As the Sustainable Built Environment Learning & Exhibition Center will be located on Stanford’s campus in the heart of Silicon Valley of Sunny California, I wish to play around with the idea of solar energy as a renewable source of energy within the building.
I wish to base the plot and the footprint of the building in the shape of a sun dial, as shown in the image below. This would be a combination of indoor and outdoor spaces with a tall structure at one end that would act as a needle of the sun dial. Hence, the building itself would assert the learning environment idea and not just its exhibition pieces. Furthermore, I wish to assign certain areas in the building to art exhibitions that reflect that particular time of day. So, if the sun dial were to cast a shadow slightly left of the center by noon, then all the exhibition pieces on the left side of the building would reflect “fresh, energetic and morning” feels, while the right side would show pieces that reflect starry, vibrant and night vibes. I would love to play with the idea that people would move through the exhibition as the shadow casted by the sun dial moves. However, I may find that difficult to work with based on how to position the building on its terrain.
I have attached my two design inspirations below - one being Appolonia City in Accra, Ghana and the other, Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, Chicago.
The main reason the Appolonia City renderings (credit - SOM) inspire me is the representation that it undertakes. In the renderings, you can see two black girls wearing their traditional Kente cloth strolling around in a vibrant walkable community. Representation matters, especially in an industry where women and POCs have almost never had a voice.
The other inspiration shown below is the Obama Presidential Center. Having lived in the southside of Chicago for some part of my life, I have seen how gentrification can hurt communities. I love this project not for its aesthetics, but for the fact that 100% of the involvement on this project was by minority developers, designers and contractors. Sustainability for me involves structures that build towards social and racial equity.