Nowadays, many a people greatly desire to build and live in buildings that greatly consider principles of architectural and sustainable technologies with little impacts of the environmental conditions on the building. Designing such a building would require sound planning and assessment of the plans beforehand. Planning would often involve development of the creative design concepts using sound architectural and sustainable technology principles. In this report, therefore, a major design construction of a residential complex is being proposed. A client is considering establishing the building in Warwick bar, Fazeley Street in Birmingham city. Firstly, presentation of the selected creative design idea will be presented with a focus on sound architectural, engineering and creative design methodologies. A concise and clear explanation of the environmental sustainable technologies would then suffice. Later, a critical assessment and evaluation of the environmental context of the proposed building is provided. Additionally, a statement to justify choice for the particular design concept is also given with the potential impacts of the environment outlined. Certainly, therefore, the report aims to elucidate the state-of-the-art design and development of residential houses with a keen consideration on sound architectural and environmental sustainable technologies.
The Building Creative design Concept
The Warwick Bar in Fazeley Street ostensibly requires development of sound architectural development that would integrate the natural environment and the emerging sustainable technologies. Reportedly, according to Birmingham City Council (1987) environmental conservation efforts have been in top gear since 1987 in Birmingham City. Therefore, after a thorough filtering of proposed architectural design concepts, the following design concept was finally arrived at by the selection committee.
Figure 1: The Conceptual Design
The architectural design concept illustrated above was mainly inspired by the traditional African grass-thatched huts. Additionally, on a closer look, reveals that the design is analogous to a covered-pot containing some food contents placed on the hearth to boil the contents. Symbolically, this exemplifies that great and productive stuff are supposed to be undertaken inside the building. Virtually all the principles of modern architectural design have been integrated in the conceptual design. Furthermore, understandably, architects know that Mother Nature can never be defeated hence the design greatly supports the natural ecosystem. The forces to be induced by the winds were greatly considered during the design. For example, the building will have four smooth corners with protruding sharp edges such that there would be streamline flow of wind against the building and even the building would allow smooth exit of the wind as illustrated in figure 2. The roof is an inverted v-shaped design deliberately integrated to allow smooth flow of snow falls along with providing less impact on the roof as it slices the snow and flows along the roof profile during winter season. The entire roofing material will also serve as solar panels to maximize the harnessing power of the solar technology hence cutting down on the energy costs. Just below the roof, a carefully planned layout exists where the rain water recycling and part of the solar powered systems are to be installed. Importantly, however, the middle portion of the building will accommodate the 160 housing units. Now, there are about 10 housing units per floor. Each housing unit consists of 3 master bed rooms, kitchen, rest rooms, and family study rooms complete with all the modern technological provisions. Notably, the occupants will have to be protected from extreme heat during summer season by a convex cladding which absorbs part of the heat and reflects back some hence only lighting can be allowed but U.V rays are absorbed. The building is supported by very strong forked pillars. Most of the building services and amenities are to be located in the basement where the cellular design technology was applied to organize them in a very fashionable manner. The claddings here are completely made of glass which can change its property, that is, during the day it is transparent to allow the natural light to penetrate and at night, it becomes completely translucent to allow the occupants 24 hours of uninterrupted entertainment.
Integration of Sound Architectural Design Principles
As mentioned earlier, a properly designed residential building must cater for all the needs of the occupants including those with special needs. In order to ensure that the house meets these needs, the following sound architectural design principles will be adopted to craft a housing design that not only meets the occupants’ needs but offers a lasting impact in their lives:
This provision will be implemented by ensuring all occupants can reach their destination within the house in a faster and more efficient way. Building services like vertical lifts, properly designed stair cases with ramp incorporated and escalators will be in handy. There will be more emergency exit routes in all the floors with external emergency ladders incorporated into the building.
Housing materials to have less impact on the environment
Preferably, locally available materials will be used so as to lower the carbon foot prints that results from the transportation of some of the materials which can easily be sourced locally. The new technology such as: the interlocking bricks technology can potential reduce the use of cement hence reduction in limestone mining which often leaves a trail of ugly scars on the earth, especially when land restoration efforts are not sustainable.
Principle of Universality
Great efforts will be made to accommodate a range of needs. Understandably, the needs of occupants will vary from tenant to tenant; therefore, it is prudent to embed some design philosophy that caters for almost everyone’s needs. For example, there will be two sets of floor-to-floor accessibility means, that is: staircases will always be situated side-by-side with the ramps to cater for people with special needs. Additionally, the kitchens and the washrooms will be made slightly bigger to also accommodate those in wheelchairs (CMHC, 2016).
Integrating the Natural habitat
The building design will also have to be integrated with the natural ecosystem. There will be provisions for tall trees with wide canopy to be planted around the building. According to most environmentalists, trees provide wind braking capabilities reducing the impacts of wind on the building and filters off dust from entering the building (Perini & Magliocco,2012). Besides, they will facilitate clean and fresh air circulation around the building (Kohler, 2008). The green enveloping design is a new strategy that will gain traction at least in the near future hence the architectural designer will greatly consider it when drafting the designs, thereafter making the building an eco-friendly structure.
House orientation and symmetrical balance
Analysis of wind dynamics in the area will be performed beforehand to ascertain the dominating direction of wind. The structure will have to be positioned in such a way that there will be minimum interference due to wind. Besides, the structural designs will have to cater for the common column buckling that result from the outside forces; the building will have to be structurally resilient. Besides, as illustrated in the conceptual design, the building is designed with a perfect symmetrical balance such that the housing features are mirrored exactly along the vertical geometrical axis of the building. This enhances the aspect of repeatability and amplification of the crucial housing features.
Every unit square of space is critical. Bold strategic designs will have to be adopted to economically utilize all available spaces (Villawood, 2011). For example, the basement area will be designed to cater for the social needs of the tenants. It will consider the 24 hour entertainment needed by most tenants nowadays. However, great precautions will have to be taken to ensure the family needs are not clashing with the general social needs of the tenants. For example, the principle of hierarchy will be adopted such that the family needs will be on the upper echelon of the hierarchy.
Building Services Engineering
The design will incorporate the following building services: Rain water and grey water recycling; Lifting and evacuation services; Indoor air quality services; and fire safety services.
Rain water & Grey water recycling
Demand for fresh water in the region is steadily rising. Provisions for fresh water in the building will be incorporated by installing the rain water recycling system. It will be composed of rain water collection chamber, Pumps and piping network, Treatment unit and designated areas for use. Generally, the system will work in this manner: Pipes connecting the rain water reservoir will be sourcing rain water from the gutters fixed to the roofing. The flow of water will be by gravity to the water tank (capacity of 1000 litres). Two booster pumps will be installed between the tank and the treatment unit such that only one will be in operation at any given time. Should it break down unexpectedly, flow would still not be affected. Once water is conveyed to the filtration unit; it passes through the filtration tank composed of activated carbon and sand filters to sieve the solid particles off. Then it flows through a section containing ultraviolet lamp to annihilate the pathogens. Afterwards, the treated water then flows into the mixing tank where equal amounts of fresh water and the treated rain water will be mixed. The capacity of the tank will be 1000litres hence freshwater required will be 500litres. Again, two booster pumps will be installed plus a pressure vessel to create sufficient pressure energy which will ensure water reaches all the corners of the building for domestic use such as washing and even drinking.
The grey water recycling system
The system will mainly supply treated waste water to be used in wet areas of the building. These include: toilets, bathrooms among others. It will be composed of piping network, effluent tank, treatment section, storage facility and the designated use areas. The system will work in this manner: A network of pipes will be laid to connect the individual wet areas collection with the effluent tank (of capacity 1000litres). Pumps will strategically be installed in areas vertically lower than the base of the effluent tank so that delivery of the waste water to the tank can be possible. The water will then flow into the treatment section where it will be properly aerated, filtered in the first stage. In the second stage, micron filtration and ultra-filtration will be done to rid the water of the micro-foreign matter before being delivered to the storage units. The treated grey water will then be pumped back to the wet areas to facilitate essential services such as toilet flushing and cleansing of the sewer system.
Design, Specification & Installation
The systems described above will be designed and installed in accordance with the standard design and installation guidelines of such system. The Birmingham council will profusely be consulted to ensure full compliance with the local legislative requirements. Meanwhile, the design of the rainwater system will be based on the domestic demand of water. Notably, demand is expected to be higher due to incorporation of the social amenities such as entertainment joints, swimming pools among others. Designer will have to estimate the amount of water likely to be demanded per housing unit and the entertainment joint; considering the fresh water supply from the local council. Notably, efficiency of the system will have to be maximized to ensure losses through leakage, for example, are minimal. The system will be self-operating such that the automatic switches float valves; level sensors and flow valves will regulate the pumps, water tank level, and flow respectively. However, there will be programmable logic controllers to manage the performance of the overall system. For example, when water in the collection tank falls below level due to no rain water being supplied, the pump will cease to operate and the flow valves placed between the pump and the treatment unit will be closed but supply of fresh water to the housing units will still be possible as the external fresh water supply will be connected to another reservoir from which delivery to the housing units can by-pass the rainwater recycling system.
Environmental Sustainable Technologies
As mentioned earlier, the building will not entirely rely on the national grid system for electricity. Their will be off-grid power supply system to supplement the lighting and heating requirements of the building. There are proposals to make the entire roofing serve as solar panels, but this will be finalized once the power consumption of the entire housing units is derived. Additionally, solar water heaters will be installed to heat water hence providing hot showers through out the building.
Building Assessment & Evaluation
Potential impacts of the environmental context on the design
Largely, the area served as an industrial zone. Admittedly, therefore, the environment in the area might be harsh to the residential establishments. However, according to BCC (1987), the area was earmarked for conservational work. By putting up residential in the area, conservation efforts will greatly be encouraged. The design, itself, has greatly integrated the natural ecosystem to be part of its strong architectural foundation. The trees that will be planted around the building, as mentioned earlier, will offer wind-braking and air purification capabilities. Besides, the socio-economic status of the area will receive a major boost should the conceptual design be implemented in the area.
The report has discussed critical elements involved in the design, installation and construction of the state-of-the-art building considering the architectural, environmental and sustainability technologies. Certainly, the conceptual design will morph into a real building never seen before.
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