Posts tagged with "Natural Ventilation":

Construction wraps up on Moshe Safdie’s Sky Habitat towers in Singapore

Reaching up into the sky in Bishan, Singapore is Moshe Safdie's recently completed development, and aptly named, Sky Habitat. Safdie's design includes walkways that connect the the two structures up to 38 storey's up, offering views across the suburban sprawl of Bishan. Views aren't the only thing offered to residents who take to the bridges at the complex either. As pictured above, a swimming pool spans the majority of the highest bridge (on the 38th floor) complete with palm trees. Below are two more bridges connecting the towers. They provide circulation between the buildings and facilitate airflow through the structures. In fact, ventilation was somewhat of a priority in the context of the Singapore's tropical and climate. As a result, by separating the volumes, Safdie has maximised exposure to each dwelling to combat the humid conditions. That's not to say that they too have been left bereft of vegetation, something which has been a key feature of Safdie's design. The inclusion of such greenery has lead to the bridges being termed as "sky gardens," offering a natural counter to the surrounding urban environment. Bishan, by comparison, is one of Singapore's fastest developing cities. The two volumes of the towers show off a staggered facade that maximizes each dwelling's views and sunlight exposure. Sky Habitat, by name, builds on Safdie's most recognized work, Habitat 67 in Montreal, Canada. Equally hierarchical and arguably more complex, Habitat 67 had its roots in his Master's thesis at McGill University. http://www.skyhabitat.com.sg/assets/video/commercial.mp4

New Buildings Institute catalogues the nation’s net-zero buildings

The Vancouver-based New Buildings Institute (NBI) tracks energy efficient built work, and their 2014 update, “Getting to Zero”, provides a snapshot of the emerging U.S. market for net-zero buildings—those are structures that use no more energy than they can gather on site. In the United States, California leads in the number of low and zero energy projects with 58, followed by Oregon (18), Colorado (17), Washington (16), Virginia (12), Massachusetts (11), Florida (10), Pennsylvania (10), Illinois (8), North Carolina (8), and New York (8). NBI also compiled a database of all their buildings. They say architects and developers interested in pursuing net-zero design could find inspiration there, searching according to their local climate and/or building characteristics. The database includes energy-efficient and high-performance buildings that are not net-zero, as well. Though the trend has succeeded in garnering attention and excitement among many designers, true net-zero buildings remain elusive in the built environment. So far NBI has only certified 37 buildings as net-zero. That ranking is based on performance—each building underwent a review of at least 12 months of measured energy use data. If piece-meal projects aren't yet adding up to a groundswell of net-zero design, NBI is also pushing systemic change—rigorous energy efficiency standards recently adopted in Illinois took cues from the group's Core Performance Guide.

Mikou Design Studio’s Design for Congo’s Africannews headquarter

Mikou Design Studio has unveiled the design for the Africanews headquarters in Brazzaville, Congo. Mikou proposed a large expressive tower on stilts during a competition for the site. The tower mass floats on massive pillars over a two-story podium with an interstitial patio between the pieces, topping out at 174 feet over the city. The new 83,000-square-foot headquarters building seeks to represent African heritage through its tonality and composition of solid and void patterning on the facade. The use of openwork concrete produces a visually porous building envelope while vertically mounted V-shaped sunshades create an additional layer to filter light and guard against heat gain. "We have conceived the Africanews Tower as a sculptural, elevating building, the bearer of an African poesy in its materiality, its tonalities and the interplay of relief and hollows which characterises the facades," the architects said on their website. "Its vertical proportion is accentuated by the facets of the envelope in relief and hollows, which stretch it upwards and give it a sculptural effect of depths of field and magical contrasts of light and shadow." The sunshade on the facade lends the appearance of folded metal panels to the building's exterior. The fins allow for more effective ventilation in the structure. An internal courtyard additionally promotes this air flow. Landscaping within this courtyard helps to create a healthier working environment for the building's inhabitants. The building will house newsrooms, offices, screening and conference rooms, and, on the roof, the concrete patterning expands to allow for better views of the city and nearby Congo River from a restaurant. The project is expected to be complete in 2015.

Behnisch Architekten Greens UB’s School of Law

A high-performance facade weaves a diverse program into a single volume.

