Design Journal Entry - Module 12 Wrap Up - Cheryl Mulor

Journal Entry For
Module 12 - Sharing Your Project


3D Architectural View


North and South Elevations


East and West Elevations


Key / Essential / Unique Design Features that you explored in your project.

  • Curved building to increase views of the breathtaking landscape in the south side of the building. This curved shape also just meets the overall design aesthetic that I was going for without being overly complicated.
  • A green roof to increase overall green spaces within the building as well as act as a thermal mass for the building
  • Load bearing exterior and interior walls with columns in areas with a lot of open space like the lobby. The load bearing walls also had good insulation and used stone (locally sourced) with a plaster finish. The walls were also purposefully thick to act as thermal mass for the building
  • Use of curtain walls (more in the south) for daylighting as well as for views for the occupants. This really helps ensure occupant comfort within the building which is another lens of sustainability that I decided to really explore with this project.
  • Curtain wall mulions made from Bamboo which can be locally sourced and would be more sustainable than aluminum mulions. This also improves the overall aesthetic of the building.
  • Large overhangs (even larger) on the south side in order to provide the much needed shading especially in the summer when the sun is hot and high up in the sky. This helps with keeping cooling loads low in order to ensure that natural ventillation can be enough and effective for this building.
  • Open display spaces on all 3 levels - this is to ensure that even at peak times, there is still efficient air flow within the building
  • Natural ventilation - no mechanical HVAC system
  • Green balconies - to provide more outdoor spaces for occupants in level 2 and 3 of the building. These are also spaces that they can use to enjoy the breathtaking views of Mt Kenya and Aberdare ranges.

Your Big Successes

  • I am really proud to have found different design strategies that would help ensure that the bulding was fully naturally ventilated, as is many buildings in Kenya. This would be really helpful in helping keeping overall energy consumption of the building. Natural ventilation achieved by three main design strategies
    • Highly insulated building envelope ( walls + green roof)
    • Efficient shading throughout the building
    • Ventilation shafts to allow warm air to escape the building
    • Louvres at different levels (south and north facing interior and exterior walls) to allow cool air to enter the building and improve overall air flow and exchange
    • And even though, I didn’t add solar panels, I think that would help take this design to the next level and ensure that the building was fully and trully net zero. This is because, without heating and coolin systems, the energy consumption in highly reduced which makes it alot more possible to use renewable energy.

  • I also managed to make use of as much locally available materials as I could. The curtain wall mullions were made from bamboo. The walls were made from locally quarried stone which really helped reduce the concrete footprint in the building (only slabs were made from concrete)
  • The overall amount of green space (green roof + green balconies) was relativel high and the balconies especially would help provide as much access as possible to nature for the occupants.
  • I think the shading was also well executed - from the large overhangs, the green balconies as well as the vertical curtain wall shelves for the back of the building (north facing)

Your Big Challenges

  • Structural system: It was a little challenging to find a grid system for the building. It was especially challenging to design column and beam systems for the large open spaces where there were no load bearing walls. In the future, I would make sure that if the building could be made symetric is specific ways or spaces, it would be, to make it easier to desing the lay out the structural system. My building was meant to be a symmetric curvilinear building but because of rushed initial modeling, I wasn’t careful with how I laid out my dimensions.
  • For the plumbing system, I faced a challenge of fitting the pipes and pipe fitting within the walls which resulted in my having to do a lot of back and forth between the architectural model and the plumbing model to ensure that everything fit and that connections were made. In some cases, I ended up having fixture to pipe connections that might not be the most efficient. Looking back, I would pay more attention into how I design the walls that would have risers and other plumbing fittings.

Lessons Learned

  • Plan ahead - Having an idea of what your goals are and what type of systems could help you meet those goals can help save you a lot of time when modeling because, modeling should be more of execution and less of making nuanced decisions about the overall building desig
  • Always reference back to your design goals and tweak them as needed but at least make sure that the design is not deviating from your overall goals. I made sure to always check how my design was meeting my sustainability goals like natural lighting, natural ventilation , amount of green spaces etc.
  • Be on top of the work. Because of how busy my other classes were, it turned out to be more challenging than i had thought to do this. But even with the extensions given, it was still very important to make sure that I wasn’t overly procastinating so that I was able to give each module the time it needed. This class can easily turn from fun to excruciating amount of work if you don’t divy up the work in smaller time chunks.
  • Have fun with your design - don’t overcomplicate things to make sure that you are focusing on lerning the basics as opposed to getting bogged down in the details. If there are design goals that you have always wanted to explore, this is the class for it and there is so much support from the professor that can make it all possible. I enjoyed having the freedom of picking my own site and learning about designing for a place that I really care about -so pick a site or a design concept that you care about!!

Video Presentation / Tour of Your Project Features


Zoom recording

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