Archive for the ‘Building & Space Planning’ Category
Thursday, January 1st, 2015
Renovating and retrofitting existing buildings can increase their longevity, reduce their energy use and beautify or modernize.
With commercial buildings that need renovation, “usually the target is to have a result that’s aesthetically nice, healthy and at the least cost,” says Marc LaFrance, energy analyst, buildings sector, at the International Energy Agency. “If somebody comes from that approach but says, ‘I want the least-energy-consuming building possible within my budget,’ that would lead to a different set of measures.”
Thursday, December 25th, 2014
A jungle is green and leafy, and the urban jungle should be the same, right?
Since 2010, more people live in cities than in the countryside for the first time in human history. The trend is expected to speed up in developing countries, with more than 60% of the world’s population living in urban areas by mid-century, the United Nations predicts.
Bringing nature into cities can make urban environments more sustainable as well as more aesthetic, more comfortable, and healthier.
“Many architects today already claim to do green design, some to a greater level of authenticity than others. I contend that in the next five to 10 years just about every architect and student will do green design as second nature in their work,” says Ken Yeang, a principal with T.R. Hamzah and Yeang, a Malaysian architectural firm focusing on ecoarchitecture, and of Ken Yeang Design International in the U.K. “Green design is just one of the criteria for good design.”
Click to tweet: “#Greendesign will be second nature
for architects and students in the next 5-10 years”
Architects often see green design as a matter of certification, such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes, or the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) in the U.K. Beyond aiming for certification, “I take the holistic view of an ecologist,” he says. “I see green design as bio-integrating everything that we as humans make and do on the planet with the natural environment in a benign and seamless way.”
That requires integrating flora and fauna, water, humans, and the built environment in a holistic way. “We start design by looking at the ecology of the land and see how we can bring more nature back to a location and bio-integrate nature with the physical built environment,” Mr. Yeang says.
The Solaris, designed by Mr. Yeang and part of the Fusionopolis research and development park in Singapore, has more than 8,000 square meters (9,567 square yards) of landscaping—13% more than the original site—thanks to roof gardens, planted terraces, and a 1.5-kilometer (0.9-mile) ramp of continuous vegetation that spirals up the 15-story building’s facade, helping to insulate as well as offering a range of habitats that enhances the locality’s biodiversity.
“I design buildings as ‘living systems’ and as ‘constructed ecosystems,’” Mr. Yeang says. “It’s not just about green walls. I bring back the native fauna that are not hazardous to humans and match these with the native flora selected to attract the fauna, now set as ‘biodiversity targets’ in a matrix. With this, I create the local landscape conditions to enable flora and fauna to survive over the four seasons of the year.”
The idea is spreading. A primary school and gymnasium in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, now under construction, was designed by architects Chartier-Dalix to be covered with a living shell and house local flora and fauna.
Argentine architect Emilio Ambasz built a multi-use government office building in Fukuoka, Japan, with 14 one-story terraces that make the one-million-square-foot building look like a green hill rising from the park in front of it. Mr. Ambasz also renovated the headquarters of ENI in Rome with curtains of vegetation.
Basel, Switzerland, has required since 2002 that flat roofs be covered with vegetation, in part to save energy and in part to protect biodiversity. While the peregrine falcon, one of the first species on the U.S. endangered species list in 1974, rebounded in part through urban nesting programs to nearly 100,000 birds world-wide today, less-glamorous endangered species, from spiders to beetles, also benefit from the increase in habitat. In the U.K., the Bat Conservation Trust has published a landscape and urban design guide for bats and biodiversity.
A green exterior is nice, but what goes inside—the design and materials—are important, too. “The building and products sector are seeing that environmental issues are moving up the agenda,” says Martin Charter, professor of innovation and sustainability at the Centre for Sustainable Design at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, U.K. “Construction, buildings and building products are associated with high carbon dioxide emissions on a macro level and big end-of-life waste issues. The sector does have a big-life cycle impact, not just in extractive phase but at other stages of life cycle as well.”
Concrete produces as much as a tenth of industry-generated greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers studying the molecular structure of cement found that changing the recipe to 1.5 parts calcium for each part of silica would cut cement’s carbon emissions up to 60% while making the resulting material stronger.
Click to tweet: “Changing 1 ingredient in cement cuts
carbon emissions by 60% & results in stronger material”
Simple design considerations can make a building greener. The shape and the orientation can affect heating and cooling needs. Natural ventilation with mixed mode systems can alleviate the need for air conditioning even in tropical climates. Mr. Yeang designed the Menara Mesiniaga office building in Selangor, Malaysia, so even elevator lobbies, restrooms and stairwells in the 15-story building get natural ventilation and natural daylight.
Green design includes water management in rainfall harvesting and storing water, so potable water doesn’t have to be used to irrigate the vegetation. Design must close the water cycle within the site, combining water management, water reuse and recycling with sustainable drainage and constructed wetlands for black water treatment, he says.
