Design Journal Entry - Module 1

Journal Entry For
Module 1 - Design Inspirations & Big Feature Ideas
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Jan 17, 2023 11:17 PM
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Jan 18, 2023 7:10 AM
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Project Overall Theme: Sustainable Design

Studying Sustainable Design and Construction, it is no surprise that the key theme to my project will be around the concept of sustainable building design. The term ‘sustainability’ however, is a very broad term, and I will be specifying some key design aspirations and ideas to help narrow down my project goals.

  1. Zero Energy Building

The first design idea is surrounding the concept of zero-energy buildings. As I am currently taking CEE 256, I want to apply the sustainable building systems we are discussing to this project. More specifically, I want to integrate passive solar and wind features wherever possible, to create a high performance building at a low environmental cost.

Some of these potentially innovative and passive features include:

  • Natural ventilation: The photograph below is of the London Velodrome, which was built for the London 2012 Olympics. During my undergraduate studies, I was lucky enough to visit this facility and study it’s design. As part of the Olympics ‘zero waste’ commitment, the Velodrome was built iwth 100% sustainbly-sourced timber, and is 100% naturally ventilated (ie no air-conditioning was needed), due to the open slits along the buildings perimeter (seen in the photograph below). Both the use of locally sourced wood (depending on the undecided site location, this could be timber, bamboo, etc.) and the natural ventilation design are two things I would like to incorporate into my project
  • Natural materials: Outlined above


  • Natural lighting (windows): Large windows are an essential part of my design. They provide natural lighting and thus reduce the buildings energy demands, while connecting the the inside and outside areas visually. Additionally, by having tilt/openable windows, the building can be naturally ventilated.


  • Natural lighting (solar tubes): In order to reduce the need for luminaires during daylight hours, solar tubes will be used in the top floors to allow for natural lighting. They will reduce the energy usage of the building during its operating hours, while being low maintenance and easy to install. Additionally, they insulate the building better than skylights, which could be considered as a potential alternative for this project.

  • Light shelves: A simple and low cost method of helping natural light penetrate further into the building, saving on artificial lighting while providing the visitors with the obvious benefits of having natural light.
  • Photovoltaics: Given that exhibition spaes tend to have larger floorspace than residential houses, this provides a great opportunity to captilize on this space through the use of photovoltaics. By having flat roofs, and positioning the building in order to maximize sunlight, photovoltaics can be installed to help achive the net-zero target of the building.

  1. Integrate into Natural Landscape

Aesthetically, I have always admired buildings that integrate into the natural landscape. Having lived in both Singapore and Switzerland, two countries which place great importance on combining nature and architecture. Below are two of my favourite eamples of this, the first is the ParkRoyal Appartments in Singapore, and the second is a set of ‘Thermal Homes’ designed by Peter Vetsch in Switzerland.


The two examples may be somewhat excessive for a ‘simple’ exhibition building, however, their general concepts can still be applied. Wooden facades, like the one displayed in the photograph below, are something I would like to implement in my design, as it still allows in sunlight, however adds improved insulation in winter. Additionally, it is a durable, low carbon footprint solution which I believe to be aesthetically pleasing.


A final natural concept I’d like to list, is the use of ‘greenery’ in the overall design of the buildling. Green spaces like fields, gardens, green roofs and trees have aesthetic, environmental and health benefits that I would like to harness.


  1. Stress-free & Social Environment

My final big design idea, surrounds the important topics of mental health and social interaction. In todays urbanized world, it is important to consider the mental and social health of the occupants, when designing a building. This is particularly applicable in this case, as I am designing a social area in the form of an exhibition space.

‘Architecture of social interaction’ is a phrase that I love, and would like to reflect in my design. One way in which I want to achieve this, is by having staggered floors, that allow for outdoor, social areas. The example below depicts this well. By having each floor of the building reduce in floor space, this allows every floor to have an open space/balcony for social interaction, while still preserving the rooftop for PV panels.


While it might be somewhat early to consider the interior design, the large open spaces that are found in the lobbies of musuems, exhibition and event spaces could be utilized as an interactive, ‘play area’ for children (and depending on the design, even adults). By simply putting in some slides instead of stairs, or a bouldering/rockclimbing holds in the wall, the space can be converted into something exciting.


Another example of this, although not relevant for this project, but interesting nonetheless is the Copenhill powerplant in Copenhagen. Described as the cleanest waste-to-energy power plant in the world", it has been rennovated to add a turf-skiing slope on its rooftop, proving that having interactive and creative spaces can make even waste plants intruiging!