Frank Lloyd Wright-Inspired Condo Project in India to Get Highest Green Rating

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorPune, INDIA–In a country where green building is still in the early stages of development, Gustad Irani and his partner, Yumi Doi, both senior fellows at the at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Ariz. and owners of the company, Organic Design Workshop, have just finished creating the first eco-friendly luxury condominium and town home project there. Palash 2.0 is located in Pune, a city in the western region of India where many IT companies are headquartered.When complete in 2009, the eight-acre, seven-building project will include a 22-story condo tower, town homes and a 100,000 sq. ft. school. The project will have 80 percent green cover, will recycle water and conserve energy, and is expected to get five stars, the highest rating for eco-friendly construction awarded by India’s ministry of science and technology. Architects Irani and Doi brought some of the Frank Lloyd Wright’s principles to the structure of the buildings in the Palash 2.0 development. Wright was a promoter of “organic architecture.” Irani, who is of Indian descent, was looking for opportunities to work in India’s booming construction market, when he was tapped for this project. While he and Doi have worked on projects in Japan and Thailand, this is their first assignment in India.Palash 2.0 is expected to utilize water-saving techniques including water purification and rainwater harvesting systems that could reuse water. The project features a fully automatic garbage-handling and disposal system, a bio-gas generation plant for recycling common waste, thermally responsive exteriors for lower cooling requirements and low-energy devices like V3F lifts. “If the builder implements all these factors, this building would be the equivalent of a LEED-certified building in the United States,” Irani tells MHN.The biggest challenge designing in India, says Irani, was to design a floor plan, which allowed for cross ventilation and natural daylight to all the units without adding to the construction cost. “Hence we stayed away from using large glazed curtain walls, which we didn’t feel were appropriate for a warm climate,” he says.When Irani and Doi were hired, the developer already had a master plan which had to be completely changed. “We designed these homes in an L shape, which is completely different from the way homes are traditionally built in India. Due to the shape, each unit gets natural, but indirect sunlight and each unit overlooks its own private garden,” he says.Though Palash 2.0 is priced 25 to 28 percent higher than the market rate of $65 per sq. ft., nearly 40 percent of the units have already been booked. “A lot of the buyers are in their 50s and were in search for homes with a unique design.”