The School of Law at the University of Baltimore was founded nearly nine decades ago, but for most of that time its classrooms, offices, library, and clinics were scattered among several downtown buildings. That changed last year, with the opening of the John and Frances Angelos Law Center. Designed by Behnisch Architekten with Ayers Saint Gross, the Angelos Law Center unites a diverse program within a single 12-story structure. Its checkerboard envelope, which won Best Facade in AN’s 2014 Best of Design Awards, weaves the building’s three principal components—a classroom and office wing, the library, and a central atrium—into a single volume. In addition, the facade positions the university on the cutting edge of sustainable design. Its integrated approach to energy efficiency has helped the Angelos Law Center win several green-building prizes, and set it on track to achieve LEED platinum status. Behnisch Architekten took a tripartite approach to the design of the facade. The architects wrapped the portion of the building dedicated to offices and classrooms with an aluminum plate and punched window system. “This is the kind of facade that works very well with the kinds of spaces behind it, because those tend to be a bit more regulated and modular in the way they are allocated,” said partner Matt Noblett. For the library, the uppermost of the building’s two L-shaped volumes, the designers chose a frit glass with a pattern they call a basket weave. “The library, from a program perspective, is kind of a big soup,” said Noblett. There are group study spaces, offices, and, of course, the stacks. “[W]e wanted to find a way in the facade to do [something] more neutral, less specific,” he explained. “The basket weave is less specific in how the articulation of the facade related to the program behind it.” The third segment of the facade, transparent glass enclosing the building’s atrium, draws the two other volumes together.
  • Facade Manufacturer National Enclosure Company
  • Architects Behnisch Architekten, Ayers Saint Gross
  • Facade Installer National Enclosure Company
  • Consultants Transsolar (Climate Engineering), Stutzki Engineering (Facade Consultant)
  • Location Baltimore
  • Date of Completion April 2013
  • System aluminum plate and punched window wall with automated shades and integrated glass rain screen, frit glass curtain wall, fixed brise soleil
  • Products PPG exterior insulating glass, Hunter Douglas Nysan specialty blinds, WindowMaster actuator and control system, Viracon custom frit glass
The architects developed a unique sustainability strategy for each section of the building. For the office block, National Enclosure Company fabricated a unitized curtain system comprising the window surface, exterior blinds, and a glass rain screen. The Hunter Douglas Nysan blinds move up and down according to an automated program that operates the top one-third and bottom two-thirds of the windows separately. “It’s remarkable to look at the specific data, to see how much more of the year you’re able to maintain comfort without excessive amounts of air conditioning when you have an exterior sunshading system,” said Noblett, whose firm worked with Transsolar on the building’s climate engineering. Outside the blinds is a low-iron laminated glass rain screen mounted on aluminum brackets. While the architects initially designed the rain screen to protect the blinds, it also solved an architectural problem. “It had a tendency to reunify all of the facade into one building,” he explained. “The more you perforate, the less you read as one volume. By essentially shrink-wrapping [the offices and classrooms], you start to read it again as a [single] volume.” The library at the Angelos Law Center is faced with frit glass from Viracon. “We did a lot of study with the manufacturer” to determine the gradient pattern, said Noblett. “What we wanted it to read was as purely white as possible. We wanted the ceramic as close to the surface as possible.” The goal was to reduce solar gain to the bare minimum. “If you were designing the building and didn’t care how it looked, you would just build a solid wall,” said Noblett. “The idea to add frit to make the wall essentially solid, [but] from the interior of the library it still feels like it’s open.” Outside the atrium, Behnisch Architekten installed a fixed brise soleil by National Enclosure Company on the south and west sides. The north side they left uncovered. All of the Angelos Law Center’s windows are operable, which, while not unheard of, is still unusual in a non-residential setting. “It’s hard to argue with a building where you can get comfortable by opening windows versus sealing up and running the air,” said Noblett. Noblett describes designing a high-performance facade as “this game you’re constantly playing between how much light comes in and how much solar gain [results].” By that analogy, the Angelos Law Center is a check mark in Behnisch Architekten’s win column.

One Year In: Five Healthful Homes for Haiti

One year ago, a catastrophic earthquake tore through Haiti killing 200,000 people. Today, some progress has been made to return to normality but a Goliath mountain of rubble that was once Port au Prince still must be cleared and housing built for the vast population living in ruins and tents. Toward that end, ARCHIVE, Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments, has announced the winners of a housing competition and will build five houses that promote healthy living in Haiti this year. Winners from around the world paid special attention to limit the transmission of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, the leading deadly diseases in the country. The "Housing and Health in Haiti" competition garnered 147 entries from interdisciplinary teams in five continents. Winners were chosen to showcase innovative strategies in disease prevention through design while also being easily buildable with local materials and techniques. Five prototype houses will be constructed in the coastal town of Saint-Marc in eastern Haiti in cooperation with a local health organization.Each prototype is easily replicable by the local community. “What has sadly been overlooked even prior to the earthquake is how housing improvements can address the root causes of poor health," said ARCHIVE founder Peter Williams in a statement. "We hope our project will empower Haitians in rebuilding their lives, but also we want to replicate this model in other countries – demonstrating that among the poorest, housing can be a central strategy for improving health.” The winning entry, pictured at top, called Breathe House was designed by a team of architects, engineers, and doctors from the United States and the UK. The proposal makes extensive use of natural light and ventilation throughout the interior spaces and its simple construction of local materials can be reproduced in the community. American architects Lilian Sherrard and Brook K. Sherrard took second place for their Maison Canopy which hopes to foster community with a spacious covered porch where residents can rebuild community relationships. The house incorporates low-tech green features like rainwater collection for affordability and utilizes cross-ventilation and insect screening to promote occupant health where mosquito-born illness is common. The appropriately named Shutter Dwelling designed by an interdisciplinary Italian team consisting of Marco Ferri, Giorgio Giannattasio, Sara Parlato, Roberto Pennachio, and Andrea Tulisi was awarded third place. With an emphasis on spatial separation of sick and healthy occupants, the proposal calls for fresh airflows to promote health. The social center of the home revolves around the kitchen and the design takes cues from vernacular Haitian architecture. Another interdisciplinary team of architects, engineers, doctors, sustainability consultants, and a horticulturalist designed Bois l'Etat, a house designed around communal lifestyles. The project incorporates local materials and building practices for ease of construction and to improve the local economy. Green features include rainwater harvesting, composting toilets, and efficient use of energy. Architects Henry Luis Oquet, Kenneth Lopez, and Arlin Morales along with Engineer Pedro Almonte from the Dominican Republic creates Merit Award winner Cycle House. The proposal juxtaposes open lined with screens and closed spaces independent from the rest of the house to facilitate a healthy living environment. Herbs and medicinal plants grow from the house and a bike can be hooked up to provide electricity.