“In nature, the only energy is from the sun. If we want to imitate nature, we should use only the sun,” Mr. Yeang says. “In nature, everything is recycled. Waste from one organism becomes the food for another. In human society, we have a throughput system where we use things and throw them away, but in fact, there is no ‘away’ in the biosphere—it just goes somewhere and pollutes the environment. If we imitate nature, we should have a closed system. As a design strategy, we need to study the attributes and properties of ecosystems as the basis for designing our built environment. When this becomes mainstream, there will be a stasis of nature with our built environment.”
Originally posted to Perspectives by Catherine Bolgar. For more from Catherine, contributors from the Economist Intelligence Unit along with industry experts, join The Future Realities discussion.
Click to tweet this article: “#GreenDesign
Brings Nature into the Urban Jungle”
Collaborative and Industrialized Construction Solutions from Dassault Systèmes
Thursday, December 18th, 2014
Say “architecture in the future,” and you’re likely to think of buildings with a radical design, like the Absolute World Towers near Toronto, which twist some 200 degrees from base to top. But while architecture in the future might still be a feast for the eyes, other senses and feelings are likely to get more satisfaction as well.
Absolute World Towers Mississauga, Ontario
“Over the last 100 years, architecture has been a conversation about style,” says David van der Leer, executive director of the Van Alen Institute, a New York-based nonprofit architectural organization dedicated to the belief that design can transform cities, landscapes, and regions to improve people’s lives.
“What still largely is lacking in the conversation is how do we actually respond to the spaces we inhabit. If we know how the mind or body responds to the city, we may look at completely different ways of designing buildings.”
Recently, the institute undertook a project to understand people’s reactions to the city around them. The researchers walked around New York with residents of that city to find out how one, for instance, responds to a busy intersection.
Often the subjects, who were wearing brain monitors, would respond that everything was fine, but “their brain activity says something else,” Mr. van der Leer explains. “If we don’t respond well to structures, why do we build them?”
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Click to tweet: “Designing a Sustainable and
Painless Public Transportation System”
Modul’Air, a finalist for the prestigious International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), offers a radical rethink of the urban mobility experience.
A central goal of the new public transportation system redesign was to harmonize human activity and nature in the French city of Grenoble.
Thursday, September 18th, 2014
When architects and planners work with owners, they usually accept a proposed site and think about how to arrange and orient a building on that site. They develop ideas about what the building should look like in some detail before engaging builders or construction managers in ideas about how the building will be delivered.
Then, if the project cost cannot be brought in line with the budget, another site or an existing building renovation is considered.
AEC teams tend to think first about what to build, then how to build, and finally where else they should think about building.
Thursday, July 10th, 2014
By Jonathan Mallie, Principal, SHoP Architects, and Managing Principal, SC (SHoP Construction).
Originally posted to Compass: The 3DEXPERIENCE Magazine.
Architecture is a highly collaborative business.
Keeping numerous stakeholders – owners, architects, engineers, general contractors, utilities, permitting agencies, fabricators, suppliers and subcontractors – on the same page is a daunting task.
With so many players, the industry’s traditional, tried-and-true method for communication has been to develop dense and detailed drawing packages, which are then rolled into tubes and delivered by courier or overnight mail. As soon as drawings are received changes occur, requiring the revision, production and delivery of an entirely new set.
Today, with international projects and teams spread across the globe, such as they are for the Botswana Innovation Hub in Gaborone, the importance of having an efficient and effective system for project communication is greater than ever.
Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
Instead of the linear, time-consuming 12-step process that most architectural planners cope with, here we propose an efficient, iterative planning process, which will also result in a superior design:
An Integrated Planning Process for the Architecture Industry
I. Functional Model
Create a single model that allows you to test your concepts, fail faster, and find the best options. This will enable you to present stronger concepts to your client.
Meanwhile, adapting to new data and feedback is crucial for an efficient planning process. As more information is collected and incorporated, your model should update accordingly.
Thursday, May 1st, 2014
It was late on a Saturday…
The team was in a design competition, working over the weekend to develop a design massing concept to meet a project brief. They’d worked all day Saturday to produce drawings for the competition boards, and switched gears to produce the reports to accompany the boards.
Just as they were about to paste in the space program spreadsheet, someone realized that the concept was 10% under the requirement for a key department.
This late in the process, the team leader decided to fake the numbers in the spreadsheet.
“I’m sure no one will notice, and I sure wish we didn’t have to, but we’re out of time,“ he thought.
The next evening, the design principal learned about the faked spreadsheet and he wasn’t happy. The team worked overnight Sunday to update the design, reproduce the drawings, and recreate the spreadsheet so it reflected the actual solution to the brief.
What went wrong? Why couldn’t the team keep up with a modification to the concept?
Thursday, April 17th, 2014
Architects, you are in the sometimes-tricky position to help your clients craft the space of their dreams, within the constraints of reality.
When you’re hired to plan a project, and your client team is starry eyed over the unlimited possibilities, don’t forget to carefully consider the 3 essential business questions that only you can address.
To win the project, it’s critical to address their aesthetic, branding, and programmatic needs.
But to construct a long-term success, below are the key questions the building owner/operator needs you to answer.
Experienced architects and planners should be prepared to address the following 3 questions in detail after your building/space planning process is complete.