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Category: Architecture

‘Human-Building Interaction’ an approach for Future Buildings

With the advancements in technology and the changing needs of the users, it has become pivotal to apprehend the way these transformations sway the construction industry i.e., incorporating intelligent automation tools and sensors in its framework, which further molds the future buildings.

Buildings of the Future
The buildings of the future can be defined as a product of automation to create a smart responsive building, based on Human Building Interaction (HBI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), catering to user needs, comfort, emotions, and activities

The user-centric approach to HBI focuses on building user experience i.e., how users can, want, and need to use the designed space, rather than being forced to change their behavior to adjust to space, supporting users’ activities, behavior, emotion thus, enhancing the user experience.

Buildings and Automation

Understanding Human Building Interaction
Human-Building Interaction (HBI) is a nascent field that can be explicated as the interface between users and the building’s social, physical, and spatial space in such a way that it promotes optimum comfort using the latest technology.

Human Building Interaction (HBI) is a combination of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Computing and
Architecture & Urban Design

The evolution of HBI can be understood by the transition from buildings that are functional, to buildings that have smart objects and finally, to smart buildings which integrate user needs, behavior, emotions, and activities, and perform/ respond accordingly, through the means of computing and human building interaction.  

For instance, to get a comfortable room temperature and to avoid excess heat into the rooms’ curtains are used, which with time and technology got automated i.e. converted to a smart object. In the present scenario, HBI regulates the indoor temperature using devices such as ‘LUTRON’ daylight sensor, ‘RollerTroll MCGS-1-RF’ sun sensor transmitter, etc., depending on the external factors providing a comfortable environment to the user based upon his body and needs, thus making it a smart, responsive and an energy-efficient building.

Components and Tools of HBI
The design approach of HBI, is a combination of knowledge and data from its three major components namely, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Computing and Architecture, and Urban Design, catering to the needs of the user and the designer.
Multiple tools i.e. automation, sensory devices, and software’s can be identified under these components, some examples of these have been listed below:

Components and Tools of HBI

HBI integrated Buildings
HBI utilizes the pre-stored data and actions through computing and generates a suitable environment for the user based on the user’s needs and response. The functioning, framework, and elements of HBI change depending upon the space and the user.

Integrating HBI in Buildings
Integrating HBI in Buildings

As a computing system depends on the user’s behavior, emotion, and activity, the HBI framework can utilize the data from the flowchart above, to present multiple iterations that are viable in the building. The more the data is computed, the greater is the energy efficiency of the building and the comfort level of the user due to the built milieu’s ‘smartness’.

The prime motto of HBI integrated buildings is to provide users maximum comfort. Also, helping the designers in better understanding i.e. capturing details of the client and their needs, easing the pre-study process, and, undertaking the users’ needs and behavior throughout the design process.

HBI thus bridges the gap between the user and the designer to create better designs as well as self-reliant and user-responsive Buildings.

Author: Vriti Sachdeva

Can an approach to Salutogenic Architecture be regenerative?

Architecture for health is more than just curing human illnesses. It is also about regenerative design, where buildings become net resource generators rather than resource consumers. The ongoing existence of healthy, thriving communities depends on it. For designers and architects, this requires a new focus on prioritizing health and finding solutions that solve more problems than creating new ones. A built-environment solution that rather focuses on ‘heal some of the harm already done than looking only at ‘do no harm, is a perfect metaphor for the healthcare sector.

We must move more aggressively and assertively beyond sustainable design to truly embrace the tenets of restorative and regenerative design thinking. Linked with the concept of Salutogenesis, which is like developing and upgrading your own internal healing and regenerative mechanism, Salutogenic architecture provides a measurable built performance based on certain intangible aspects, optimizes a sense of control for easy adaptation, and promotes overall wellbeing.

Medical sociologist Aaron Antonovsky in his book postulated that “a person’s capacity to cope with stress was determined in large part by the quality of their environment – in particular, whether it provided a ‘sense of coherence.” He de­fined this as having the attributes of comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness – principles that present an opportunity to rethink the premise for healthcare design. Hence, the best practice in medicine is now to harness patients’ own knowledge and their own regenerative power in the restoration of health.

