Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Kita Göttingen in Germany by Despang Architekten
March 17th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Despang Architekten
The new day care center of Göttingen University is the most recent case study of several typological educational prototypes Despang Architekten has investigated in within the last years. The strategy of this project is a symbiosis of architecture and nature with a high ecological standard. The symbiosis was achieved through mainly berming the building and opening it with a passive solar “curtain wall” towards the south. Part of the goal was the development of a by the best value of the inflationary term sustainable building, which besides other performative aspects has a very low heating and cooling demand. Critical and fundamental in the design process was the maximum exposure to the south and closure to the north with optimized insulation. Access to the building is given from the east and utilizes the given infrastructure of the two adjacent buildings.
Floor plan / Zoning
The built in furniture and large frameless interior glazing divides the living rooms from the circulation space. A multifunctional room serves as a buffer zone for the foyer. The sleeping rooms and one related bath room are strategically positioned in between the living rooms. The kitchen and staff meeting rooms are placed along the concrete sandwich east façade.
Tectonics / Materiality
The materiality of the building is characterized inside-out by materials which are left untreated/uncoated like spruce wood, glass, grey cement concrete and linoleum as the distinct and limited material pallet. The authentic purity of the materials serves as the strategically neutral background for the creative inhabitation with related forms and colors by the children. The decision for natural, pure organic materiality was as well supported by them securing a good indoor air quality in comparison to materials with questionable out gazing and emission properties. The materiality concept with that was driven by environmental responsibility for the macro benefit of the global climate down to the micro level of the health of the young terrestrial inhabitants.
PassiveHouse / Energy Concept
The exterior walls with a U-Value of 0,12 W/(m²K) are made out of concrete, clad with 20cm of rigid insulation. The bermed walls with equal insulation and the intensive green roof (U = 0,09 W/(m²K) thermally benefit from the additional earthen layer. The structural concrete slab with a U-Value of 0,15 W/(m²K) rests on a 60 cm thick layer of insulating foam glass gravel. The south façade is constructed as a wood/aluminum post and beam system by RAICO with Uw, total< 0,8 W/(m²K), g = 0,50 and triple pane glazing.
The façade was a primary focus regarding the thermal quality control related to the necessity of its airtightness of: n50 < 0,6h-1, assess controlled by a blower door test result of n50 = 0,43 h-1. The controlled forced air distribution with a heat recovery ratio of 80% was achieved with a product of the “Al-ko Therm” company. The supply and access air ducts are mounted under the ceilings in an exposed manner for didactical reasons. The source for the predominately air heating spaces is mainly the passive solar gain, backed up by central campus heat and decentralized radiant water heating in rooms with higher local demand as the toddler bath rooms.
For the south façade an integrative, multiple duty solution had been developed in form of concrete frames, which blur the boundaries between inside and outside with the vertical parts thermally disconnected extending the structural concrete division walls to the outside. The frames are lounge seats at their base, guard rails and balustrades at their top, static shading device and carrier of dynamic screen shading.
The screens are installed in the upper part of and installed flush with the exterior of the 1 meter deep concrete frames. Pulled down in the summer, the screens effectively shade the bottom of the glass façade behind while securing unobstructed views into the outdoor classroom landscape and cool the façade in a stack effect way. For additional summer overheating protection the controlled air distribution system is operated during the nights and flushes the thermal massing concrete structure with the cooler night air. With shades up in the winter, the low sun penetrates deeply into the interior spaces and heats up the air which stores the energy in the thermal concrete.
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