PROVIDING A natural and sustainable living for the well-being of families is the goal of Forestias, a Bt90-billion project designed by Magnolia Quality Development Corporation, Associate Professor Dr Singh Intrachooto, chief adviser of its Research and Innovation for Sustainability Centre (RISC), told the The Nation.
The 300-rai project on Bang Na-Trat Road was unveiled to the market early this year and construction is now underway with completion scheduled for 2022.
The project will have 40 per cent forest cover while all residential buildings, shops, offices, healthcare centre, innovation hub, forest pavilion, and community learning area will feature green innovations and technology developed by RISC and its research partners, Singh said.
“It is unique in Thailand to commit to the use of plastic waste in real estate developments with the first use of more than 160 tonnes of upcycle plastic waste from the sea to build 5 kilometres of footpaths, road curbs and landscape elements. The goal of this project is to be a prototype for green architecture and urbanism in the country,” Singh said.
RISC shares its innovative, green technology in the development of the pilot project.
“We collaborated with the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health to ensure a sustainable environment of health and well-being for the Forestias project,” Singh said.
“An RISC team observed and studied the ecosystem in and around the site, identifying more than 38 types of trees/plants and 123 animal species in a natural, eco-balanced setting. The project’s forest areas come in four levels – Deep Forest, Resident Forest, Forest Centre, and Forest Pavilion – all designed to facilitate the public to experience nature,” he added.
To avoid emission of environmentally harmful hydrofluorocarbon from air-conditioners, a water cooling system will run through all buildings on the site. It is also a cost-saving measure.
“The system will maintain the temperatures inside the buildings. It does not produce pollutants, thus minimising the green house effect,” he said.
The project also strives for a sense of warmth between all members of a family. For example, there will be an area where grandparents can play with their grandchildren and familiarise themselves with new technology, while the new generation can learn about the past.
“All construction materials meet slippery standards for the safety of the elderly,” he said.
Outings of natural exploration and camping trips will be organised to broaden the activities of families and their friends. There are areas specially designed for various kinds of outdoor adventures, he said.
The project also aims to achieve a harmonious coexistence between nature and innovative technology to ensure their mutual sustainability with the use of clean energy, renewables and pollution-free materials.
The convenience of new technologies has led to changes in lifestyle with many of the younger generation opting to stay with their families for a sense of closeness. Through research and development, architects will be able to design world-standard buildings that would improve the quality of living, he said.
Given its green and innovative approach, the project will apply for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and WELL standard from the US Green Building Council, a certification for well-being standard from the International Well Building Institute from USA, as well as a rating on Energy and Environmental Sustainability or TREES by the Thai Green Building Institute.
Forestias is a collaboration between MQDC and its global partners, including Foster and Partners, on architectural master plan consultancy; EEC Engineering Network on building system development based on MQDC’s concepts; Atelier Ten on sustainability systems; ITEC Entertainment on experience and leisure; Six Senses on hospitality and residential management, and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health on healthy living and well-being as well as MIT Energy Initiative on future materials.
MQDC’s chief executive Visit Malaisirirat said the world is dealing with a deteriorating natural ecosystem, broken families and an ageing society, leading to feelings of isolation and depression. He said MQDC aims to develop real estate projects that offer sustainable, happy living through eco-friendly design, modern innovation and technology.
Singh, who is also head of Kasetsart University’s Creative Centre for Eco-design, said that the trend in designing commercial and residential buildings has now shifted from minimising construction costs to generate high value to investing in something friendlier for the environment and creating well-being for the residents.
“This heralds a new era for property developers and architects,” he concluded.
Forestias is a first in the property sector, highlighting the benefits in the development of a green, mixed-use project that can also generate incomes.
“We are looking for more ways to maintain well-being and sustainability while reducing operation and maintenance costs,” Singh said.