upcoming Teakayen Estates eco-friendly community project in Kodaikanal. Idea Design developed the master plan for the luxury holiday project. The central part of the master plan is the Wellness Centre and Central Gardens. Every aspect of the design of wellness centre speaks of eco-sensitive and sustainable approach. Each of the eight wings of the lotus carries unique functional element of human wellness. Developed in the setting of one of the largest organic farms of peninsular India, organic Kitchen, yoga hall, meditation centre, naturopathic wellness, ayurvedic wellness and a wellness lecture hall etc become components of this centre.


Adyar Ecological Restoration Park, Chennai

Adyar wetland reserve and the Poonga Ecopark is an environmentally significant project proposed in the city of Chennai. Idea Design worked on this project as landscape architecture and urban design consultants with Mr. Joss Brooks, renowned ecological restoration specialist of Pitchandikulam Forest Consultants, Auroville. A combined fresh-water / salt-water ecosystem was to be revived to make it an ecologically rich and diverse system for migratory birds and estuarine ecosystems along with coastal vegetation being the significant link to tie them together.

Environmentally sensitive approach is given for the water and waste management. The sewage and waste water which flows from the city to this creek is treated using ecological techniques. Each aspect of the park demonstrates a strong commitment to the environment. An ecoforum is proposed where man can interact and interpret different ecosystems of the park. The park will also become a center for education and environmental awareness. Demonstration of working models of sustainable technologies for human habitation is another important feature of the park. Idea Design worked as part of the team who prepared the Ecological Restoration Master Plan. The Project was implemented by Pitchandikulam Forest Consulatnts and Idea Design provided detailed design services working together with ecologists from PFC.

Once a garbage and debris dumpsite, the park has recently recorded more than 100 species of birds, 56 species of butterflies, 25 species of reptiles and 30 different species of fish. The white-bellied sea eagle for the first time in these parts a month ago. Flamingos and painted stork have also returned here. This richness in biodiversity is in itself an indicator of the success of our restoration efforts.  A total of one-and-a-half lakh saplings of 200 indigenous species of plants have been planted in the restored area. Being a brackish water ecosystem, seven different varieties of mangroves were planted on the site, and attempts have been made to restore the estuarine wetland ecosystem.

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Nilgiri Biosphere Conservation Park, Anaikatty

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Nilgiri Biosphere Conservation Park is a project by the Coimbatore Zoological Park Society. Originally conceived as a Zoological Park at the beginning of the park in 1992, the project, over the period has transformed into a biosphere conservation project.

The park located in Anaikatty at the foothills of the Western Ghats is planned to exhibit various ecological zones of the Nilgiri Biosphere. First step of this was achieved through the identification of various biological zones such as evergreen, moist – deciduous, dry deciduous, thorn forest etc and planted in ecologically suitable location within the park. Interestingly, over the period of 15 years the ground water of this area has increased, and PH value of the soil, which was alkaline has come back close to neutral. Idea Design Team has been working on this project in association with renowned zoo and botanical garden designer, Ar. David Hancocks of Australia on conceptual stages of design and renowned zoo personality, Ms. Sally Walker of USA on technical aspects of setting up this nature park and later went on to prepare the detailed master plan document for the project which is being implemented in phases.


Prakriti Living Earth, Kumily

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Living earth is a nature living project in the Cardamom Hills of western ghats. An eco-sensitive approach to carve out living spaces in the canvas of tall and wild trees, spice plantations and breathtaking surroundings. Trails are made without disturbing a single tree, paved with stabilized mud-paths. Drainage swales are made of reused terracotta tiles. Cottages use dry-rubble masonry for retaining walls and foundations. Stabilized and rammed earth walls for super-structure and mountain grass for roofs. Rustic interiors, oxide floors and robust wooden furniture. Zero use of concrete is maintained throughout the project. Climate allows for a low energy footprint.


Kallar Jungle Resort, Western Ghats

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An eco friendly resort conceived in the western ghats with the naturally beautiful site full of tall trees and large rocks creating a forest atmosphere. The site has a long water frontage of about 400m of the Kallar River, which continuously makes the humming sound of flowing water where the river bed is full of rocks. The entire theme is worked out for an eco friendly site planning and development, which will make least disturbance to the land, trees, rocks, streams and so on. This land of 12 acres have many caves within it which almost connects from one end to the other end of the site. The architecture is to follow the traditional style of the tribal huts with a bamboo theme, with tree cottages becoming a specialty.


Wetland Park, Vembanad Estuary

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Wetland Park a conservation and research centre for Wetland eco-system, its flora and fauna is proposed in one of the islands in the Vembanad Estuary. The park itself will be a live demonstration centre for wetland ecology, mangroves, life cycles of its avian, terrestrial and aquatic fauna.

The project consists of an interpretation loop comprising of walkways, boardwalks, hanging bridges and a parasol ride. A wetlnd interpretation centre is proposed, where initial orientation will be given to the visitors. The eco-sensitive design of the interpretation centre follows the theme of traditional boat architecture. A wetland resech station is proposed in the site, which will become an on-site research station for the department of environmental studies at the local university.


Vembanad Life Region

Biley Menon & Chitra Biley worked together on conducting a research of the Vembanad Lake Region, in their early days of practice, inspired by the unique cultural and natural ecological values of the Ramsar Cite. The research culminated in defining an ecological life region, identifying the values of this cultural landscape which unify the region. A combined research on cultural and natural history produced brilliant discoveries, which were appreciated by many professors, ecologists and historians.

The study involved intense stages of data collection, which were available only in bits and pieces as the history of this part of the world were hardly written. Relatively unknown paths of combining the geological history and trade history almost created a new approach to studying the history of a region. Architectural uniqueness of this cultural landscape rippled in different parts of its traditional settlements in this region, where seven rivers flowing from the western ghats join this lake system before flushing out to the Arabian Sea.

An effort was done to depict the regional architecture image of the vembanad lake region. A detailed study of the regional traditional architecture was carried out in areas of Athirampuzha, Changanacherry, Pulinkunnu, Monkombu, and Chambakkualm. This database of Land planning to architectural details were translated into a cultural centre layout. This symbiotic expression of land and water evolved a vocabulary for design. The rich cultural landscape of the region became the overriding theme for the entire design for the resort. In spite of the project not becoming a reality, the study and documentation of this cultural landscape has inspired us throughout.


Ecological Restoration of Lakes

Idea Design had worked on a conceptual presentation for Ecological Restoration of Lakes, primarily prepared for Lakes of Bangalore, but applicable for Lake Systems of the sub-continent in general.

The presentation looks at restoration from a regional planning level to restoration of edges and mosaic of ecological-patches and finally to the lake’s urban interface and landscape solutions. A comprehensive landscape planning approach will only ensure the success and longevity of restoration. Each lake will have its own ecological and urban context, both of which have to be studies and carefully dealt with to come up with solutions which are sustainable.


Milgram Dairy Valley, Vandiperiyar

This is a unique project planned 600 acres of plantation hills in Vandiperiyar. The project while preserving its essential farming component (mostly tea, along with coffee, cardamom and other spices), converts the entire farm land to 200 virtual dairy farm units of 1Ha and 20 Cows each owned by investors.

The joint management will continue the plantation activity along with developing joint milking parlors for the cows owned by investors and the company, creating one of the largest cattle farms in India. Being located in Vandiperiyar on the Western Ghats (near Thekkady), this project attracts many tourists. Plantation and farm visits are the major tourism attractions in this otherwise stunning landscape. The task involved land planning for Dairy Farm Units and overall Landscape Planning.

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