Thursday, June 2, 2011

Working Towards Assignment 3 - Design Proposal

Looking towards assignment 3, I want to incorporate as many of the ideas I have explored through my research as possible. I am extremely interested in the way surface architecture can be used to create both symbolic and physical links to the landscape within the same design, however creating a design that does this in a harmonious fashion will be a challenge.

Furthermore, I believe no new building in the 21st century can be designed without energy efficiency in mind, and as such, I would like the surface architecture of my design to promote sustainability through various strategies.

I have chosen site one (the Bennelong Apartments) purely because it offers the greatest opportunity for connections to nature, being surrounded on one side by parkland and on the other by the harbour. I have decided to use the roof of my design as an extension of the parkland behind the building by totally or partially grassing it. In this way, the roof of my building will slope gently upwards from the parkland, with its highest point being at the harbour's edge. The public will therefore be able to walk up the roof of the building, and will be given extensive harbour views from the top. From behind it will mimic a grassy hillside, while its front will be an aesthetically pleasing glass facade, which will connect with the water of the harbour through reflections. Furthermore, the structure's shell will undulate, giving it an organic look and mimicking the motion of waves. In this way, the design will connect both physically and metaphorically with the landscape, and in different ways, depending on the viewer's vantage point. From the front (the harbour), there will be strong connections with water, while from behind (the park) there will be equally strong links with the land.

Here are some images featuring the work of Toyo Ito, Emilio Ambasz and B.I.G Architects, which express some of these ideas:

Emilio Ambasz's Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall, Japan, stunningly combines landscape with the built environment in a similar fashion to what is proposed.

B.I.G Architect's Vilhelmsro Primary School, Denmark, is a more specific example of the roof top turfing that is proposed.

Toyo Ito's Yatsushiro Municipal Museum, Japan, is yet another example of roof top replanting, with it also using curvaceous forms to mimic nature.

The facade of this apartment block in Barcelona, designed by Toyo Ito, mimics the undulation of waves. This is very close to what is proposed for the structure's roof top.

In considering sustainable development within my design, I have several ideas. Firstly, the building's long sloping rooftop will provide a large amount of surface area for sunlight exposure, with solar panels and skylights on the roof taking advantage of this. The facade will also use strategies such as natural ventilation for cooling purposes, while the glass surface at the front will allow ample natural lighting. Since this is a hypothetical project, I am also considering including touch responsive opacity control on the glass facade, similar to a proposal made by a group of MIT students in 2007.

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