With this extension of the JST Malaysia factory, Japanese architect Ryuichi Ashizawa has worked with nature, capturing sunlight, wind, rainwater and geothermal energy to build a living green factory that sits lightly on the earth. With elegant Islamic architectural elements and forward thinking engineering, the complex completely transcends the usual factory typology. Read on to find out how the unique structures work in harmony with nature to create an enviable work environment.
A large green roof covers the ground floor and rises up from the surrounding landscape to meet a central tower. Roof soil protects the building from the sun and stops the factory from becoming uncomfortably hot. Underneath, a forest of hexagonal topped pillars support the roof. Within these arabesque columns, pipes funnel water from the roof into an underground storage tank, used regularly to water plants. The motion of the water also pulls in air from outside which naturally cools and ventilates the spaces below.
Natural light penetrates the factory floor via ornamental reflection panels that mirror the angular design of the supporting pillars, reducing the need for unpleasant fluorescent lighting, saving energy, and supporting a calm work environment for JST’s high tech production facility.
The central tower contains an office space that encourages a zen-like atmosphere amongst co-workers and it’s east-west orientation minimizes the effect of solar radiation to keep office workers cool inside. When workers pop out for a break, they’re able to take a walk around the green roof via a path that links the tower and the roof to the surrounding landscape. Vines are trained to grow up wires, forming a green facade, shading the glass from the sun and letting beautiful dappled light through. The vines also hang over the helter-skelter like curving path that invites employees to take a stroll out into the surrounding forest or around the surrounding structures.