The recent article in Architectural Record about the respectable energy targets for the new Barnes Museum design by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects raises an issue that sparks further discussion. By now, the strategies for reducing energy use in offices and residential projects are mostly general knowledge, net zero projects are becoming more commonplace and the market is flooded with media covering the relevant issues. However, there is still little talk about how to reduce energy in the ‘difficult’ typologies: Museums, hospitals, laboratories to name the ‘heavy hitters’. These typologies have thus far been mostly exempt from scrutiny because their environmental needs have been deemed too specialized for drastic change. Museums have specific light and humidity requirements to both preserve and view art properly. Hospitals have the obvious concern for contaminants and the health of susceptible members of society and thus have strict ventilation and thermal requirements. Howev…
While reducing the energy use of buildings is essential for a sustainable future, it is equally important to improve the conditions in which humans live, work, play, heal etc.. The benefits of natural daylight and ventilation have been proven to improve productivity and reduce sick days in office workers and people generally seem to be more aware that they deserve a healthy environment around them. This concept has been developed into a fully fledged design approach to architecture called biophilic design. However, this concept is generally misunderstood and commonly confused with biomimicry. This week’s blog aims to explain the philosophy behind biophilic design and architectural applications that can help to achieve a healthier, more natural architecture.
Biophilia vs. biomimicry
Biophilic design is based on the theory of ‘biophilia’ which contends that human health and well-being has a biologically based need to affiliate with nature. When this physiological theory is re…
Architects: Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture
Location: London, UK
Project Team: Brian Vermeulen, Richard Cottrell, Simon Tucker, SangSoo Bae
Temple Design: ARP Associates
Planning Consultant: DP9
Photographs: Anthony Coleman
Krishna-Avanti Primary School is the first voluntary aided Hindu School in the UK. Cottrell and Vermeulen Architecture attended workshops with the school community to understand the religious and cultural ambitions that the community had for the school and to establish an appropriate architecture. Specific requirements came out of this process: a Hindu chapel built in traditional Vedic style as the focus of the school; a music and drama space; a spiritual japa garden; zones where pupils can be barefoot and environmentally friendly construction materials. The school architecture reflects the Hindu community, whilst being a state of the art educational environment and a sustainable building with an integrated engineering approach that provides a low impact, energy efficient solution. The school has one of the highest BREEAM scores for a school in the UK and is fully accessible and inclusive. It was completed in September 2009 for a budget of £7 Million.
The Hindu religion, teaching and the building’s architecture are integrated at the Krishna-Avanti School. At the centre of the school (in plan and symbolically) is a traditional temple and the school is aligned on the site in keeping with Vastu principles. Teaching spaces are arranged around a courtyard facing onto the temple. The whole school is seen as a learning environment, and it is intended that the environment and landscaped grounds becomes a curriculum resource.
The classrooms can be extended out in two directions; towards a spiritual courtyard garden and towards covered outdoor teaching areas and playgrounds and each contains a classroom shrine & quiet area, an area for ICT / whiteboard projection and an area for art & science experiments. Children wear indoor shoes throughout the school and all classrooms have a view of the temple. The classrooms are designed for maximum natural light and optimum thermal comfort using insulation, under-floor heating, acoustic linings and natural ventilation. CO2 sensors display air quality.
The dining and music and drama rooms are an example of a cross-curricula approach. The spaces interconnect with the temple, the main hall, the kitchen and the school allotments. The deities installed in the temple watch over the pupils. Dance, music and Yoga are part of the curriculum – they are also an important part of Hindu worship, hence the connection to the temple. School dinner is a highlight of the school day. All of the (organic vegetarian) food is blessed by the deities and eating becomes an act of worship. Hand rinse and mouth rinse facilities are located in the dining area for hygiene as well as religious ritual. Children and staff sit together on the floor to eat and eating also becomes a lesson in social etiquette and respect. Some food is grown on site in the school’s allotments.
Krishna-Avanti School buildings are also integrated carefully with the school landscape. The landscape is conceived as a series of outdoor classrooms, educational gardens, play gardens with fruit trees and herbs, spiritual gardens, exercise gardens, ecology and wildlife habitat, recycling gardens, outdoor dining, and frameworks for future expansions. The landscape provides learning resources, fuel sources, building resources, food sources, & pollutant cleaning.
