22 October 2019

Table of Contents for Greenitiatives





Interaction-Stanley George, MD & Founder, Good Earth Eco Futures

Our approach towards sustainable development has been practical, holistic and intuitive

 

Having evolved from an NGO, to a consultancy firm, to a design built group, and today a development group GOOD EARTH ECO FUTURES has completed 28 eventful years in architectural, engineering, designing, construction and environmental sustainablity. STANLEY GEORGE, MANAGING DIRECTOR and FOUNDER responded to queries from PANJAMI ANAND about the company’s sustainable and holistic solutions.

 

Please offer us an understanding of Good Earth’s operational philosophy?

Good Earth strives to bring together architecture, engineering, construction and environmental sustainability across all its projects and endeavors to be an example of positive change in the quality of built environment along with a holistic approach in planning and execution.

 

Briefly tell us of the progress made by your firm in sustainability space since you began as a consultancy in 1995?

We began as a group of consulting architects in 1990 and formed our design built firm GOOD EARTH in 1993 and undertook the challenges of alternate architecture and development space. Initially we did around 25 houses a year but currently we build 200 houses in a year through various projects as a developer in our three centers Bengaluru, Kochi and Calicut.

 

What are the areas of construction activity serviced by your firm? Also tell us of the areas of consultancy expertise offered by you and the value you have as an organization brought to the built environment?

Our area of construction is the residential segment where we build both villas and apartments. As an organization that conceptualizes, designs and implements our projects, our strength lies in the attention paid to details and our deep understanding of environment friendly architecture and engineering. Sustainable architecture and engineering is difficult without skilled construction and we have been able to train our craftsmen to be skilled. We believe skilled craftsmanship is an integral component of any good design. Recently we have been building one of the largest projects in the country using stabilized mud blocks. It is also vital to be hands on with projects and it requires a large number of passionate architects, engineers and construction managers to change the building culture in India. We have been able to inspire a lot of youngsters with our body of work over a quarter century.

 

Please dilate on how different Good Earth is from similar sounding organizations and the value addition you offer to projects you implement for your clients?  

There aren’t many organizations in the country capable of design, engineering and construction with a deep understanding of culture and ecology, as a single entity. It is important to innovate, and think beyond technology and engineering. Our holistic approach requires the entire team to look at life and environment with more respect and care. Engineering education has become too narrow and insensitive to environment and people.

 

Could you talk about your project portfolio: landmark projects, their geographies, key clients, and outstanding features of the assignment?  

Our landmark project is Good Earth Malhar, situated in the outskirts of Bangalore near Kengeri. This residential eco village is spread across 40 acres in different phases. Each phase or community is different in concept and architecture. The entire project is built with stabilized mud blocks manufactured at the project site with hand press machines. The diversity of architecture, craft, biodiversity make “Malhar” a celebration of architecture and biodiversity with sound engineering and sustainable water management.

 

Could you share with us through case studies of best practices you have embedded in projects — examples of construction design elements which combine natural earth resources and renewable energy and make use of materials profitably?  

We currently build with stabilized mud blocks .It is important to use other materials like stone and wood appropriately to build pleasing architecture. We developed a composite roof which is economical and also brings down the temperature inside by 4 to 5 degrees through case studies. It requires good quality control in the production of mud blocks and optimum architecture and engineering design to take full advantage of the material.

 

How have your sustainable solutions been received by users? To what extent have you been able to break the traditional user fixation on technological/sustainable solutions being costly? 

Our solutions have been well received by users. Cost is an important component for any user. It requires the combined team work of architects, engineers and construction managers to control cost. Alternate technologies are costlier when the designers are not involved in execution. We are considered cost efficient for the quality of the projects we deliver.

 

Briefly talk about your contribution to community development?

Our passion has been to build communities and our design and construction influences people in our community. The entire business of designing and engineering has become too mechanical. It is important that while building we create more employment and take care of the people who build the project. Being honest to our profession, keeping the passion and romance alive in the work is a great service than any namesake CSR activity. Our every day work and social goals is one and the same.

 

What are the new opportunities you see for your organization in the fast changing construction landscape of India? What specific role do you see Good Earth playing in terms of contributing to new Smart City developments being planned?

We look forward to mentoring more youngsters and organizations with our experience. The first approach to any development is to have deeper understanding of its impact on environment and people. We do not have much of an idea about smart cities. We believe more decentralized, smaller projects are better for equitable distribution of wealth and nurturing talent. Strengthening the rural economy is very vital. Before building new cities, it is important to improve the existing ones. There is a huge opportunity in detailed environmental engineering, ecological landscaping in the current cities. We need to look at the shrinking public spaces and provide space for architects and artists for expression. Designed solution to handle waste water through a series of decentralized plants is the solution to handle waste water to recover our dying rivers and lakes. Unfortunately our policy makers are interested in big projects. A populous country like India needs decentralized solutions. Mega projects are required to address Power, transport and communication on a large scale.

 

Tell us about your ongoing projects and future initiatives – in terms of location, project requirement, scope of work, technology/services offered etc?

Our ongoing projects are Good Earth Malhar in Bangalore, Melange in Kochi, Barefoot in Calicut. We are considering building in small towns for more budget clients. In cities, land prices have grown to unsustainable levels and it is killing every opportunity for affordable housing, good architecture quality built environment.

 

What are your company’s plans and outlook for the future?

We have to mentor more talent and grow through them, with a decentralized business with core values of practice intact and it is a challenge. We need to set up organized training programs to mentor architects, engineers, construction managers and entrepreneurs.

 




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