@Dianna Snape

Biophilic architecture, that brings the outside into the spatial environment can also contribute in a large way. Design elements like atriums bringing in natural light, landscaped areas creating and maintaining a microclimate, dynamic waterbodies positively impact in pacing up the patient’s recovery time and stay at a hospital.

Mimicking natural patterns like curves, fractals, geometric shapes, and specific color schemes can provide inspiration for the design. For instance, windows may be framed in a honeycomb pattern that provides shading to the glazing and in turn cools the indoor or skin of the structure can be constructed with mechanically controlled photo voltaic fins. Analysis of solar and wind conditions on-site can be carried out using energy modeling tools that can provide us with accurate design elements to adopt.

Research suggests the following for a therapeutic environment:

  • Healthcare facilities with biophilic design have shown reduction in patients’ postoperative recovery time.
  • Access to natural light helps regulate a human’s circadian rhythm, potentially helping one feel more rested and less stressed.
  • Regular access to nature may help reduce one’s heart rate and lower blood pressure, resulting in lower stress.

A good example of salutogenic architecture is the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Queensland, Australia. The design process of the hospital began with active engagement and innovation with the end-users. The facade serves as a bioclimatic skin, which response to the subtropical climate by admitting light and air and shading the interior spaces. The colors used in the building are derived from clinical and scienti­fic research of color theory, merging with the natural colors of Queensland’s landscape. The fine texture of the fins softens the mass of the building giving it a soothing appearance. A colorful urban wall offers an engaging and positive contribution to the city’s public realm. Landscaped terraces and gardens used by patients, families, and staff for passive recreation and therapy programs, provide thermal insulation.

@Ethan Rohloff

Over time, significant consideration has been given to the nature of the stress agent, as well as the ability of people to cope with it and the environment they are in. “Change, chaos, stress, and disease are a constant in life and are the “natural” conditions of life; hence human beings tend to be in a state of heterostasis rather than in homeostasis. There is a need to change the standards of healthcare design by not just treating what is damaged, but also improvising the environment in which the process of healing occurs. This can greatly impact the way of living for us as humankind while also positively influencing the surroundings, catering to both the needs of humans and nature. Questions that arise on our way forward into future healthcare architecture and design are,

  • Our hospitals are all about curing the disease. What about healing of the mind?
  • Does regenerative designs support salutogenic architectural practice or is it the other way round?
  • Together, can sustainable architectural practices help improve the standards of global needs for healthcare & environment?

In a nutshell, the interweaving of humanist principles and sustainable architectural design approach appears to be a fruitful path for bringing forth the possibility of a new and meaningful therapeutic architecture for future healthcare environments. As designers, we should strive towards leveraging design processes to achieve measurable outcomes for healthcare facilities.

Author: Varun Chhabra

Point cloud scan to BIM

Renovation – Retrofit – Adaptive reuse is becoming mainstream which demands the study of existing structures and their built environment. Adaptive reuse is also gaining popularity looking and sustainability and waste reduction point of view. For this, however, properly documented drawings, models, or surveys of the existing building or infrastructure are extremely important. In the conventional methodology, ‘measure drawings’ were adapted by the Architects and Engineers for a course period to recreate the project with a lot of challenges. But with advancements in technologies, Point Cloud Scan has become the agile technology of the AEC industry. It has enabled us to document the building with 3D laser scanning technology as Point Cloud Data and converting it to BIM on platforms such as Revit, ArchiCAD, etc. gives more advanced results.

Point cloud scan enables us to reduce the time required in measuring the building with more accurate and loaded data. Orthophotos, measurements, space-visualization, and clash-detection are a few outcomes that help us to model the building’s accurate and collaborative process. Scan to BIM also helps to analyze the differences between the point cloud and model geometry created by the native method.

This process required fewer people involved in the surveying process and no or fewer visits required to the project site once the scan is complete. In the present unprecedented times, Scan technology proved to be extremely beneficial, making site surveys possible to be done remotely. Every stakeholder – Architect, MEP Engineer, Structural designer, Interior designer, client, etc. benefits from the recorded data which is available on a single web link.

There are many different types of laser scanning devices that feature technologies such as LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) or SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping). These technologies capture millions of cloud points and provide a high level of quality and accuracy. Hence, there is the seamless integration of the cloud data into the BIM platforms.