Habitats have been created to encourage diverse insect, animal and plant populations. Wildlife corridors have been created across the site to provide safe passage for animals and insects. Ecology is studied and science experiments can be set using the elements. A flood reservoir and a wildlife pond with dipping platform become an outdoor classroom.
The original landscape features were a resource to be used in a positive way. Earth from the building excavations was used to make acoustic bunds and children’s play mounds which also act as sound buffers to control noise transmission from the road traffic and from the playground to the surrounding housing.
A vegetable garden and orchard provide a teaching resource and healthy organic food to be used in the school kitchen. Rainwater collected from the sedum covered roofs is used to water the garden.
Interesting and cultural water features, natural environments and further aspects of Vastu which utilise natural resources encourage children to be sensitive towards all living beings, other religions, cultures and to the environment around them, whilst promoting good character and responsibility. Areas of Ayurvedic plants planted in the landscape teach Hindu symbolism and can be used for cooking and therapy.
The school was the recipient of the 2010 Harrow Architectural and Environmental Award run by the Harrow Heritage Trust and Harrow Council and was listed in the Daily Telegraph’s ‘Top Ten Buildings of 2010’.
Kirshna-Avanti Primary School and Sustainability:
Hindus are taught to revere life and nature, considering both as sacred gifts from God. This scriptural tenet is an important principle for the School. Krishna-Avanti Primary School aims to produce socially aware citizens who adopt responsible lifestyles that help sustain our planet.
It is intended that the school be a beacon of sustainability, and waste reduction and recycling will be integrated into the curriculum. Composting bins are provided for all classrooms and the school will be provided with a textile bank as part of a Harrow Council initiative. The school’s vegetarian food policy also markedly reduces the amount of waste which cannot be composted. Some food for the school will be grown on site reducing the need for ingredients to be delivered to the school.
A key driver for the client was to create a sustainable school environment. From the outset, the design team and client set up consultations and strategies to define the material palette, low/renewable energy technologies, community involvement, and future adaptability in order to ensure a sustainable and future proofed design (for example the foundations have been designed to allow the walls to be opened up if open-plan teaching is required in the future).
The environmental engineering systems for Krishna-Avanti Primary School have been conceived and designed to reduce energy consumption and minimise carbon production in a number of fully integrated ways:
Passive Technology: The starting point of the low energy consumption strategy has been to minimise active use of primary energy and harness natural resources where possible:
• Thermal mass has been included to act as a passive buffer to peaks of internal temperature
• Enhanced performance thermal insulation with low U values
• Rain water harvesting and re-use
• Green roofs for enhanced ecological benefit
• Integrated scope for future school expansion
• Natural ventilation with automatic controls
• Teaching spaces and halls optimised for natural daylighting
• External solar control louvres to limit solar gain and direct glare
• Sustainable urban drainage and on-site storm water detention pond
Active Technology: Where active means have been necessary in order to service the school building, a range of integrated low energy and renewable technologies have been specified:
• Ground source heat pumps have been installed to provide up to 68% of the space heating demand of the school building
• Under floor heating works in concert with the ground source heat pumps
• Local thermostatic controls have been specified for control of maximum hot water temperature at taps
• Use of recycled water for garden irrigation
• Heat recovery ventilation systems for classroom sanitary accommodation
• Absence detection, low energy artificial lighting controls
• Daylight sensing and time-clock control of external lighting to minimise energy consumption and light pollution
• Metering of all primary energy use
• Fully automatic and self learning, BMS control system with graphical user interface to optimise control and operation of M & E systems
Energy efficient construction procedures: Contractors practiced reduced waste on site; co-ordinated deliveries; used recycling skips; water use on site was monitored; earth excavations were re-used; hoardings were recycled; recycled crushed concrete shingle and sand were used wherever possible.
