Key / Essential / Unique Design Features : I focused on natural daylighting and ventilation, walkability and a sense of openness with large spaces. This included a South facade with mostly windows (curtain wall) and a terrace, a large lobby and atrium in the center of the building with an interior garden (enclosed by curtain walls and with a skylight on top) that people could walk around, and operable windows and corridors for air to come into the building. I also wanted to implement water collection and recycling.
- Your Big Successes : I think I most proud of the South facade, with its glazing and terrace, and of the garden in the middle of the atrium. In general, it's all tied to the common center area of the building, and where its light come from (both from its South opening and its skylight). I was able to add a greywater system to the restrooms which I was happy about.
- Your Big Challenges : The very large open spaces that I wanted for my building did not make it easy, or rather made it pretty complicated, when it came to designing the structure. I couldn't quite figure out how to carry weight over very long distances without cutting my spaces with structural columns. My HVAC system also was not optimized at all, and if I were to design it again, I would do it differently, but it's part of the learning experience. As for water collection, I would have liked an innovative shape for my building envelope but I had to simplify my design ideas for modeling purposes.
- Lessons Learned : Overall, the main challenge for me was to handle Revit because I did not have previous experience. I had to simplify the design I had thought of initially. It was sometimes frustrating to come up with something simple that still wouldn't work somehow, but I realize now that I learnt a lot despite what I felt when I was working. So my words of advice would be to be realistic with what you can possibly design. On the one hand, allow yourself to have creativity on some specific design ideas because it's motivating to do something different. One the other hand, be aware that if you're a beginner, the learning curve can be steep, and that it's not simplifying some aspects of the design does not mean you're learning less. It is easier to stay motivated with a simpler design that comes together into a working model than a tricky one which doesn't. (At least from my perspective).
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