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Monday, 8 April 2019


In India, a new hill resort and a bio-mimetic city named Lavasa has been constructed by HCC Group with the help of an architectural firm, HOK. Spread across 12,000 acres in a Western Ghats valley located outside Pune, the new city has been designed using Bio-mimetic technology. The idea was to restore 70% of the deforested land through detailed landscaping, reforestation and slope greening, reduce 30% of carbon emissions, 65% of potable water consumption, and 95% of waste sent to landfills. The site’s original ecosystem was a moist deciduous forest, which was converted into an arid landscape in recent times.

Working closely with biologists from Bio-mimicry 3.8, HOK has built a bio-mimetic city at Lavasa. The city’s rooftops are inspired by the morphology of the native banyan fig leaf, whose pointed spear shape at the end that hastens the water run-off and cleans its surface in the process. It has led to the development of tiled shingle rooftops that shed water in the same way. Since the Western Ghats region is prone to seasonal flooding from monsoons and a strategy based on ant nest has been adopted to channel water through the city. This efficient plan is inspired from the local harvester ants that divert water away from their nests through multi-path, low-grade channels. Further, water has been stored in networked building foundations, much like tree roots.

The basic concept of Lavasa master plan was based on the principles of new urbanism. It configured the land use  distribution in such a way that the concepts like “Walk to Work”, “Walk to School” and “Walk to Park”  becomes reality. The town centre is the hub of all work places, education, leisure and socio-cultural activities.  Care has been taken that maximum permanent residents stay within walking distance of their workplaces. In July  2009, Lavasa management took a decision to strengthen “Walk to Work” by building pedestrian walkways in  Dasve town in Lavasa.

The walkways were categorized into formal and informal walks keeping in mind the slopes, amount of people  and frequency of usage. Finally the well executed, safe and robust walkways were constructed and will provide  quick and safe access between workplaces and homes in Dasve.

Lavasa, India, a hill city prone to monsoons, droughts, and threats of erosion, has been modeled after the ecosystem of the dense forest around it. “The design team started to ask, ‘Well how come the local ecosystem can deal with this monsoon without losing all of it soil?’” says Rovalo, whose firm worked with the design company HOK to build a community there.

So they started to study the ecosystem, and considered how rainwater-storage systems could be designed to mimic trees that take in water during the rainy season and store it for later. They also looked at designs that would help slow down the speed of rainfall—much like what leaves do in a forest.

“One of the issues in the built environment is that when the site is cleared, you're removing a lot of that vertical structure, so the first surface that [rain] hits is at maximum velocity,” she says. “The ecosystem is structured with the shrub layer, the mid-level tree layer, the canopy layer, and all those layers slow down the rain drop so that, by the time it actually hits the soil, it's very soft and absorbed very quickly.”