Education Integration: The Building Management System is available to staff and pupils via a graphical front end and a visual display showing the operation of the heat pumps is located in the school entrance foyer. The internal environmental conditions in each of the classrooms, the ICT suite and the multi-purpose halls will be constantly monitored by the automatic building management system (BMS). Each classroom is provided with a visual indicator unit with simple traffic light signal lamps to show the teacher and children, the current carbon dioxide concentration within the space. This visual indication is intended to give the teacher an immediate and educational indication of deteriorating internal environmental conditions. The BMS acts on the CO2 sensing to instigate the timely opening of a window to increase fresh air and increase the rate of natural ventilation. The main plant room has a window installed adjacent to the front entrance of the school to allow children and public to view the renewable energy plant.
The Krishna-Avanti Primary School / Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 20 Dec 2011.
Architect: Bahama-Architecten, Sipke Kingma
Location: Groningen, Netherlands
Design Team: Tanja Isbarn in collaboration with Sipke Kingma en Arnold ten Brink
Completion Date: 2011
GFA: 291 sqm
Photographs: Richard Zomerdijk
The “kas di coral” project is located in the new district “de Linie”, which is part of the urban area Europa Park in Groningen, Netherlands. In 2001 the undeveloped district was the scene of the Blue Moon manifestation. An event directed by Toyo Ito where a temporary symbiosis between architecture and visual art was created.
The urban plan of ‘de Linie’ is designed by Wiel Arets. It is characterized by a particularly high urban density. The plot size is 12m wide and 15m deep.
Some requirements of the quality plan are: flat roofs, placement of buildings directly on the street and one of the side property lines.
Just like the Blue Moon manifestation the ‘kas di coral’ project is a fusion of architecture and art.
The house is designed by Sipke Kingma / Bahama architects. The facade design was created in collaboration with the visual artist Tanja Isbarn.
The main structure of the house follows, highlights and reinforces the strict preconditions of the quality plan. The building is orthogonal in nature and there is a strict organization schedule based on the floor plans. The outward appearance is entirely white.
As the name ‘Kas di coral’ shows, there is a special connection with the Netherlands Antilles, here specifically the island of Bonaire.
The aesthetic concept of the perforated facade in the ‘Kunst am Bau’ project Muraya di coral, derived from fossilized coral mass which is the basic substance of the atoll island Bonaire.
The two wall surfaces directed towards the public space are perforated with organic holes in the concrete. The Oblique cuts of the holes allow day light to fall into the interior of the three floors of the house in a very surprising way. Throughout the day a changing light / shade situation appears in the house and it’s walls. In the evening that variable perception game is then addressed to the outside.
The contrast between the fragile beauty of the coral, the coral reefs and human development of ever more distance and distortion of this nature is reflected in the appearance of the living organic patterns and tight sterile architecture.
It is obvious that in this concept effciently energy use was sought after. The heating and hot water demand is supported by 10 m2 of solar panels on the roof. The use of daylight has the highest priority, as a source of passive energy. The whole house is equipped with LED lighting.
The house reflects the contradiction of human development in distancing from nature and at the same time depending on her, forming a symbiosis as a new interpretation of some kind of cultivated origin.
The current draft interprets the dilemma of human development with the immanent dependence and simultaneous distancing from nature.
Courtesy of Studio Kalamar
Located in Ljubljana, Slovenia on a corner site at the western entrance to the city, the composition of the West Gate office building, designed by Studio Kalamar, is defined by two office towers. The southern tower rises over the intersection, accentuating the direction towards the city with its sharp projecting corner while the lower northern wing serves as a background to the principal motive as its composition approaches the dynamic of railway traffic behind it. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Both wings are oriented towards the west, accentuating the openness of city. Vertical cores are located on the eastern sides and provide the option of connection to the future extension of adjacent building.
Office programs are organized in the two wings, one with 8, the other with 14 floors. The ground floor comprises supporting public programs and the entrance lobby. Different wing lengths proved various floor divisions and office size options.
The panel facade system is supplemented by a white fixed shading element attached in four different directions, thus providing a dynamic facade effect.
Green areas serve as a barrier against the intense traffic with dense tree formations and two hillocks facing the intersection, thus forming a sheltered public space in front of the building.