The workflow for Scan to BIM

  • Capture – 3D laser scanners capture the physical environment as point cloud data.
  • Process – Point cloud data is visualized as orthophotos and imported to BIM platforms.
  • Modelling – Imported Cloud data is accurately model with BIM capabilities.
  • Optimize – Generated model is used by various stakeholders to analyze the existing and create proposals.

Henceforth, doing 3D laser scans and generating accurate BIM models creates endless possibilities to solve complex projects with ease in AEC Industry.

Author: Madhur Goyal

Featured Image credits: The Lidar news blog

Thinking material transparency in India- the beginning of mM India’s Collaboration Hub

Rooting from its parent initiative which advocates transparency of material information to achieve a healthier environment and built spaces, mindful MATERIALS (mM) India Collaboration Hub is an effort initiated by FivD India Consulting Pvt. Ltd. to enable India to advocate material transparency and setup a single database online hub (the mM library) in India. 

Looking at the current scenario in the Indian context, choices are made based on available incumbent material as against sustainable and healthy options. Many stakeholders are unaware about the ill implications of using certain materials. There is no shortage of efforts made by passionate individuals, firms, companies, or non-profit organizations, but most of the times these remain isolated and unstandardized. A lot of concern over the future of architectural and urban sustainability in India is on the rise and constant efforts towards negating the bad impacts of wrongfully chosen materials need to be explored and devised.  

FivD’s collaboration with mindful MATERIALS as the India Hub partner is a revolutionary step with the help of like-minded organizations coming together to raise awareness of building materials action and transparency in the Indian marketplace. The virtual launch of the initiative, held on 8th September 2021 was a roundtable with Annie Bevan (Executive Director, mindful Materials) introducing the mindful Materials initiative and emphasizing on a cross-disciplinary science-based industry-informed approach for creating a community learning and sharing platform. She also emphasized on the importance of working together and creating a common framework for curation and advocation of sustainable building materials in the form of a material library which could be our only shot towards drastically reducing the vast, global and systemic impact of the built environment on the natural environment. 

The founding members of the India Collaborative Hub including notable specialists from the industry like FivD, Aeon, Environmental Design Solutions, CannonDesign, ShawContract, Perkins Eastman, RePure, Breatheasy contributed several insights on how the initiative can be taken forward. The first step forward would be to develop strategies to encourage and educate our AEC industry peers and other stakeholders to understand the benefits of using sustainable and healthy materials beyond green building certifications through brainstorming sessions, live case studies, demonstrated research findings, workshops with regional context. Universities and government agencies can be roped in to emphasize on the cause and benefits. 

The extensive mindful MATERIALS library will act as a powerful tool giving users an opportunity to make material selections which can be standard for every building and not just those seeking green building certifications. It will act as a holistic material information tool not only for architects and designers but also for clients, contractors, manufacturers and all other associated AEC professionals. 

It will help in identifying better products based on complete knowledge about material ingredients, sourcing of raw materials, safety of processing and manufacturer’s social responsibility under a common framework.  

Image Credit : mindful Materials

A Healing Environment with Colours

Most of us generally associate interiors of a healthcare facility with colour white, as pure. It is often considered as a default setting than a design decision. But as the design briefs are evolving with time, adding a dash of colours is considered more hospitable and welcoming. Healthcare facilities are now integrating new colour palettes into their design that can uplift the look and feel of the environment. Bringing colour into the design is now being utilized to aid in the patient’s recovery as well as its functional uses like facilitating in wayfinding orientation, making a room/corridor look wider & distinct.  Colours help in reducing medical errors, refining the quality of life of the patient by bringing a positive change in their sleep and recovery patterns.

On a recent healthcare project for the Fortis group in Mumbai, our team at FivD gave importance to colours and how they come to play differently in each department and space. Drawing colour and textures inspiration from the local landscapes, we opted for a zoned approach. It is key to an institutional aesthetic, aids the wayfinding. The concept of “Art of Healing” was given weightage and can be seen throughout the design. Choice of certain colours were made to encourage a sense of calmness and improve the stress levels amongst the patients and families visiting. A cool colour palette like blue and greens brings people at ease and introduce a sense of tranquility to the room. We limited the use of overly bright red and yellows in patient rooms as they may cause anxiety and irregular cardiovascular readings. Though for a children, bright colors were also bought into play as kids associate differently and colours can help distract them from procedures. Colorful murals on the walls were applied to contrast the departments as well as uplift moods of children and adult patients. Each space had a colour scheme along with few accent and neutral shades to highlight the setting and visually appeal to the client.

