Recently we have been discussing the importance of ecosystems and the economy. Much of what we learned in lecture as well as through playing the Bay Game was just how much effect each individual can have on the ecosystem, and in turn the economy. Whether one is a cow farmer, or a land developer, everyone has a role to play. Designers cannot prevent the world from being used by the cow farmers and land developers of the world. To a certain extent policy makers can try to steer actions in one direction or the other. What designers can do is create spaces that benefit the surrounding ecosystem.
A great example of a project that promotes a local economy while benefitting the local ecosystem is the Seattle Aquarium. The project hits many different points, It is directly tied to the water’s edge and integrates itself in the ecology of the bay, it also works to educate local restaurants and businesses on their ecological impact, at the same time it is an attraction that gets people walking and supporting businesses in the surrounding area.
The aquarium focuses on conservation of the coastal ecosystem by building an environment that attracts migratory species of fish that had been altered with the industrialization of the city. By building a new type of space, they reverse what the built environment has done to the local ecology.
Because the space is a local attraction, it can be used as an educational tool. Anyone who comes to visit the aquarium is immersed in the movement to save the local fish population and how they directly affect the health of the bay. By educating individuals, the project does more to save the ecosystem of the bay than a policy might. The aquarium leaves individuals thinking about what actions they can easily take to effect the local economy and bay in a positive way.
According to a study done by the World Health Organization “About 20% of the world’s population derives at least one-fifth of its animal protein intake from fish, and some small island states depend almost exclusively on fish.” (http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/3_foodconsumption/en/index5.html).
With that shocking amount, the health of marine ecosystems should be on the forefront of individual’s concerns. The seattle Aquarium does this.
Robert Costanza makes abundantly clear in his article “The Value of the World’s Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital,” just how much our economy is tied to the health of Ecosystems. He also argues that policies regarding ecosystems might not be strict enough. This may be true, but I feel it is the responsibility of the individual to not make harmful choices. It is the designers responsibility then to create ways of educating individuals and designing ways of helping the environment.
The Charlottesville Airport CHO:
The Charlottesville airport sits high atop a hill and has direct sunlight all day, unlike many other buildings in Charlottesville. The light would be easier to alter and play with because of this. when looking at the site map of the airport, in the summer and the winter, the south face of the building would receive enough sun to similar environment all year round:
The Worship Room:
For this room I wanted to create one figure of light that was non denominational. The walls would be concrete, to contrast to the one opening in the roof that would let in light. the light would be reflected into the hole with mirrors in the shape of a funnel above the roof. The circular hole would be surrounded by a piece of light fabric or paper that would go to the ground and be a figure of light in the room. This beam of light cutting down through the dark room would symbolize the light at religion plays in the lives of so many.
The Practice Room:
The practice room for a woodwind quintet needs to have a constant warm light throughout the day. I curved two of the sides of my room to allow for a more constant ray of sun throughout the day. The panels would all be wood and would shade direct sunlight, but let in enough evenly that there would constantly be light in the space. The walls would be a lighter color concrete, making the room feel warmer, but still having an open feel at the same time.
To design a space to capture light in a way that it is diffused evenly throughout the day, I wanted to create a space that felt warmed by the sun’s rays. I want to use wood as a material in my design similar to this design:
The wood slats would create a space for a quintet of woodwinds to practice that would have a warm light throughout the day. Similarly, my design would be curved:
When looking at the bus stop location on Culbreth road, comfort level is manipulated by many factors. When looking at the summer months versus the winter months, to maintain a livable comfort zone within a space using only passive design techniques is possible for much of the year. Two psychometrics charts, one of the summer and one of the winter, show how these comfort levels can be attained through ventilation, wind protection, high thermal massing, and passive solar gain:
Much of what the comfort level feels like is dependent on the amount of solar heat one feels and the amount of wind chill the site gets.
this chart shows the amount of sun that the site will get at a given time during the day and at what time of year. you can see that most of the sun that the site will receive is from the south, an any solar gain in the winter, and shading in the summer should be oriented that direction.
During the summer months the wind that the site will want to utilize is the wind from the south, to cool off people waiting on a bus.
During the winter months, winds from the north and from the south with effect the site and need to be dealt with.
To account for these conditions I would propose a bus stop that would act differently in the different seasons. In the summer months, the building would shade a bench from southern sun, have a thermal mass that would stay cool in the shade, and an vent in the roof to draw out hot air, and attempt to draw in the southern wind. During the winter, the sun would enter the building and heat up the thermal mass in the bench, the vent in the roof would be closed, trapping hot air inside, and finally the building would have curved sides as to deflect the cold northern and southern winds away from people inside.
Hopefully with these passive designs, the bus stop would be a comfortable space to wait throughout the year, without using any energy.