Buildings are built for people, and their well-being is crucial to productivity. So, users are encouraged to stay in contact with their surroundings and their working environment should achieve its good climate with little burdening of technology. A low-temperature heating and cooling system fuelled by heat pumps provide the best option. All technological systems are connected to a central control system, ensuring optimal energy use.
Architect: Studio Kalamar
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Area: 35.000 m2
Client: Gruda Jurmes d.o.o.
Status: Invited Competition, 2010
Courtesy of Nabito Arquitectura
The new Busan Opera House, designed by Nabito Arquitectura, will put the city on the international map, allowing it to become part of the network of world renowned opera houses. As another node in the network, the I-Opera, the title of their project, will not only be integrated on an international level, but it will also serve as a landmark on the local level. It will be present in the collective memory of the people of Busan and also be a part of their daily life experience. More images and architects’ description after the break.
As an elitist programme, the targeted user-group for an Opera house is very exclusive. This has been transcended through the concept of accessibility; transparency and communication are key concepts in our proposal, be it physically, visually or programmatically.
The site and the building are made physically accessible through pedestrian and vehicular pathways and a drop-off area has been provided for maritime access. By engaging the sea with the city, not merely visually, but also physically, the core of the I-Opera houses an open and apparent public space. A multitude of functions have been introduced through the building; they range from the public bamboo “forest” around the site, to the public pool in the heart of the building, to the specialized shopping area, exhibition space, a cafeteria, a high-end restaurant, and a children’s playing zone.
Structurally, the box acts as a stage structure from which three entities are hung: the opera house and its facilities, the exhibition space, and a multifunctional block with a specialized shopping space, a convention space, etc. On the ground floor, the project is made up of three main functions: The Opera house (ritualistic space), the open public core and the flexible theatre that connects with an outdoor platform where boundaries between inside and outside are blurred.
From the heart of the building, three emphatic escalators offer the visitor the choice to reach the different activities of the building. Passing through the concave exhibition space, a circular ramp connects the lobby to a public outdoor podium on top of structure. A translucent skin and a continuous flow of circulation allow a dialogue between the building and its surroundings but also within the building itself. The latter, like in an opera, can incorporate different performances at the same time: a pop concert, a conference, a Puccini opera, and a swimming race or a ballet.
Like an all-seeing eye, the space on the rooftop has a 360? panoramic view of the city and the ocean, and of the multiple activities taking place around the project. It allows the visitor to be more than a mere spectator (at the exhibition, the opera, the concert…), but also to be part of the performance, whereby spectator and actor become confused. The I-Opera becomes a medium for life and performance to intertwine, making the visitor’s experience of the space much more real, authentic and interactive.
Building in a sustainable way is vital to the future of construction and to the well-being of society’s future. Sustainable construction is a fundamental part of the client’s and design teams approach to this project and has influenced its design. This has focused on three main areas minimizing material use, embodied Carbon and Carbon emissions.
The key to reducing CO? emissions in any building is to address how energy is used. Reducing energy demand within this building has been the primary driver for its design. This has influenced the building’s form which is known to be the greatest influence over the long term energy performance. Where possible, the building’s energy use has been kept to a minimum as this directly impacts the quantity and capacity of renewable or low emission energy sources required.
The aim is not only to reduce CO? emissions, but also to achieve a higher level of its absorption. For that reason, the site will be planted with bamboos, a material that absorbs 35% more CO? than other plants. (Francisco Gallo Mejia) Bamboo is a local material that is known for its strength and resistance and because it is a grass rather than a wood, it grows far more quickly than a tree. The plant’s extensive root system continually grows underground and it replenishes itself naturally, as grass does. Unlike trees, bamboo will regenerate quickly, making it a renewable resource.
Bamboo is one of the most versatile and sustainable building materials available. It is exceedingly strong for its weight and can be used both structurally and as a finish material. Planting a ¨forest¨ of bamboos around the site puts forth its remarkable qualities and characteristics. The versatile characteristic of bamboo will also be exhibited through the display of music instruments crafted from bamboo.
