Factory in The Earth

Factory in The Earth

Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects & associates
Johor, Johor Bahru, Malaysia | View Map
Project Year
Kaori Ichikawa

Factory in The Earth

Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects & associates as Architects

This project is an extension of the existing factory, reclaiming ground adjacent to the jungle in Johor, Malaysia. The factories in the 19th century gave priority to rationality and productivity, so we wanted to transcend the factory typology by incorporating elements that would make the Islamic workers proud of the new working environment they would be facing. Using the power of nature like rain water, sunlight, the wind, geothermal heat and vegetation, we wanted to minimize the production of harmful low carbon expelled to the environment making of the building a sustainable factory.


The plan intends to create a large green roof continuous with the ground extending the earth surface covering the lower functions and spaces.


The roof soil works improving greatly the efficiency of the factory space isolation. The space below is structurally arranged by a forest of hexagonal shaped pillars with a star shaped top derived from the arabesque patterns from Islamic culture, a reference to the surrounding jungle. Rain water that pours down the rooftop is pulled into and underground water storage tank through the pipes embedded in the pillars being used cyclically for plants watering. When flowing into the pond and the wind blows, the rain water that pours down over the rooftop slope, brings a cold breeze to the transitorily space between exterior and interior under the roof.


To reduce artificial light as much as possible, the factory is designed to reflect the light that comes from above. Guided by computer simulations, we could predict the amount of skylight reflected and diffused by a reflection panel that shares its shape with the arabesque patterns. A multistory building houses the offices, this building aligned with the east-west axis allows for a minimized effect of a solar radiation projected on its outer wall surface.


The slab along the perimeter of the high-rise building is a slope that connects with the ground level a continuous walking path for the workers to practice exercise and improve their health. The façade is provided with a system of wired with vines, these vines shield from solar radiation by sharping a vertical green wall, this building characteristic. Natural ventilation is carried through the multistory building to the lower spaces thankfully to its high creating a current of air. Combining nature into itself and blending with its surroundings it’s the type of factory that can connect with its region making use of rich environment.


Environmental approach
In addition to the respectful approach to the site and existing flora and fauna, the building integrates with the surrounding environment by effectively utilizing natural elements such as wind and geothermal energy, sunlight, rain water as well as vegetation. The green-roof works as an insulation layer between inside and the hot Malaysian weather, while also collecting rainwater. Natural ventilation is carried through the main tower to the lower spaces by temperature and pressure gradients, allowing a continuous airflow that improves the interior thermal conditions.


Vertical Ecotone
Functionally, the building is organized in two main volumes: a plain clear space with an open layout that contains the production area, and an elliptically shaped tower for the administrative and management departments. The tower long axis is directed towards east-west to minimize the influence of solar radiation on the outer wall surface, while a system of wires and vines forms a natural shield. Different species populate this vertical garden - a vertical ecotone ascending through the tower.


As the staff comprises a considerable number of migrant workers from Islamic faith, the design aims to honour their cultural background. The production area is structurally arranged as a forest of hexagonal pillars with star shaped capitals, resembling the arabesque patterns from Islamic culture, while the layout mimics the surrounding jungle.


Rainwater collected from the green roof is channelled into an underground water storage tank through pipes embedded in the pillars, used for plant watering. Blowing winds, and water flowing into the pond, together bring a cool breeze to the transitional space between the exterior and the interior.


Reflection Panels
To reduce artificial lighting as much as possible, the factory is designed to maximize the use of natural light, while shielding the spaces from direct solar radiation. Guided by computer simulations, the required amount of reflected and diffused daylight was calculated and is controlled by reflection panels that again feature arabesque patterns.

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