For example, the colour scheme for the Mother and child department embarking a new journey is derived from delicate lavender fields and light tones of purple adding a hint of freshness to the setting.

For the in-patient suites, theme is derived from the location being close to the Arabian sea. Shades of blue (water) with neutral sand tones add in a sense of calmness and positivity to the room setting. The palette closer to nature has proven to add more comfort and soothing of our mind.

Application of the right materials also plays a big role while designing for a healthcare facility. Being aware of materials and its properties can help in reducing infections associated with high traffic areas and sensitive spaces. Main concern should be ease of sanitation to avoid germ build up. Use of textures, vinyl wall coverings and fabrics that are approved for medical settings add to the exploration of space embracing wellness. Thus, we can say that colours have a deep psychological and physiological effect on us. A well thought colour theme can aesthetically promote better mood and health of the patients. Our designs focus on creating spaces that integrates a healing environment with an innovative design moving away from traditional colour schemes.

Written by: Zeba Siddiqi, Designer

Data Center – an Architect’s Perspective

“The spectrum of data center options has greatly expanded since their ­­creation. Customers can now choose between a broad array of options, from in-house, to a carrier, to colocation, cloud, or managed service offerings. The common core of each of these offerings is more than just power and cooling. The underlying infrastructure must contemplate security, connectivity, sustainability, and much more. To be helpful and relevant, our industry standards must be expanded as well.” Samuel Castor, Switch EVP Policy.

Data Center Design

Data Centers, a space or building that hosts data and related IT infrastructure physically and made accessible by the network as and when required, are very critical at this day and age for companies to function properly. Data access is so critical that every redundancy check is installed to avoid any downtime. Hosting such large data racks, networking equipment, and keeping it running continuously leads to consumption of a large amount of energy. Moreover, the running cost of ancillary building systems comes out to be much higher than the capital investment in the long run. Hence, energy-efficiency  and following good design practices for data centers are extremely critical as a step towards sustainability.

Best Design Practices

Some of the best practices for Data Centers are as follows:

  • Tier determination.
  • Site selection.
  • CFD Analysis (Computational Fluid Dynamics) to optimize facility design parameters.
  • Optimization of Data center cooling.
  • Smart Airflow management Maximization of the return temperature at the cooling units to improve capacity and efficiency.
  • Match cooling capacity and airflow with IT load.
  • Utilization of cooling designs that reduce energy consumption.
  • Determination of economizer benefits based on geography.
  • Selection of a power system to optimize availability and efficiency needs and use modular units.
  • Design for flexibility using a scalable architecture that minimizes environmental impact.
  • Data center infrastructure management – increased visibility, control, and efficiency.[1] National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Health)

Sector growth in India

It is an exciting time to be a part of the industry as India is seeing accelerated growth in the data center market. Currently, there are 460 million-plus active internet users in India and the number will keep increasing in the advent of cloud technology, big data and data analytics, AI, e-commerce, Digital-India initiative, Smart-Cities initiative, IoT, Data localization, AR/VR, banking/NBFC initiatives and many other technological and legislative factors. With the current global pandemic, demands rose for WFH, streaming services, virtual conferencing, and digital payments pushing the expected data center market growth in India to 30-35%. As per a report from KPMG, the sector will quadruple in 4 years.

Key Design Considerations for Indian Market

Although India is the 2nd largest data center market in APAC, it is a fairly new industry that has its own challenges. These are some of the design considerations that are necessary for the road ahead.


Research to optimize data center prototypes which work in this region to save time, cost, and energy for future ventures.

Risk Management:

Risk assessment on the prime aspects of Resiliency, Flexibility, and Connectivity and develop solutions to combat risks.

Planning for Security:

Physical security is as important as IT security, which involves security planning at the site level (Perimeter Layer), building level (Infrastructure Layer), security zoning inside the building, and optimization of personnel flow by smart 360-degree flow planning.