LED Eco-friendly Media Wall
The building works as a self-sufficient organic system, harvesting solar energy by day and using it to illuminate the screen on façade after dark, mirroring a day’s climatic cycle. A famous example of this technology is the Media Wall in Beijing with its first venue dedicated to digital media art. It offers the first radical example of sustainable technology applied to an entire building’s envelope to date.
Each façade is divided into sections of approximately 1m wide by means of vertical steel pillars. Within these areas, LED panels are managed by a central PC that can change the building’s skin according to needs (entertainment, advertising, culture, information and projection screens for events).
Architects: Nabito Arquitectura
Location: Busan, South Korea
Assigned Typology: Private – Public
Project: Project design
Client: Busan Metropolitan City, S. Korea
Project phase: International Idea Competition.
Surface: 60,000 m2
Collaborators: Agita Putnina, Furio Sordini, Alessandro Costantini, Lina Gronskyte, Dana Mazaarani, Daniel Ghutler, Liva Vilcina
Architect: Line and Space, LLC
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Project Year: 2008
Project Size: 25,000 SqFt
Client: City of Phoenix
Contractor: Linthicum Constructors Inc.
Structural Engineer: Caruso Turley Scott
Civil Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
MEP Engineer: Energy Systems Design
Landscape Architect: McGann and Associates
Photography: Bill Timmerman, Henry Tom
Line and Space, LLC was founded in 1978 in Tucson, Arizona by Les Wallach, FAIA, to facilitate the design and building of environmentally sensitive architecture that respects and responds to existing site conditions. Their strive for quiet integration of structure and landscape make for projects that encourage and demonstrate notions of sustainability and environmental stewardship. Line and Space are students of regional influences and favor the deeper meaning of entry sequence, scale, materials, color and form, all of which are important in successful architecture.
Line and Space’s design for the Cesar Chavez Regional Library is grounded in the beliefs and sensibilities of the firms manifesto. Designed to accommodate up to 40,000 visitors per month, this new 120,000-volume library for the City of Phoenix is located adjacent to an existing lake in a public park. Phoenix, now the sixth largest American city, prides itself on providing exceptionally designed libraries to foster communities with information resources and works of the imagination. Completed January 2008, the Cesar Chavez Library is one of four new regional libraries to be constructed for the City.
Located within one of the fastest growing areas of Phoenix, the Village of Laveen, and due to the density of nearby housing, the park becomes the backyard for the community, and in the same sense, the library was designed to be its living room. An interior place for interaction of families and friends, as well as a space for individual family members to grow into their personal roles within family and society. There are comfortable, specially accommodated interactive and learning areas for children, teens and adults to enjoy reading and other areas of personal growth and exploration.
- 140,000 volumes (books, CD’s, DVD’s, periodicals)
- Estimated 750,000 circulating items/year
- Public computers with internet access
- Wireless internet access
- Computer training lab
- Automated self-checkout service
- Children’s Area with intimate story room, interactive displays, dedicated computer stations, and homework help area
- Teen Center, christened “R3” for “Read Relax Rejuvenate” by students at the adjacent local high school, with high-tech amenities such as MP3 listening stations, a plasma-screen TV for DVD viewing in a semi-enclosed lounge, and dedicated computer stations.
- 75-seat community meeting room
Environmental Design Features
- Site Integration
Reflecting the geometry of the adjacent lake, the arced form of the library is pushed into an existing earth mound, quietly integrating it into the public parkscape. The earth provides thermal mass against the building (moderating building temperature, minimizing heating and cooling energy use) in addition to privacy and a barrier from noise emanating from major arterial traffic.
Through appropriate orientation, glazing at the north and south of the building allows natural daylight to fill interior space. The west elevation is designed with no windows to mitigate direct solar heat gain, reducing demand on the mechanical system. Deep overhangs over all windows protect from the harsh desert summer sun.
Overhangs extend the usability of outdoor spaces by providing shade over seating and gathering areas as well as a zone of thermal and visual transition from the hot, bright exterior to interior space. Site paving is kept to a minimum and shaded by major building overhangs and native Palo Verde, reducing the heat island effect.
- Natural Daylighting
Daylighting in public and staff areas minimizes the use of conventional lighting and provides occupants with a connection to the surrounding outdoors.
