Design Journal Entry - Module 12 Wrap Up - Klay Li

Journal Entry For
Module 12 - Sharing Your Project

Klay Li



Replace this text with your reflections on your design journey through class from a higher level and share your insights about the entire experience. What were:

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

Compared to today's buildings, my ideal building should be smart and sustainable. In terms of building materials, I want to use them to be lighter and more sustainable. It is also important to use a more environmentally friendly energy system.

Another point needs to mention is the rate of space utilization. We should manage the space, that means we need to make the spatial layout of the building more reasonably and create more rooms for the users.


Solar energy and green roof. By substantially reducing the amount of heat loss and gain, improving structural integrity and increasing property value, a green roof can be financially significant. In a long-term way, green roof is a good method to reduce CO2. From the picture below, we can see there are a lot of areas covered by greens, which also increases the rate of space utilization.

  • Conceptual Mass Models

Here, I created two models with different shapes. To keep it simple, the first one is just a very simple block shape building with two stories. The second model is the same shape but has a 40ft x 40ft hollow shape in it. To eliminate the influence of different surface areas, I kept the area of both buildings as 25,000ft2, and dimension of 100ft x 125ft by each floor. The two masses are shown below:


Compare the two different designs, by using Solar insolation analysis, the energy saving for project1 is a little bit higher than project2. From my own perspective, that’s reasonable because in model 2 we actually increased the surface area. For the extra part of area, we need to place more solar panels to take advantage of, which increases the payback years from 11.3 years to 14.5 years.

  • Building Layout Design

The building has a total dimension of 152 x 128ft, the main design items are shown in below. Other items can be found in the Excel sheet.

For the exhibition rooms, it needs to smoothly for people to move, avoid congestion. One way pass is preferred. Easily accessible to go in and go out. Could contain several sitting areas or passes for disabled people. Daylighting or lighting are both preferred.

For the lobby, good day-lighting system is preferred, but also need lighting in order to let people see clearly during night. Good connections to other places is required. Rest area is needed for temporary use. Close to the gift store.

For the atrium, better connection to the center of the building and the welcome lobby is needed. Provide a good view to all sub-parts of the building. Good lighting system since it's in the center of the building. Enough space to place several exhibits and rest area is necessary.

For the meeting room, good lighting or daylighting system is needed, need HVAC system to provide suitable temperature. Built in quite place, and be far away from the crowds. Soundproofing materials are preferred to minimize the noise.

For the open area and kid zone, good daylighting is preferred. Talking and communication is allowed. Provide drinking or movies for entertainments.

  • Roof

For the roof, I chose the EPDM deck as preliminary setting. I prefer the overlapping roof because it provides a good shade area of the building in the summer and prevents leak when the rain comes. Also, it takes less time to construct.

  • Walls

Glazing Wall: For the terrace, I designed a glazing wall for visitors to get better views. The glazing curtain wall let a lot of daylighting go inside the building. To let more daylighting goes into the building, the direction of this wall should be facing to the south.

Brick Walls: I used Exterior-Brick on CMU for other exterior walls.

  • Windows

For the windows, I used Double glazing 1/4 in thick - green/low E (e=0.2) glass. This type of glass has very low emissivity, which means less daylighting will be reflected by the window. Although the price of this type of window may be a little bit expensive, the trade off is we can take more advantage of the passive design.

  • Skylight

For the skylight, I used two pyramid shape skylight windows for the atrium because the atrium has a relatively large area, which means it will take more electricity for lighting. I want to take more advantage of the passive design analogy, so I increased the skylight area for the atrium.

For the space where we put a glazing wall, I didn’t set any skylight since those places already have sufficient daylighting income. For other places like offices, I think it’s a good idea to use more daylighting.

  • Green Roof

I considered green roof to take maximize use of the sunlight. The properties of the green roof is shown as following. The thermal mass is about 20.3 BTU/ft2F, which looks pretty good.

  • Shading

I extend the roof area as my building shading. Usually, the south side of the building can obtain more sunlight than the north side. So, in case of the hot weather during summer time, I expended more roof towards to the south. Also, the mullion system can increase the shading area.

  • Structural design

For my overall strategy of building design, I’m considering minimize the beam spans to make the beam deflection as small as possible to keep the building safe. The following is showing the girds I added for the building features. In the atrium area, I’m avoiding any conflict with any beam or girder system to maximize the view inside the building. The components such as beams, girders, columns, floors etc. were being considered.

  • HVAC System for Cooling and Heating

Heating system and strategy

For the active heating system type, I would use air-based ducted heating systems as the transfer medium to distribute heat throughout the building. This type of heating system is typically less expensive to install compared to other options, and it can be integrated with a central air conditioning system. AS mentioned in the overall strategy, using high thermal mass of floors, internal heat gain, as well as passive solar direct gain (glazing walls) will all contribute to the heating passive design.

Cooling system strategy

From the building envelope aspect, I made a bigger roof to shade the sun during cooling seasons. Also, the green roof which I designed can also absorb some heat to cool down the temperature of the building. For the active design aspect, to be aligned with the heating system, I decided to also use air-based ducted cooling systems. Air-based ducted heating systems use air as the transfer medium to distribute heat throughout the building. This type of heating system is typically less expensive to install compared to other options, and it can be integrated with a central air conditioning system.

Duct Layout

  • Plumbing System

For the walls, I used two 5” generic walls to create a middle space for letting the piping system pass through and I used Toilet Partition walls to isolate each toilet and urinal.

For the Plumbing Model, I used three different kinds of supply piping systems, they domestic hot/cold waters and sanitary systems. For all three different systems, I used copper for the pipe material to decrease the skin friction and drag force during the fluid flows.


It’s worth to mention that, the sanitary piping system are designed as sloped, that’s because for most of buildings the sanitary pipes are placed under the floor to make sure the flow can easily pass thru. For future design, a water reuse for grey water collecting system can be used for sustainable reasons. However, from my own perspective, it can cause extra cost for a short design life building like exhibition center.

The biggest challenge was to figure out the connections between different piping system, it was not easy to find a perfect way to connect all piping systems without any intersection and room conflicts. It’s necessary to adjust them over and over again, which is kind of fussing.

  • Lighting System

A building's lighting system is an essential component that provides illumination and aesthetic appeal. It comprises lighting fixtures, switches, a lighting and appliances panelboard, and plugs. Lighting fixtures provide the main source of light, switches control them, the panelboard distributes electrical power, and plugs connect appliances. Proper installation and maintenance of these components are necessary for a safe and effective lighting system.

  • Your Big Challenges

One of the most significant challenges I've faced while learning Revit has been mastering the HVAC system and generating accurate energy model reports. Designing and implementing a functional and efficient HVAC system requires a deep understanding of piping and duct connections, as well as the ability to visualize how they interact within the building's framework. Moreover, creating realistic renderings of the completed project is an essential aspect of presenting the design to stakeholders and ensuring that the final result meets their expectations. As I continue to hone my skills in Revit, I am committed to overcoming these challenges, allowing me to produce increasingly complex and sustainable designs that contribute positively to the built environment.

  • Your Big Successes and Lessons Learned

As someone who had never touched Revit before, I am incredibly proud of my recent success in mastering the software's fundamental operations. Delving into the complex world of building design, I gained a deep understanding of the intricate processes involved and the importance of various systems working harmoniously. This experience has taught me the value of careful planning and the significance of thinking twice before taking action. Moreover, I've learned to be patient when things don't go as planned, persevering through challenges to ultimately achieve my goals. Embracing these lessons, I am now better equipped to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of architectural design and technology.

Video Presentation / Tour of Your Project Features

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