Quality Assurance and Control:

The lack of standardization is one of the main problems that plague any upcoming industry. Development and adherence to strong industry standards and quality databases can form the cornerstones of success.

Scalable Design:

In any growing market, the demands keep rising with time.  Modular designs that can be scaled and developed in sync with the rising demands.

Upskilling of Personnel:

Industry-specific training of design professionals for better understanding of requirements of a data center building.

In conclusion, every technological shift brings an irreversible change in society. As the world gets more connected, the pace of development increases, and the need for data centers increase. Those of us who understand and adapt our skillset to provide viable solutions for this new industry shall pioneer this change.

Sources:  Image Source: and

Author: Ruchira Srivastava

June 16, 2021 0 Comments

Looking Beyond

“The materials of a city” describes Le Corbusier, “are sky, space, trees, steel and cement; in that order and that hierarchy”. Consider a city as a woven fabric of individual buildings, gardens, and voids that makes the realm of built – visible, memorable, and ultimately useful. The intricacy of architecture, its vast impact on human psyche and its relevance in shaping the future, should have every designer consider the relevance of ‘looking beyond’.

As designers and architects, one needs to assess the impact of any proposal on the surroundings, understand the need to go beyond one building to address a larger issues and attempt to resolve it by using the powers of ten design thinking, taking a step back, to work on undertaking more than just what is within the confines of a plot boundary. For instance, while designing a multi-specialty hospital in Delhi, we worked to propose a traffic intervention for the surrounding roads that would result in vehicular decongestion greatly helping the neighbourhood.

Looking beyond leads to conscientious decision making that is not restricted by a brief but aims at holistic improvements of the vicinity as well as the human experience connecting to the urban fabric. The relevance of considering projects in their urban context can only result in comprehensive designs that are inclusive, authentic and active, be it through elements like sidewalks, trees or benches creating gathering spaces and providing opportunities for human interaction. A design which envisions the relationship of the built environment with other factors of urban landscape and a responds to the nature of place results into a more holistic, relevant and conscious solution.

Author: Pulkit Jain

Computation in Architecture

‘The correct lesson to learn from surprises: that the world is surprising.’- Daniel Kahneman

History is something that will never repeat itself but will always inspire us to adopt more evolution, innovations, and technologies. Some such interventions are artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robotics, augmented reality, digital fabrication, Big Data, machine learning and other advanced technologies in Architecture. The digital is everywhere; from the infrastructure we use to navigate the world to the objects we use to communicate. It was in the 1990s that Parametric Design came into existence which was followed by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in around 2008. Next normal will be the people-centric design where data will play an important role. The decisions will not only be taken by a human being but, the human-generated robots who will have access to various essential data and made to learn, ‘the art of possible’.

‘History is the study of change, Ironically used as a map of the future.’-Morgan Housel

In a general context, we need to understand that there is no failure of analysis, it is the failure of imagination. Computation, generative designs, automation, machine learning, and other tools, give imagination and let us explore the endless options. We humans can make them better and give a psychological touch to data. Instead of drawing lines and shapes, we designers must define all the computational instructions, variables, and parameters to achieve the output which is desirable and optimised. This generative process will be powered by algorithms and the designer’s mind simultaneously where the output is not performed by humans using a drawing tool but is auto-generated.

New computational methods have significantly enhanced the ability of people and robots to work flexibly together. Internet, telecommunication and digitalisation of projects using BIM allowed firms to revolutionise the communication, collective intelligence and collaboration of various fields. Evolution of digital tool by David Rutten in 2007 named Grasshopper uses visual node-based component interface to create 3D geometry and other functions such as implementing the explosion of generative tools like Honeybee, Ladybug, Geco, Quelea, Karamba, Kangaroo, Galapogas, etc brought a huge shift and attracted many designers due to its simplicity and ease in comparison to other available programming languages.

Digital fabrication is leading us to find a sustainable and inclusive infrastructure for the built- environment. Augmented reality is increasingly used to deal with precision in construction. Advancement with time has the potential to make us rethink the role of an architect.

These technologies and production are necessary for serving better around the globe and designing adaptive space and world. Together these technologies will help us better understand materials, structural systems, social dynamics and formation processes. More than productivity gains, we’ll rethink the way we live and the way we make decisions, and ultimately how we articulate our built environment.