- Tempered Microclimate
A large overhang coupled with reuse of building exhaust air provides a tempered microclimate in the outdoor reading patio. Adjustable spot diffusers allow users to fine-tune their individual environment increasing the patio’s comfort and usability in Phoenix’s desert climate.
- Materials/Building Life Cycle
Concrete masonry, steel and aluminum were selected for their clean appearance, durability, low maintenance, ability to be recycled and local availability. These materials coupled with the open plan design allows for long-term flexibility and adaptability over time, increasing the service life of the project. Minimal use of interior partitions in public areas allows for easy modifications to shelving and furnishing layouts as the Library grows and changes to accommodate future needs. Total post-consumer or post-industrial recycled content exceeds 10%.
- Water Harvesting
All rainwater from the 37,000 sf roof is collected and stored in the adjacent lake for use in park and landscape irrigation. This quantity balances the total water used for toilet flushing during the year. Condensate from mechanical units is also harvested and used for landscape irrigation.
- Cooling/Heating System
The high-efficiency mechanical system is controlled by an automated energy management system (EMS) and contains no CFC-refrigerants. All units of the mechanical system are equiped with economizers that take advantage of the cool desert mornings and winters to conserve electricity.
In addition to recycling, carpooling and bicycling programs, the Library will feature an environmental education program that demonstrates how the design of the library responds to its environment. The Cesar Chavez Library has been selected from a nationwide search as one of ten American Landmark Libraries by Library Journal, the most respected publication covering the library field, and is one of the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment’s (COTE) Top Ten Green Projects for 2008, a national award given annually to projects that exemplify sustainable design and construction. The project is LEED Silver certified.
In this earnest and insightful video, NAi director Ole Bouman lectures on our shared need to “celebrate architecture’s glory.” The lecture was recorded in June 2011 at the International Architecture Festival (“FESTARCH“).
Bouman first discusses his attempts to increase public engagement at the NAi, “reinventing the role of the architectural institution.” Through interactive exhibitions and capital improvements, the reconfigured institute tries to make architecture “something bigger than life, monumental in it’s own right.” In a related sidebar, Bouman also discusses NAi’s deliciously Baudrillardian “Urban Augmented Reality” smartphone app. The program allows Rotterdammers to interact with past, present, and possible cityscapes through an innovative, crowd-sourced georeferenced photo-database. Part of the wider phenomenon of augmented reality (AR) applications, the program offers a fascinating new way for the public to learn about and perhaps even influence architecture’s role in constructing the urban realm.
The remainder of the lecture focuses on how “after the party… which we deserve so much because we work so hard,” presumably FESTARCH, ”we have to think about what is the subject matter of architecture today.” That subject matter takes the form of “ARCHITECTURE OF CONSEQUENCE,” a seven-point program for designing a healthy, happy, and sustainable future. These seven “main drivers” for contemporary architectural inspiration include food distribution, health, energy use, land use reform, time, social cohesion, and value creation. Also included in the lecture are examples of projects focusing on Bouman’s seven points.
One wonders if Bouman’s call to arms is really the wake up call it portendeds to be or is in fact a kind of concession. Sunstainability is so mainstream that there is little point in simply calling attention to new social and environmental concerns, what we really want to know now is what we can do about them. With this in mind, Bouman’s lecture is more pedagogical than didactic; the methodology Bouman discusses renders the architect subservient to causes originating outside of the field.
The small variety of projects shown as realizations of Bouman’s points derive their virtues from advances in fields where architects have little expertise or efficacy: energy distribution, the development of cultural capital, farming, and finance. There is certainly something worthwhile in helping causes to realize themselves spatially, but this leaves little agency for architects themselves. It is as if to say that there is little we can do as a field aside from to help others realize their goals, and that “architecture’s glory” is in it’s ability to serve as a vehicle for change. What does Bouman intend to say about the field itself in arguing the best ambition for architects of “CONCEQUENCE” is to serve as midwives for the zeitgeist? Any student of architectural history can agree that ours has always been a greatness with caveats; perhaps this Bouman’s way of making that point.