Key / Essential / Unique Design Features
From the initial development of the project, the idea was to create a sustainable building model for an exhibition center located in Mexico City, Mexico. The place was designed to be a museum of nature that meets humanity and to incorporate different elements that allowed to have an open space that mixed with the green outdoors of the Santa Fe location chosen and the building structure. For this, the building has double glazed/low-e curtain wall panels facade, double ceiling hallways, balconies, big open windows, and a deck area that permit the user to be integrated with the wilderness.
In addition to design elements, there were sustainability aspects that I wanted to pursue and highlight within my building. For that, the building has an east-west orientation that permits the entry of the sun on the south facing exterior, PV panels were included in the top ceilings of the building to reduce energy usage, steel elements instead of concrete for the structural design were implemented to reduce the carbon emissions related to construction and allow for the reuse of the material after the building's life cycle, and wooden floor were utilized in outdoor spaces as a more sustainable material.
The big successes of the exhibition center are mostly related to the building's envelope design strategy and the incorporation of them with the structural elements. In my perspective, the open design of the building came through with a lot of similarities to the initial one and shows a very modern, minimalistic exhibition center that doesn't disrupt its environment but merges into it. For this, the structural steel elements were allocated in places that would not bother users and go along with the contemporary layout and the different curtain walls integrated.
With this, I believe I have created a design that relates a lot to a common structure we would find in the real world instead of an "easy to model design" that just fulfilled the project's prompt. The building's odd internal shape, its different cores, outdoors and open spaces go along perfectly with the initial idea thought out for this process.
Your Big Challenges
The most challenging aspects were to pursue till the end the sustainability elements planned with the time limitations of the project. For example, I would have liked to have reduced even more the energy usage of the building and implemented a more effective HVAC system with the integration of more passive solar design strategies. Also, I would have liked to have included the vertical garden I had initially thought out and be able to analyze correctly the energy usage of my building with the inclusion of the PV panels.
Also, for future designs, I have in mind the importance of planning out correctly the building layout to reduce future problems such as the size of the mechanical rooms for the pipe and HVAC systems. Because of my inefficiency once the modeling for them had started it was a bit harder than usual to implement these designs correctly and more time had to be spent for it to make sense with the building's layout.
- The HVAC system is directly related to the design strategy of the building and it's an important aspect for the diminishment of the energy usage and the beauty and simplification of the ducts.
- Location of bathrooms, restrooms, and other places with water usage need to be thought out having in mind the pipe system that is going to be implemented later on to increase the efficiency of it and plan out a design that makes sense in the real world.
- Location of the equipment rooms and its size is also of importance for the same reasons mentioned before.
- The ceiling height is also of relevance considering the need of cooling strategies needed for the building. Even though having higher ceilings increments the cost of the building and the energy usage considering the increment in thermal mass it gives, a designer with sustainability in mind has to also think to expand this in other to fit the duct system of the HVAC.
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