Industrial architecture: For efficiency and well-being

Ecogradia
Ecogradia
Industrial architecture: For efficiency and well-being
Loading
/

Industrial architecture: For efficiency and well-being

Sponsored by

Sponsored by

Ecogradia
Ecogradia
Industrial architecture: For efficiency and well-being
Loading
/
Apple PodcastsSpotify

Factories have always been designed for profitability. However, as the Covid pandemic highlighted, a focus on worker well-being is equally important. Can industrial building typologies rise to the challenge?

In the third episode of the Holcim Awards 2023 limited webinar series, we speak with Chris Hellstern of The Miller Hull Partnership and Le Quang of lequang-architects. Their respective Holcim Award-winning projects — North America Silver winner Maritime Innovation Centre (Seattle, USA) and Asia Pacific Acknowledgement prize winner Post-Covid Factory (Đồng Nai, Vietnam) — each present a unique approach, tailored to context, that illustrates a new paradigm for industrial architecture.

We discover from these projects that the goals of worker health and productivity are not at odds. Well-designed, comfortable spaces can also reduce operational costs and improve production output. The building (and, by extension, the employer) is seen, over time, as a workplace of choice.

The Post-Covid Factory is a proposal for the post-agricultural area of Đồng Nai, now one of the largest industrial zones in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
© lequang-architects

The Post-Covid Factory, says Le Quang, envisions a new master plan for Đồng Nai. It is a prototype that can tackle the poor working conditions in Vietnam’s industrial zones. It reimagines the region as an ecological industrial hub with better indoor and outdoor work environments.

The project envisions a new logistical system that would allow for a decrease in building footprint and more space for green pockets.
© lequang-architects

The building is compact and low cost in part because it relies on passive design strategies, deemed better for health. Community farms are a nod to the site’s agricultural past and a means to bolster interaction and engagement.

The Maritime Innovation Centre is a 110-year-old building located at the Fisherman’s Terminal in the Port of Seattle.
© The Miller Hull Partnership

The Maritime Innovation Centre (MInC), says Chris Hellstern, will rehabilitate and renovate the oldest building at the Port of Seattle. It will become an incubator for the region’s maritime research and support the development of startups targeting a blue-tech economy.

The new design for the building retains much of the existing timber structure to optimise the carbon equation.
© The Miller Hull Partnership

The MInC is pursuing the Living Building Challenge (LBC), one of the world’s most stringent green building rating systems. Thus, regeneration and net-positive operations are key to its design. For example, the centre’s photovoltaic system is projected to generate 105% of its annual electricity needs.

Interestingly, both Quang and Chris reveal that their projects’ strong emphasis on fostering community and occupant well-being is enabled by their respective clients. They understand that employee welfare is key to retaining older workers and attracting younger ones.

At the MInc, occupants will be provided with ample natural light and operable windows in every space.
© The Miller Hull Partnership

Passive design and indoor comfort are key considerations in both projects.

For instance, Chris explains that the design for the MInC prioritises natural daylight and ventilation. Clear polycarbonate facades, windows, and skylights will be built into the existing structure while the original massing is maintained. The use of timber will contribute to a pleasant working environment for the occupants.

The design of the Post-Covid Factory harnesses the rain, wind, and sun to maximise building performance and improve working conditions.
© lequang-architects

The Post-Covid Factory’s passive strategies respond to the tropical conditions of intense sunlight and heavy rains. Internal courtyards with community food gardens are proposed to maximise natural light and ventilation for interior spaces. Sloping roofs channel stormwater to underground tanks as well as the courtyard gardens for groundwater recharge.

The community gardens in the Post-Covid Factory not only act as cooling spaces, but also keep the region’s farming tradition alive.
© lequang-architects

For Quang, the project’s success would lie in the “happiness” of the workers, who originally come from farming backgrounds. By providing them with agricultural community gardens, the design allows them to grow their own food, which could be regarded as an act of “self-care”.

