My final building this semester is both a rehabilitation center and housing complex for wounded war veterans. The lower floors of the structure are where the more public program is located including a full length pool, three gyms, a weight room, a lobby and a café. The upper floors house 48 individual apartment units, counseling rooms, and offices. The two major programmatic considerations I have continued to incorporate in my design are the allowance of sun to the adjacent highline, and the importance of private outdoor areas for each apartment unit. Below I have organized my explanation of the systems in my building beginning with wind and ventilation and second looking at sunlight and thermal heating.
The axonometric diagram of my building is highlighting the exterior planted spaces on each floor of my building in grey. I mentioned earlier the importance of individual private space for each apartment and this diagram helps to show the non tradtional ratio of exterior to interior space for each level. The yellow and blue colors are showing the repetition of the two floor plans that begin at level seven and continue to level twenty. My goal in planting on these surfaces is to provide both evaporative cooling for the adjacent gyms and apartments; and to provide roof insulation for the rooms below the planted surfaces. Because of the way my apartment units are organized one garden can serve both of these purposes for two different apartments. In one study done in Japan it was found that a roof garden can reduce the temperature of the roof slab from 60 C to 30 C in the summer. In addition, the same roof garden served to lower the temperature of heat flux into the adjacent room through evaporative cooling by 50% too.
Evaporative Cooling and Apartment Ventilation (Plans):
The next image is showing both the placement of the private gardens in relation to each apartment and also the natural ventilation strategies that occur because of strategic window placement. In New York City the prevailing wind is generally from the West. However in the warmer months of the year the wind comes more from the Southwest and in the colder months from the Northwest. In my ventilation diagrams I have angled the blue arrows (representing airflow) as coming from the Southwest. This is because this passive ventilation would be used only for cooling, which is only necessary in the warmer months in New York City.
Sun Chart from the Highline (Joiner):
As I began to examine the way my building would manipulate sunlight I found it helpful to chart the sun path from a point adjacent to my site on the highline. I knew from the start that I wanted my design to obstruct the natural light that currently warms the highline as little as possible. By first charting the sun throughout the year at this point on the highline with no building in the site I was able to overlay my multiple iterations, to make sure that my openings on the lower floors would continue to correspond with the sun paths in the winter. By allowing the sun to come through as I have I was able to preserve a large amount of the micro climate that pre-existed my structure on the highline. On our visit I found this area of the park a very pleasant one and dreaded the idea of blocking the warm sun with a site enveloping skyscraper.
Dark Room Photos:
As a further study on this large scale manipulation of the sun I recreated the summer and winter solstice sun angles with a flash light in the dark room to try and show the actual cone of sunlight that would occur on the highline at these times. The green dotted lines help to highlight the highline edges and the orange dot marks where I stood while I took the panoramic pictures used in my sun chart above. The photos on the top half of the page show what the sun might look like during the winter on the highline, allowing much more sun through the lower floors around the orange dot and warming the lower floors public outdoor patios. While the lower half of the page shows how the upper floors block the suns access to the highline (no light reaches the orange dot) and in turn the private gardens receive the majority of the rays, allowing the residents to take full advantage of the light for personal planting.
The last image is showing a simple line drawing of the four elevations of my building. The center two elevations have highlighted in black the large voids that allow the sunlight to reach the highline in the winter months (what I was talking about above). The sun rays in the upper left corner are drawn at the solstice angles I have previously mentioned: 25.8° and 72.8°. With my staggering of each apartment unit I was able to create an overhang that allows the winter sun onto the private balconies while preventing the summer sun from coming in more than a few feet. This small window of direct sun in the summer is enough to use for private gardens but is unable to reach the inhabitable space.