For my final design journal entry, I’d like to give an overview of what went well, and what could have gone better. In a general sense, the thing that could have most "gone better," is that I could have had more time to design each of the systems. By the time I was able to wrap my head around a system, and start to analyze it to start refining my initial attempt into something more effective and efficient, it was time to move on to the next system. Such is the nature of a project like this. It will never be perfect, and can always be worked on further and improved.
On the whole, I'm satisfied how it turned out. It began as an idea for a facility to help ACI meet their mission:
“To promote the long-term conservation of turtle, tortoise and terrapin populations across the African continent through research, education, and grassroots collaboration.”
And I think I did a decent job adhering to those goals. At the highest level, I divide the space into two areas, the rear, private space, and the front, public space. The “research” will take place in the private space, the “collaboration”and “education” will largely take place in the public space. There is also hybrid space that straddles the two: a working lab that can be viewed from the public space on the first floor, and two classrooms on the second floor that overlook the public space.
Since time in the class was limited, I decided to spend most of my time and energy on the public space. This was for many reasons, including…
- It accounts for most of the space of the total structure
- It’s wide-open, cavernous spaces present interesting challenges for each of the building systems
- It’s more unique and interesting than the relatively straight-forward office space in the private area.
For my final presentation, I also focused on the public space:
Presentation Slides: http://a360.co/1TZ6fTD
Specific Things I Liked:
Atrium- I really like the atrium for many reasons. It’s instrumental for the natural ventilation plans, as a place for hot air to collect, and be flushed out. It allows for plantings of significant size to be incorporated in the café (although I didn’t find a huge single tree in the Revit library that could serve as my Baobab tree stand-in). Use of fritted glass on the glazed roof stopped a fair amount of the solar heat gain. I think my design could have been strengthened with more skylights. This is especially true in the front portion of the public space (with the dry enclosures) where the roof isn’t so high as to obviate the usefulness.
Natural Ventilation with Atrium
Mechanical ventilation path in public space
Thermal Mass to Damp Temperature Swings- I designed the walls to maximize the thermal mass within the thermal envelope.
The approximate totals for thermal mass in the public space are…
Slab: 540,000 Btu/◦F
Walls: 80,000 Btu/◦F
Balcony: 5,000 Btu/◦F
Water in Tanks: 1,000 Btu/◦F
For a total of approximately 625,000 Btu/◦F. The peak cooling load in the public space is 617,000 Btu/hr and occurs in September at 9am. Early morning is the time of day when a cool slab and cool walls (from a night flush) would be most effective in controlling temperature. That the thermal mass in the space exceeds the peak cooling load is a promising result.
Things I didn’t like as much, or would look into further given infinite time:
HVAC in the central core- I don’t really like how I solved the problem of ventilation in the public restrooms and kitchen space. I’m not sure what the solution should have been (Perhaps tying that into the HVAC system in the office space) but I know that I don’t like the huge amounts of ducting that resulted. In general, my HVAC solutions weren’t as elegant as I would have liked. I’m not sure what I could have done differently in the early design phases to set the stage for a more logical, clean HVAC layout. As it turned out, the result was more chaotic and ad-hoc than I would have liked.
Acoustics in the public space- It would probably be a very loud echo chamber, especially with the dining space being totally open within the exhibitions space. If the building were at capacity, with a solid percentage of screaming children included, there would need to be some way to deaden the sound and prevent endless echoes.
Plumbing in the wet exhibits- This would likely take the form of some serious drains and sanitary piping. Since the drains would have to be in the floor, this would probably take the form of a pumping station to elevate the waste water and allow it to tie into the main drain.
Efficacy of proposed system of natural ventilation- The proposed system makes intuitive sense, but I would really like to analyze it to confirm that it functions as designed. I was unable to get to this in the course of the course.
Here is my integrated Bim360Glue Model:
For Viewing Online:
For Viewing in Bim360 Desktop:
I did clash detection to clear the plumbing and mechanical models with the structure. There are no longer any clashes between these three model. There are still 500+ clashes between the architectural model and structural. These would obviously need to be checked and dismissed or addressed before the design could be considered anywhere near complete.
Here are my A360 Models…
View from the outside.
View from catwalk toward entryway
View from touch tank area, looking up towards café and atrium
View from catwalk
View from upstairs classrooms overlooking public space