The MInc has been designed to be as efficient as a flower. It will operate using the energy that falls on it and gather enough water to meet the site’s carrying capacity.
© The Miller Hull Partnership

Chris and his team will measure the MInC’s success based on its performance during the first year of occupancy, as required by the LBC. This will include day-to-day readings of energy and water performance. Qualitative data will also be gathered from the occupants about their experience of the building based on multiple parameters.

When it comes to impact at a broader level, Chris points out that the MInC has already encouraged the Port of Seattle to have more buildings take on the LBC. On the other hand, Quang divulges the limited recognition of architects and architecture in Vietnam, but hopes to build on the Post-Covid Factory’s vision in newer projects.

This limited webinar series is created in collaboration with:

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction

The Holcim Foundation helps drive systemic change towards a more sustainable built environment. It was founded in 2003 to define and promote the key principles of sustainability for the construction sector and is committed to accelerating the sector’s transformation so that people and the planet can thrive.

The Foundation has investigated various aspects of sustainable construction via a series of roundtables and conferences with international experts. It has also recognised excellent contributions to this field with the Holcim Awards which are considered the world’s most significant competition for sustainable design.

Committed to a holistic approach that recognises the equal importance and interdependence of four key goals, the Foundation combines the collective knowledge, ideas, and solutions of our global community of experts with our recognised platform of international competitions to democratise thought leadership for the entire sector.

The Holcim Foundation is proud to team up with Ecogradia and the host of its podcast, Nirmal Kishnani, with whom we share a common goal: contribute to a just, equitable and sustainable future via sustainable construction and design.

W  |  Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  LinkedIn  |  YouTube  |  Instagram

This limited webinar series is created in collaboration with:

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction

The Holcim Foundation helps drive systemic change towards a more sustainable built environment. It was founded in 2003 to define and promote the key principles of sustainability for the construction sector and is committed to accelerating the sector’s transformation so that people and the planet can thrive.

The Foundation has investigated various aspects of sustainable construction via a series of roundtables and conferences with international experts. It has also recognised excellent contributions to this field with the Holcim Awards which are considered the world’s most significant competition for sustainable design.

Committed to a holistic approach that recognises the equal importance and interdependence of four key goals, the Foundation combines the collective knowledge, ideas, and solutions of our global community of experts with our recognised platform of international competitions to democratise thought leadership for the entire sector.

The Holcim Foundation is proud to team up with Ecogradia and the host of its podcast, Nirmal Kishnani, with whom we share a common goal: contribute to a just, equitable and sustainable future via sustainable construction and design.

W  |  Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  LinkedIn  |  YouTube  |  Instagram

Host
Nirmal Kishnani

Producer
Maxime Flores

Editor-at-large
Narelle Yabuka

Senior communications executive
Sana Gupta

Art director
Alexander Melck | Phlogiston

Sound technician and editor
Kelvin Brown | Phlogiston

Video editors
Guellor Muguruka | Phlogiston
Madelein Myburgh | Phlogiston

You can follow us and share your views on

If you like this episode and want to hear more, head to one of these podcast directories

Apple PodcastsSpotify

or other listening apps where you follow podcasts. There, you can listen to other Ecogradia episodes and write a review.

Better still, subscribe to our podcast today. Every new episode will be automatically downloaded on your chosen device, ready to be enjoyed offline, anytime, anywhere. And by doing so, you’ll be helping us produce even more great content.

Imagine a world where your carpet reduces atmospheric carbon. In this episode, discover how Interface is making this a reality. Liz Minné discusses a range of innovative strategies that redefine our expectations of flooring.
Follow us on

Recent podcast episodes

Recent blog posts

Recommended episodes from the podcast

Factories have always been designed for profitability. However, as the Covid pandemic highlighted, a focus on worker well-being is equally important. Can industrial building typologies rise to the challenge?
Imagine a world where your carpet reduces atmospheric carbon. In this episode, discover how Interface is making this a reality. Liz Minné discusses a range of innovative strategies that redefine our expectations of flooring.

Leave a comment

Before posting, please review our comment policy here.

0 0 votes
Rate this post
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments