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Studio Work


In studio I am designing a forum for Philadelphia amateur performers.  Here’s some analysis of the building in a systems way.

Site and Sun Qualities

Here is my site and how the sun hits the site.  The south side of the building is very open and visible to the busy corner while a 5 story building site directly to the north.  The orientation of the site is about 15 degrees off of north.  I put in the latitude and longitude of the site in Philadelphia and using the Ecotech Solar Tool looked and how the sun moves aroud the site.  The highest angle of the sun is on June 21 at noon and is at 73 degrees while on December 21 at noon the sun is only at 25 degrees.


Here’s a rendered image of the initial design of the site.  The building is divided into two masses, an informational mass with a media library, classrooms and individual practice spaces as well as a compositional mass with large rehearsal spaces and a theater.  The masses are connected by a circulation corridor/atrium space.  The corridor is a voided space and allows for powerful moments of moving through the space.  This is looking from the SW and your can see the theater space as a floating mass.  The site is difficult because you want the open side to be visible and attract people to the building but is also gets a lot of direct sun and must be screened in some way.  The screening is still being designed.

Transverse Section and Lighting Possibilities

Here is a transverse section looking from the west.  The corridor connects the masses and the diagrams on the right are looking at how to bring light into the corridor.  The corridor is enclosed but do you want to block some of the light and let it flood down the wall?  Do you filter instead of funnel and have pockets of shade and light or do you leave the whole thing glazed and let all the light come in?

Light angles into the corridor

This diagram shows how light would come into the corridor and in the summer light would come down into the building pretty far but the winter light would only hit the top floors.  The process of bringing reflective surfaces into that wall came up but I think the design is heading towards shifting the corridor on the bottom floors and making the opening south facing.


Response to Tanazaki Reading


Some things I took away from tha Tanazaki reading:

He has trouble trying to pick materials that match the traditional Japanese palette and aesthetic that he is trying to achieve while also creating a space that functions in a practical sense.  He obsesses over the details such as fixtures and trying to meet both needs.  He would be one of the people that Professor Sherman was talking about searching the black market for outdated fixtures that match and aesthetic.  Personally I am very excited for LED lights to become the norm because of the energy efficiency and am sure that the feeling from the lightbulbs will soon come the norm.

He likes Japanese toilets for their isolation and sense of reflection as well as their light qualities.  Isn’t it great when someone takes the time to worry about the usually forgotten spaces?  I have much respect for a well thought out closet or a powerful staircase which adds to the sense of the building and isn’t just left behind.

As for people trying to hide the power infrastructure in order to fit into the traditional building aesthetic, I think this makes sense.  I think we as architects though should look at embracing infrastructure more in the future to make people think about where there resources are coming from.  Systems of infrastructure can have a patterned beauty to them and could do a lot for making people think about consumption more.  A Japanese Teahouse is not the place to embrace infrastructure but in contemporary design this could be a powerful move for the future.

Desiccant Cooling


We talked in class about achieving the zone of human comfort when controlling the climate of a home and how relative humidity plays as large a role as temperature does.  I remembered a technology that I researched at an internship a couple years ago.  A desiccant cooling system utilizes a material that adsorbs moisture in the air.  A common form of a desiccant is silica gel like the little packets that keep your shoes dry but a common one in a cooling system is activated clay.  This is a naturally occurring material that is non-hazardous and sulfur free.  In cooling systems the material turns slowly in a wheel which adsorbs the moisture from the air and then releases the moisture outside.  They can be used in conjunction with an air conditioning system but are a heat driven system so those dangerous refrigerants don’t have to be used.  The house can be cooled using a cleaner power such as natural gas or even solar.  Desiccant systems are relatively cheap and easy to install and could become a powerful technology in home climate control utilizing more renewable technologies.


Bus Stop Diagram


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These are some potential diagrams for the bus stop.  The idea for the green wall is that it acts as an insulator that would keep the thermal condition more contained, cooling in the summer and warming in the winter.  It would be watered with collected water off the roof.  It would also make the air fresher and provide extra shading for the stop.  The second diagram shows how the sun moves across the site during the day.  The thermal diagram shows cool air coming at the bottom of the site and cycling up with room to leave as hot air at the top.

The Benefits of a White Roof


painting a roof white

Many people are realizing that they can reduce heating costs dramatically by doing something as simple as painting their roof.  A white roof can be up to 45 degrees cooler than a black roof made from the same material which significantly helps the air conditioning load of the house that it is constructed over [i].  The Department of Energy has caught on to this concept and is trying to paint the roofs of its buildings wherever possible.  Campaigns for cool roofs have also gained ground in Philadelphia, New York and Arizona.  In Arizona it is mandatory that all state funded buildings have taken cool roof actions.  There is a federal tax credit for using a cool material to replace a roof but not for coating the roof (like painting).  The painting would have to be done out of pocket but would pay for itself in cheaper energy bills very quickly in hot climates.  This is one of the homeowner steps that if done on a large scale could really help curb our carbon emissions.


How a Refrigerator Works


Refrigerator Diagram

This is a diagram of how a refrigerator works.  This could be on the scale of the refrigerator in your house or controlling the whole climate of a building.  The compressor changes the pressure of the system and causes the refrigerant to change phases and release energy.  Then cool air and hot air is released and whichever is being directed into the room changes the room temperature.  It was cool to see this on a huge scale in the depths of Campbell hall and understand how the building was regulated.

Body Comfort Diagram



Body Comfort Diagram
























This is a diagram that was based off the Moe reading.  It symbolizes how human comfort level is not just about temperature.  People in general prefer  the area around your head to be cool and your feet to be warm.  The orange represents how the temperature changes across the body.

When heating a room, the ideal way of doing this would be to heat all the room surfaces but the more practical and common way is to heat from the floor up.