‘D E S I G N   R E S P O N S I B L Y’

It is time to build a plan with people, planet, and social systems.

‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change’- Charles Darwin.

We should find ourselves responsible as there is no CTRL+Z in our field of architecture and our deeds of nature depletion. It is done and dusted.

Author: Richa Gupta

June 16, 2021 0 Comments

An Alternative to Mass Housing

An explanation of mass housing can be explained by describing it as a subject as well as a practice that can never be taken up in isolation. It not only includes the surrounding context but also the town planner as an individual. This  further speculates the housing units and the manner in which they are arranged to form a certain pattern or shape. It is said that the means of multiple housing have been used since the times of the Romans and it is a pre industrialisation concept. It is very difficult to imagine the same housing arrangement block for a group of people who might be using it in  numerous ways . There could be chaos as well as joint celebration, people would have their own small finicky behavioural ways to use the space which may seem odd to others but then housing is all about ”catering to all groups of people”, just like in a democracy. 

The most important part about residential housing is the relationship between humans and the dwelling and the way they both  respond to each other. Dwelling is only a singular  settlement but a housing complex is a vast multitude of many cultures, religions with different ethnicities and ideologies trying living together under one umbrella. So how do we as urban designers and planners create an innovative, affordable and user-friendly alternative which can replace the rigidity present in the current designs of congested mass housing schemes . 

The idea is to bring about a change in our understanding of the schema of housing clusters and its subsequent units. Taking inspiration from Elemental designs incremental housing concept of half built/half open as well as Habraken’s theory of ‘Supports’ where he proposed to divide a house into two different spheres called supports and infills that further developed and promoted the idea of ‘Open Building’.  

Taking forward these innovative approaches we must try to evolve an unbiased and universal housing development strategy which could probably be an ice breaker in our goal towards efficient and affordable housing. With this we could integrate a sense of freedom, flexibility and authority among the end users over their housing demands. Architects and planners should be equipped to imbibe and embrace these very aspects for a more inclusive nature in housing developments , to aim and achieve human centric spaces where people can experience the joy of community. 

Author: Bhaskar Mishra

Landscape, Architecture and Environment

In most of the discussions pertaining to Landscape and Environment, there has been found a direct link between the two disciplines of landscape architecture and regional planning. Many of the world’s acclaimed biologists and geologists, like Ian McHarg ,were making attempts to integrate and view landscape gardening and urban regions as a single unity. The idea was to visualise a homogenous and closely interlinked fabric of landscape greenery and the urban built environment. 

We need to compare ecology  as a whole subject of essential requirement and immediate execution which is mandatory for every human to accept. With ecology needing improvement on many fronts, there needs to be an amalgamation between the urban areas and landscape gardening. In this  view of seeing the future cities as being more sensitive to the ever-changing ecology, there has to be a homogeneous relation between these two disciplines that should be further developed and taken forward. 

In order to combine both processes of landscape architecture and regional planning, scholars like Mcharg,  introduced the suitability analysis. This method of study maps different parameters such as groundwater level, topography, green area, types of soil, etc. When these different layers are mapped they can be used according to the space to find out the most suitable site. 

Singapore is a relatable example which can look similar to what McHarg  is talking about homogeneity between the green and the grey. The Gardens by the Bay project , in particular, displays considerable inclination in integrating landscape architecture with ingenious structural planning mechanisms which bind together both the ecological flora/fauna and its regional connectivity within the city state. Other examples which are slightly similar are One Central Park by Jean Nouvel in Sydney Australia and Bosco Verticale by Boeri Studio in Milan Italy.  

If we are able to synthesise town planning schemes with localised landscape architecture then we can link our infrastructure with a blue/green environment. People then will be able to travel, work, rest and play in spaces closely integrated with  public parks, green corridors and ecological habitats. 

Hence, as urban designers and architects we need to advocate this strong integration between city planning and landscape architecture , because not only does it creates efforts for the protection of our planet’s environment but it also paves a way forward in our quest to create climate sensitive and environmental friendly cities and agglomerations which will be ‘green’ in their true sense. 

References: McHarg,Ian. Design with Nature.1969 

Author: Bhaskar Mishra