Raul Sanchez

Journal Entry For
Module 11 - Sharing Your Project


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.

I consider the VRF system for HVAC and the greywater system for plumbing the main and most impactful features of the building. Added to the green roofs and photovoltaic panels in both blocks, these create a building that takes advantage of efficiency in almost every aspect of it. These features were essential to reach the EDGE Certification, which was one of the main goals of the project. The building has shear walls around the elevators, 30 cm CMU with plastering for the perimeter and 10 cm CMU for the interior walls. It also consists of slabs of steel panel with concrete for lighweight floors, therefore smaller beams; also a steel clad sandwich panel plus earth and grass (green roof) for a well thermal isolated roof.

I believe that natural lighting is a great feature designed for the building. There are few areas were natural lighting does not reach at all, one of them are the restrooms.


To avoid massive heat transfer, the front of the building blocks where most of the curtain walls are, was covered by a wall of brise soleil in both sides. The purpose was to capture the heat coming in while allowing the sunlight to light up the rooms. In case that is not enough, all of the curtain walls are built with triple glazed low-e coated glass (SC=0.2) to block as much heat transfer as possible. These come in handy for hot seasons like January-March in Samborondon.

Natural ventilation was considered for 2 "Exhibition Spaces", an open food court in one side and an exhibition space/kids zone on the other side. Also, the outdoor bridges between the 2 blocks.


Another essential feature for my building was to be able to blend it with nature, give the feeling of being in a sustainable place to the visitors, more than just a building, especially since it will be located in a "new" sustainable city. Its location next to the Babahoyo River helps the building to get closer to become an emblematic building for the new city. It has bike parking to promote healthy activities and transportation.

  • Your Big Successes -- what worked very well and what features you're most proud to share as examples to inspire others.

One of the main successes is the fact that the building is actually elegible to receive the EDGE Certification (EDGE Advanced in Energy), accomplishing one of the main goals I set at the beginning:

"It will be designed based on the EDGE Certification parameters for sustainability since it is more achievable based on its location in Ecuador... Achieve a very minimum of 30% reduction in energy consumption, 20% reduction of water usage and embodied energy of materials used for the building, compared to the baseline consumption in Ecuador"


For the mean energy the building got below the ASHRAE 90.1 which is a good indicator.


Another factor I consider was essential throughout the design was the importance of pre designing by thinking ahead. This helped me especially for the plumbing system. I considered this from the beginning to be able to make it simpler at the time of adding plumbing. By stacking the bathrooms on top of each other in each floor, I was able to save time designing and space in the building for piping. However, with this said, there are other things I wish I considered before the actual design.

Also, doing 2 equal building blocks to make one whole building worked well for me. It was inspired in The Interlace of Singapore and the idea behind this was to have one work-oriented building (administration, offices, conference rooms, exhibitions) and one leisure-oriented building (food court, kids zone, exhibitions). By focusing in only one building made it a lot easier to design, afterwards I just had to mirror the block and do the small changes in the rooms as needed in the other one. Luckily I got all the spaces I wanted to include in the buildings, there was no need to do big modifications in the layouts.

  • Your Big Challenges -- what aspects of the project created the biggest challenges and what would you do differently (in hindsight) to avoid or overcome these challenges.

The biggest challenges in my project was placing the columns and dimensioning the beams. I had to change the dimensions of some rooms based on the columns and even made the perimeter walls thicker to be able to hide them. About the beams, it was a challenge to made it work with the HVAC ducts which made me re route the ducts and increase the floor level heights. It was hard to place columns based on the rooms I had in my layout since I did not want to place any in the middle of a room but also avoid having spans of 8m or more.

  • Lessons Learned -- what sage words of advice would you share with other students who are embarking on a similar project.
    • Consider enough space for electrical and mechanical rooms.
    • Try to keep the walls in the same grids as much as possible. I had to create way to many grids because the rooms were not aligned to just one grid.
    • Consider enough height between floor levels.
    • Try to keep the core rooms in the center of the building. This means less piping and ducts, therefore, less cost of construction.
    • Consider every option in Insight to optimize the project as much as possible.
    • VERY important to have a good coordination between the different designs (arch, structural, mechanical, plumbing).

Video Presentation / Tour of Your Project Features

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