‘India needs green, prefab buildings’

Elias George seeks Nilgris model in ecologically-fragile areas

November 26, 2018 01:20 am | Updated 01:20 am IST - KOCHI

Kochi, Kerala, 24/10/2018 : Chritopher Charles Benninger, architect and planner Photo: Special arrangement

Kochi, Kerala, 24/10/2018 : Chritopher Charles Benninger, architect and planner Photo: Special arrangement

Prefab model of construction is the future of real estate industry in India, famed American architect Christopher Charles Benninger has said. It ensures better quality, takes lesser time and is cost-effective. It is also eco-friendly and sustainable as it generate less amount of waste compared to traditional construction.

The architect said the head office of Kochi Refineries Limited (KRL), which he designed, was one of the most energy-efficient in India. Rows and rows of aluminium louvres effectively prevent the sun from hitting its glass walls. Aluminium is a quick conductor and dissipator of heat. The louvres considerably lessen the reliance on air conditioning. They also reflect sunlight on to the ceiling, lessening the need for lights in the building, Pune-based Mr. Benninger said while addressing the State meet of CREDAI here on Saturday.

The situation would be different for concrete or cement walls since the heat absorbed during daytime is radiated all night long. But he is against the widely-prevalent practice of using aluminium composite panels (ACP) to cover the exterior of buildings. It is a cheap way to hide the exterior of buildings. Moreover, its steel frames rust and the panels might fall.

Having been a staunch opponent of high-rise buildings till recently, he is an avid votary of them now. The prohibitive cost of land in Indian cities is one reason. Moreover, such buildings can be effectively confined to 10% of the total space available, leaving the rest as open space, where trees and shrubs can be planted.

Nilgris model

Former managing director of Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) Elias George called for micro-area planning like in Europe, so that construction and other development activities caused least harm to the environment. He also advocated the Nilgris model, where plastics are denied entry into ecologically-fragile areas and there are curbs on construction in slopes.

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