Mass Customization

During class I made a diagram based on mass customization. I think the term really describes the concepts of this class. I was listening and diagramming at the same time so some of my bubbles may be awkwardly worded. Basically it says that the interaction between buildings, the environment/climate of the site, and the occupants have to work together and the building should reflect the dynamic relationships and characteristics of the environment/climate of the site and the occupants.

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Assignment 5: Case Study of Glenn Murcutt’s Magney House

Glenn Murcutt’s Magney house is the epitome of architecture working with the environmental systems around it. I started analyzing the house by first looking at its location. The house is situated in the southeastern part of Australia, near the ocean. The site itself has no surrounding trees and is on top of a hill.

Site of the Magney House

Because the house is situated on the hill and no trees block winds, lots of wind hits the site from the south especially. This can be seen in the chart below.

Wind charts for all seasons

The solar diagram below for the site shows the the house gets a LOT of sun on the northern site, and only a bit in the mornings and evenings on the southern side.

Solar Diagram of the Site

Glenn Murcutt took all of these factors into account when designing the Magney House. I drew carious sections of the house design and drew diagrams showing how it accommodates the various systems

West Section

North Section

South Section

Wind: Most of the winds come from the south, which makes sense because the ocean is closest to the south and east of the site. During the summer, bottom hung vents allow cross ventilation, while during the winter, the southern wall of the house blocks cold winds by means of a brick wall with aluminum sheeting.

The site: The house sits near the ocean on a small hill, and therefore gets access to a lot of wind. There is little to no vegetation near the house, so winds are not blocked by them. Furthermore, a lake to the north of the house could provide cooler winds from the north during the summer. The house also gets a lot of sunlight because of its location

Light: As one can see from the solar diagram, almost all of the light hits the northern side of the building, especially during the summer months. This is why the northern side of the building is so flexible to letting huge amounts of light in during the summer to not a lot of light at all during the winter.

Spatial Arrangement: The plan of the house has rooms lined up on one story. There are two sets of living spaces that can be joined or closed off depending on whether those living there open or close the communal north-facing verandah. Living spaces are aligned on the north front to gain full advantage of the sun. The service rooms (bathroom, facilities, and kitchen) are aligned along the south wall. The sitting rooms are placed on either side of the verandah so that they can be one big room by simply opening the sliding doors that separate them from the verandah.

The following are photos of the house:

Showing the building on a hill, where it gets lots of access to winds

Close up of the northern side with aluminum blinds on the outside

Side of the building showing the shape of the roof

Close up of gutter that captures water

Close up of gutter

The veranda that can connect the two sides of the house


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11/15/10-Light and Trip to Greece Thoughts

During the lectures on lighting design last week, I was reminded of a unique example I had researched for my STS (Science, Technology, and Society) class this past summer.

It may be a bit outdated, since it was featured in Popular Science in 1987, but still, I think it’s pretty cool.

Hoagie House in Washington D.C.: the Roto-Lid is a computer-operated shading skylight that automatically moves with the time of day and seasons to allow the right amount of sunlight in. The invention Jim Adamson can be operated automatically or manually. When running automatically a computer system collects information about temperature and light levels outside the house and then moves the panels inside the house accordingly.

Close up of the rotating panel

Diagram for the winter and summer seasons

More detailed season-related panel rotation angles

Personally, I think this system is a bit too impractical for a house, but for a large building with not too many stories? It could work. The motor to run each of these is a  horsepower motor, so the building wouldn’t be buzzing with huge motors throughout the day, and having a lot of automated skylights wouldn’t drain too much energy from the building’s system.

The Baker and Steemers reading talked about ancient architecture and their use of the sun, not just as a source of light, but as a source of heat. They briefly mention Greece, and the Parthenon, which reminded me of my trip to Santorini, Greece after high school graduation. We stayed in a hotel that was along the side of a mountain. The whole town of Fira was built as caves in the side of the mountains. In the winter, they block cold winds. Yet, in the summer the homes have dynamic features. First of all, being built into the side of the mountains (usually called “cave houses”), the homes stay relatively cool in the summer because they keep an average temperature. Because the side of the mountain is directed southwest, the town of Fira gets a lot of sunlight. They’re known for the gorgeous sunsets, and most buildings have rooftop patios to enjoy that sun. I found it interesting though that a lot of houses, like the hotel we stayed in didn’t have wide openings to let sun into the cave houses. It’s probably because there’s such powerful sunlight already, so a little sunlight can do a lot. However, almost all the buildings get an equal chance of getting sun because the town is built on a slope as opposed to on the flat top. For instance, if you travel east towards the middle of the island, you’re actually also traveling up the mountain and getting the same amount of sunlight in the afternoon. From a tourist perspective, every room in a hotel has ocean/sunset view! Finally, the winds while we were there blew pretty adequately. There was always at least a gentle breeze going, especially if you leaned over the edge of a building and felt the Meltemi wind blow across the mountain. Most buildings did have open areas/arches that let the wind blow through them.

