Exploration Architecture


Zero Waste Textile Factory


Exploration Architecture has completed the design for a sustainable factory in India that aims to meet both the human and environmental challenges facing the country’s textile industry.

The innovative building will radically reduce energy and water usage in the design teams’ goal to create a zero waste factory as well as an inspiring environment in which to work.

The client is a pioneer of sustainable thinking and challenged the architects at Exploration to change the paradigm for factories in India: ‘The structure should be designed and engineered to use the least material possible and should provide a world-class environment for the 600 people who will work at the factory.’

Textiles is a water - and power - intensive industry, which makes the project all the more difficult because the client’s aim is to channel all waste into a circular or closed loop system, in order to get as close to zero waste as possible.

Exploration Architecture has a reputation for attracting clients that aim to go beyond standard approaches to environmental sustainability. Michael Pawlyn and his team were selected for this project because of their renowned expertise in biomimicry and designing for zero waste.

Director, Michael Pawlyn explains: ‘While conventional industrial systems tend to be simple, linear and wasteful - employing long term toxins - biological systems are generally complex, interconnected, have closed loop flows of resources that don’t cause long termdamage to the environment.’

Inspired by the work of Janine Benyus, the Exploration team use Biomimicry as a powerful tool with which to rethink the textile process and devise solutions that provide for long-term value creation.

 For the building itself the team took inspiration from examples of hierarchical structures in biology such as the Euplectella glass sponge. The result is a lightweight roof that integrates structure, photovoltaic energy harvesting and daylight provision.

 Michael Pawlyn commented, “We knew from our work on ecosystems models that it is possible to get to zero waste and we have enjoyed the challenge of pursuing that goal”

 As with many areas of commerce, the textile industry is faced with near term increases in energy and commodities costs as well as steadily increasing levels of environmental compliance. By creating a low energy operation that approaches zero waste they aim to meet the growing expectations from their supply chain and ensure long-term profitability.

 Project Associate Yaniv Peer explained that ‘There are a number of functional challenges that we are seeking to address in this project including minimising energy consumption, increasing resource efficiency, eliminating waste production through closed loop models of consumption and creating a great working environment with generous amounts of daylight and views out to nature. When completed this building will act as a shining example of how ecosystems thinking can radically reduce the textiles industry’s impact on the environment whilst improving the company’s bottom line.’


Project Team:

Project Architects: Exploration Architecture
Structural Engineers: Expedition Engineering
Water Engineers: Expedition Engineering
Environmental Engineers: Atelier Ten
Biomimicry Consultants: Biomimicry 3.8 and Professor Julian Vincent
Chemistry Consultants: ChemConsult