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.
Taichung City Cultural Center Taiwan by RTA-Office
June 29th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: RTA-Office
Our proposal is strongly based on the idea of a container — a unique vessel that encompasses a multitude of architectural objects, various spaces, and the relationships between them. Inspiration for the design of our shape was derived from traditional Taiwanese basket weaving.
The final result is a unitary transparent skin that allows stolen glimpses of the complexity that lies inside.
Thus this object becomes a contemporary interpretation of an ancient traditional art and culture. Comprised of thin lines of recycled ceramic elements, the skin gently filters the light that reaches the interior and enhances the shapes of the volume. The skin of our design not only serves to enhance the aesthetic value of the building, but it also reduces our impact on the natural environment by taking advantage of passive technologies such as solar shading and natural day lighting.
Our interior intrigues the visitor with interesting juxtapositions and connections through the design of inseparable public spaces and programs. The volume of the building has been cut on the interior by a series of interconnected voids to allow the penetration of natural light and natural ventilation. This design further provides an experience of unexpected relations between the two main programs: the museum and the library.
We reach these voids through a network of public spaces that intertwine the museum and library, penetrating the depth of the building, beginning with the park level and reaching as high as the third floor. This unconventional design leaves us with a large porous object, drawing in visitors from both the park and the main street, and directing them to the third level through an organic gradation between the natural and built landscape where they are left with uncompromised views of the Taichung Gateway.
The intricacies that lie within the woven object are not only a direct reflection of the rich culture of Taiwan, but it is also a parallel to the elaborate nature that is associated with sustainability. Like the woven bamboo, we believe the beauty lies in the convergence of these intricacies, producing a singularity—weaving an interdependent whole.
The building is organized on two main public floors, the first and the third.The first floor is conceived in continuity with the park, is completely permeable and accessible either from the street side or from the park, without obstructing the visual and physical connection between the two parts.From the first level an open air ramp brings the visitors to the museum lobby which is located in the first basement, here is the access to the Permanent Exhibition Area.
In the third level the special collection area of the museum and other exhibition spaces, the lobby and the public services of the library are organized around a vast public space that is open to the street and the park.The fourth, fifth and sixth levels are all dedicated to the Library and are accessible only from the lobby on the third floor.The Library is conceived as a continuous open space where all the different reading areas and cultural resources can be connected between each other using direct vertical connections (stairs, elevators) or gentle ramps that ease the manipulation of books. These ramps continue all the way to the roof of the building to the open air reading spaces.The cores of the building have a double role, acting both as structure and as vertical circulation, containing the elevators and fire evacuation stairs.The building is a large porous object that collects and draws in the visitors coming from the park or the main street; it takes them to the third level where it offers them elevated views of the surroundings and the landscape.
IN ORDER TO EFFECTIVELY ASSIMILATE ALL SUSTAINABILTY CRITERIA, OUR TEAM PERFORMED AN ANALYSIS OF THE GREEN LABELING CERTIFICATION SYSTEMS AND DEVELOPED THE FOLLOWING CATAGORIES:
Siting & Biodiversity
With special attention paid to low impact development, we have kept the building compact, have provided no roads for vehicular transportation, located parking underground, and have incorporated vertical façade and roof vegetation wherever possible. Through multi-layer greening techniques, we improve local species richness while providing a diverse landscape that highlights the native flora and fauna of Taiwan. We further minimize the building footprint by maximizing open space for the preservation and enhancement of the natural landscape. Our desire to have an organic and symbiotic relationship between the natural environment and the built landscape is conveyed through the ground floor of our design, which provides a fluid environmental transition from Taichung Gateway Park to the street without interruption in scenery.
The intent of water design for the building is to reduce consumption to the point where all water is reused on-site. We plan to achieve this by utilizing water-efficient plumbing fixtures that exceed the efficiency levels currently provided by market regulations. For example, we plan to install: photoelectric or low-flow faucets, pressure regulators, aerators, dual-flush toilets, and waterless urinals.
Materials & Resources
Our environmental selectivity minimizes resource consumption while maximizing closed-loop material lifecycles and recycled materials. Our strategy is to reduce material consumption per unit of service, decreasing the environmental impact of the material. We predominantly use rapidly renewable materials when they are natural and recycled materials when they are industrial.
Our design process took into careful consideration the entire life cycle of the building, paying particular attention to the uncertainty of the future. Thus, our guiding principle became the concept of adaptive reuse. Throughout the building, we have designed spaces that provide the opportunity for various functionalities. These spaces being allocated for flexible purposes allows the visitor a sense of discovery and a changing interior landscape that encourages visitors to return for a new experience, as well as provides numerous opportunities should the building no longer be used as a library or museum.
Energy & Atmosphere
Achieving Diamond Level EEWH certification, as well as LEED Platinum certification required special attention to the energy and carbon implications of our design. In regards to the interior climate, we have taken into consideration the different demands of comfort for various spaces throughout the building. We have divided the project into distinct zones, limiting the volume and necessity of air conditioning while maximizing passive strategies for ventilation and air renewal.
We have placed building-integrated thin film solar over the external skin on the roof of the project in order to deliver power to the building’s geothermal heat pump and solar desiccant air-conditioning system.
A solar battery storage system will collect excess thermal power to be used for powering the building at night. In combination with this external skin, triple glazed windows, air-sealing, and extremely efficient insulation, we have designed a high-performance building envelope.
The passive design strategies that we have included for this project are balanced by the use of active systems that maximize renewable sources of energy. Instead of air-conditioning the entire volume, only the zones where visitors are anticipated will be conditioned. To meet the demand that has been reduced by the passive strategies, we include a radiant cooling system and a convective heating system. The heating system is comprised of recycled fly-ash concrete panels that have water ducts with the ability to pass heating or cooling; the radiant cooling system is located in a space of moisture control that avoids the risk of condensation, ensuring the longevity of this technology.
Using occupancy & vacancy sensors for the highly efficient lighting and ventilation installations allows our building to further limit the energy consumption associated with internal occupant comfort. We have included, in the design, a hybrid mechanical ventilation system that prioritizes natural ventilation when possible. The system is designed so that if air exchange levels fall below a specified limit, the mechanical ventilation is automatically activated. This system also makes use of the mechanical ventilation when the outside air conditions are not optimal or beneficial for building inhabitants.
In order to enhance the social aspect of sustainability into our project, we wanted to design a facility that both educated and inspired the building’s visitors. To do this, we have incorporated interactive behaviour-based efficiency measures into the facility. Specifically, we have designed a system located on the ground floor of the building that displays real-time feedback of the building’s performance. The interactive screens display the current carbon intensity, energy consumption, energy production, and water use load of the building. It is our intention that this experience encourages visitors to think about their own environmental performance beyond the duration of their visit. We are able to utilize this technology through our Intelligent Building System that uses smart metering to monitor, manage, and respond to the slightest variations of building performance, essentially making the building a living building.
The building is comprised of industrialized solutions that minimize the amount of waste that will be generated on site. Inherent in our design process was the provision of reusing all surplus construction materials and land excavation on-site. We intend to conduct a detailed study and develop a waste management plan for the construction phase of the project, minimizing our carbon impact on the local landscape. Additionally, we have dedicated facility space on-site for the management and sorting of recyclables.
Category: Cultural Center