"cave houses" along the side of the mountain

The beautiful sunset shows the southwestern orientation of the town

The door to our hotel room on the left didn't let a lot of light in. It was a place of shading

You can see a lot of rooftop patios for people to enjoy the sunlight

A closer look at some of the town

Leaning over the side, you could feel a heavy breeze across the side of the mountain

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11/9/10-Final Bike/Bus Stop

Final Bike/Bus Stop Design

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11/8/10-Images for Bus/Bike Stop

This is not the full project…that will be uploaded tomorrow.

First of all, our bus/bike stop will be located in the O-Hill Area. The main road running in the North-South direction is Alderman. The road running East-West is a service road leading to New Dorms. Our bus/bike stop serves mostly first years because it’s right next to dorms, O-Hill dining hall, and near central grounds. The location in aerial and in panorama is shown below.

When considering the design of the building, winds were a major factor. Using the wind diagrams from class, I put them over our site to show where the major winds were coming from for each season. In the summer, winds mainly come from the south, so having our ventilation aimed towards capturing those winds was a big factor. The winter winds should be blocked, and luckily the direction of the some heavy cold winds does not come from the south. As for the ones that do, our movable walls allow the building to adapt and shut out strong cold winds. While these diagrams were helpful, going to the site and feeling the wind was more helpful. The trees and buildings that are nearby the site would protect the building from strong winds coming from the north and southwest.

The following images are to show the building orientation on the site. Specific design details will be uploaded later (Ting Ting is finishing those drawings). But you will be able to see where the bikes are located (by an existing sidewalk), how the movable walls on the south can close off/open up during the winter/summer respectively. Also, a bit of wind ventilation is shown through the shape of the roof. Solar panels on the roof will power the lights on the inside of the building, as well as any machine needed to run the bike sharing system (maybe using your UVA card to unlock the bikes, for example). The area is pretty well shaded. An evergreen tree provides shading throughout the whole year on the north. The trees to the south provide some shade during the summer (therefore, a reflective panel will be on the frosted glass roof during the summer), and when they lose their leaves in the fall, they allow more sun to shine onto the sloped roof (reflective panel will be removed during the winter). Also, to bring the school community feel to the building, one wall will be a cork board to serve as a great place to advertise events happening around grounds.

Movable ventilation panels near the roof of the building of this last picture allow for extra wind to be captured from the East, but can be closed off by season.

Finally, the solar diagram provided information about what trees provided shading during the seasons. As discussed earlier, the trees to the south do not provide enough shade during the summer months. A reflective panel to stop the frosted glass from absorbing too much heat during the summer will solve this problem. Removing that panel during the winter, when the leaves are gone from the trees will allow the sunlight to warm up the building. The sloping roof will capture the harshest light coming from the south and provide energy for the building to sustain itself electricity-wise.

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11/1/10-Reflection on Halloween

Structural Mechanics was not fun today. This was.

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10/19/10-Initial Diagrams for Bus/Bike Stop

I forgot to upload this last week.

But here were my initial thoughts/diagrams of the Bike/Bus Stop. While I was drawing it, I thought about the location I was at, who was affected, and what improvements I could make to it.

Initially I was thinking of just a simple bus stop area with seats and the bike rack protruding from one end of the bus stop structure. The area of O-Hill that I chose for the site is shown below (A little out of date for the aerial image…they were still building O-Hill dining hall). It’s close to new dorms and the AFC. However, it is still isolated enough where there needs to be sufficient amount of lighting. The area has a lot of open space friendly to bike riders. The road that connects to Alderman is a small road not frequently used except by maintenance. Also, it’s far enough away from the McCormick Rd and Alderman Rd intersection heavy traffic that bike riders don’t have to deal with entering the road systems there. I sloped the roof to allow for natural air movement throughout the bus stop. On the roof, there are solar panels which will collect enough energy (hopefully…I can’t help but to think exactly how much energy would be needed) to power the bike stations machine (which if the system is to mirror the Bixi system…there would be one) and the lights around the edge of the bus stop. The lights would not only be helpful in seeing the bikes at night, but also for safety reasons. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl and hearing about all these attacks has frightened me a little, but no one could argue that a well-lit area would provide a safe haven for first years walking in the dark.

After talking to my partner, a couple of changes to the design need to made. Suggestions about placing the bike racks around the bus stop instead of protruding from the bus stop would provide a more compact design, and it would also allow the bikes to be seen easier at night. Also, since this system would be mostly used by UVA students, and in this area, first years, cooling isn’t as much of a problem as heating is. First years are only here in their dorms during the fall, winter, and spring. The first few weeks (definitely) and the last few weeks (maybe) are hot. The rest of their time here would be cooler, and therefore, my roof should let in more light. I was thinking of somehow making the open space under the roof able to close during the winter and just be a clear area to let light/heat in during the winter instead of the wind. Maybe moving the solar panels? Just a few thoughts.

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