Rendering of building Exterior (North Side)
Rendering of building exterior (South-East Side)
Rendering of Patio area
Rendering of the Open Plan Office
Rendering of the Climbing Wall & Reception
(Attempted) Rendering of Cafe Area
Key / Essential / Unique Design Features
My building has a lot of unique design features (interior rock climbing wall, workshop space, etc.) which are outlined in my journal entries throughout the semester and the video attached to this entry. I have summarized a few key ones below:
My three story atrium provides both solar heating in winter months, and natural ventilation to cool the building in the hot summer months. The wooden shades can be adjusted to block direct sunlight and thus minimize solar heating during hot months, while the operable windows that span the three sides, allow for coolin through the ‘stack effect’. Hot air rises in the building, and is expelled at the top, due to the pressure difference from the cooler air entering on the ground floor.
Ground Radiant Floor Heating:
Radiant floor heating has been used in the atrium and main lobby, to keep heating localized to the area people will utilize, rather than heating the entire three-story space. This is a more efficient solution that helps minimize the building’s EUI.
A key design feature of my HVAC system is that I am utilizing an outdoor AHU, that is placed between the slanted roof and the office ceiling. This shelters the unit from any weathering, prolong its service life. Additionally, it allows me to maximize the roofs solar panel surface, and in my opinion looks better aesthetically.
I have two independent HVAC loops. In the 3D render below, you can see the two building wings are serviced by the main outdoor AHU, with a main branch that rungs down the diffreent floors through mechanical rooms. VAV boxes are utilized to allow for individual temperature set points for the exhibition spaces and the office space.
Thes second HVAC loop is serviced by a smaller indoor AHU, as it services smaller rooms like restrooms and corridors.
Suspended Baffle Ceiling:
A design feature I am fond of, is my suspended timber baffle ceiling. This allows me to hide the beams, ducts and diffusers from sight, giving the building interior a more clean and natural look. Additionally, the wide spacing (300mm) between the slats allows for sufficient air flow through the ceiling.
A key feature of my building concept is that it contains an auditorium in the top floor. This provides the building with more functional flexibility, as it can host conferences, guest lectures and drama performances. The key challenge with this design, was the slanted roof and beam systems to ensure there is enough headroom in the upper seats.
My Big Successes & the lessons I learnt from them:
- Dont be afraid to try something new/different: For example, I combined both a traditional HVAC system with a floor heating system. While mixed heating systems in the same building may seem unconventional, this was the most efficient solution provided by buildings dimensions and use. Sometimes trying a combination of solutions can be more effective than sticking to a more common single solution.
- Adjust as you go along, dont get bogged down by details: I had to adjust my mechanical rooms for example after I installed my HVAC system, as at the time of creating my building envelope, I hadn’t considered the ideal location of my main branch. The same happened with my restrooms. This is a natural part of the process however. Like Prof. Katz mentions with clashes, if they are not critical, focus on getting the general design down, and then fine-tune/adjust these at a later stage.
- Keep your design goals in mind: I believe my biggest successes came from my ability to fulfill most of my design goals. Having stated them clearly early in the project, gave me a directional guidance tool when I came to design crossroads. In the end, my building design has achieved a Net Zero EUI, has plenty of social and green spaces, and utilizes a lot of natural resources. Additionally, my building location was chosen with public transport and accessibility in mind.
- Do your research: There are some great online resource and tools that provide information about potentially green construciton materials, natural ventilation systems, etc. Utilizing these helped me come up with a more sustainable design (eg: Using sheeps wool insulation, which was not present in Revit).
My Big Challenges:
- HVAC System: Out of all the design challenges, the HVAC system was by far the most complex. It took a lot of planning and sketching up, before starting, to ensure an efficient solution was found. With a slanted roof and plenty of beams and columns scattered across the building, it was challenging to route the ducts without any clashes. Additionally, running the ducts into the AHU units proved to be especially frustrating, in particular when there was limited space indoors.
- Video Rendering: Unfortunatley my laptop was not powerful enough to render high quality images or videos of the building design. After plotting out a walkthrough route of the building, it would crash whenever I attempted to render it with ‘realistic mode’ selected. Only wireframe would work, but this was a bad way to present the building. In the end, using the AutoDesk coordination program, and the first person tool, ended up providing a maneagble workaround. Unfortunately the video came out somewhat glitchy, with some materials not showing, and a lot of flashing (appearing/disappearing) objects when I moved, but I think it did it’s job in presenting the interior of the building.