Friday, May 28, 2010

Environmental Potential: Final Submission

Quarter 2

The refined proposal attempts to streamline the previous ideas and explain how the intervention makes the Carlton Center and the surrounding complex more ecologically responsive.


Deep Ecology
Working from the previous post's critique; the design works around the idea of Deep Urban Ecology and how each building is simply an ecosystem within a the complex's ecosystem which again lies in Johannesburg e.t.c. The design attempts to re-program the systems to create more sustainable flows of energy and materials between the ecosystems and to promote diversity in regards to the environmentalism, finance, sociology and biology.

Urban Ecosystem
The role's of the buildings have only slightly been altered with the Skyrink building now using the upper floors to take advantage of the better light and ventilation to provide facility for urban farming. The key point for the social intervention is the introduction of the Skillz Development Program (SDP) which provides the manpower to run the in exchange for services such as social function of educating, food and the important cultural interactions and spirit that make any inner city fabric alive.

Urban Green Iconic
The presentation tries to explain the functions of the Carlton Office building, which in the scheme acts as the global and financial icon for the complex. Retaining its title as the tallest building in Africa while keeping inline with it historical role as a commercial catalyst.

Urban Cells
The intervention of the office building begins with the reshaping of the floor plates to allow for natural light into the deep plan building. The building is then  broken up in to 5 zones, each given a new zoning category to increase the commercial diversity of the building and make it more sustainable financially in the long term. 
  • Each of these zones serve each other in tandem, with the water harvested off the facade being stored and re-used for cooling and servicing of the ablution blocks. 
  • The entire building's ventilation is powered by an industrial size vertical axis wind turbine which generates the necessary pull that is controlled at each level. 
  • The air is drawn from the oxygenated green spaces at each level, cooled by the water stored and serves the office/retail/apartment space within.
These systems work together to make the whole more effective; by programming the flows of the energies and materials between these smaller systems the whole is more effective and natural environment.

This principle is the core of the design proposal and is used in attempt to unify the complex into a more synergistic whole.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Katatura - Special Olympics Sports Center

The Special Olympics Project I worked on with Architecture for Humanity (Special Olympics Namibia) has gone ahead as planned. Tommy Calhoun took over from me during the tender phase and has overseen the project brilliantly.

This will be one of my first projects that I personally was involved with in the design go up. Really excited to see how it goes, below is the link to the project site.



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Environmental Potential: Part 2

Critique 2
After assessing the nature of JHB inner city more closely, a need for a stronger social approach became clear. The modified proposal approached the problem on a much more human scale.

An Approach
Although the buildings, the people, the flora and fauna all seem to occupy the same spaces and interact on a daily basis, those interactions don't speak of any inter-connectivity. The site requires a inter-connectedness, similar to the symbiosis that exists in natural ecosystems.
Ecological Design at its core speaks of harnessing the flows of energies and matter in an ecosystem and allowing those flows to create a more efficient and sustainable system.
Ken Yeang describes ecological design as a well integrated prosthesis. This notion of any ecological intervention attempting to mimic nature as being prosthetic seemed to exemplify what was needed in this proposal.

The Brief
The brief was set by the Saint Gobain Design Competition and required the format to be in four A1 sheets.

The proposal calls for the buildings to be interdependently linked to create an urban ecosystem that re-assimilates the fabric of JHB's decaying urban center.

The presentation is intended to critique the existing urban ecology and re-inter grate the existing elements into an interdependant and sustainable ecosystem.

The Carleton Center
The Carlton Center retains its Commercial function, drawing income and global stature as the tallest building in Africa.
The Carlton Hotel provides housing for those society has forgotten and discarded. Under a social re-integration program, those living here are housed at minimal cost while providing the services to maintain the facility.
Those under the social program benefit from being taught valuable skills within the Learning Center provided by the building adjacent the hotel. 

Skyrink Building
The Skyrink Building acts as a sorting and storage point for all recyclable matter. This recyclable material is re-manufactured within the existing shopping complex and sold back to the community by the people working under the program. This is part of the skills development program and provides those under it practical experience.
The street plaza is to be greened and provide space within and around it for the previous shopping complex's tenants, creating a more outdoor market and activating the space around the complex.
The basement parking levels are to be used to store and treat water from rainwater harvesting and grey water systems which would serve the complex.

A more detailed analysis of the Carlton Center, and its re-adaptive plan.

Post Crit
Post Crit: Although the idea of re-assimilating all aspects of society is sound, the placement of a recycling sortment facility in an urban CBD was not received well.
The removal of an existing, viable shopping complex was also criticised while more emphasis on the Carlton Center itself was recommended.

The phrase 'Back to the drawing board' as well 'You're trying to con us with your wordsmithery and emotive imagery' were also used. The designer is still not sure what either of these mean in the context of the presentation and has chosen to interpret these in his own manner...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Environmental Potential: Part 1

Critique 1
Our new assignment is a adaptive re-use of the Carlton Center in Johanessburg CBD.

My initial idea was to flood the entire basement section (as the BRT system would provide future transport for all visitors and workers to the complex)and by harvesting all the rain water in the area, purifying it and selling it back to the commercial sector as industrial water create a viable and sustainable way to re-integrate the complex back into to the grid.

The basement could hold roughly 58 million litres of water, and the existing Carlton Hotel would provide housing for all those working at the treatment facility.

The Carlton center itself would house the office for JHB water, and the adjacent building would provide additional services for the facility such as collection and re-distribution points for the supply and distribution of the water.

The Carlton center itself would be re-adapted to be more energy efficient. This is demonstrated by the inclusion of a double skin modular unit that fits within each segment of the existing structure.

The Carleton Center
The unit also employs light shelves to help natural light further into the deep planned building which together with a modified floor slab and curved reflective ceiling allow this to happen, while also creating a thermal barrier from the sun.

The unit also employs a system of microturbines from a local supplier would provide enough energy for the building itself surplus energy would aid in powering the treatment of water below.
Due to grid-placement of the microturbine an oppurtunity for branding is presented by colouring each turbine indiviudalling to create a pixelated but clearly graphic image on each buildings facade.

Post Crit
To house the necessary infrastructure to create the water treatment plant would be unfeasible as well as amount to more material on site that would occupy precious water space.
Although this is true, this idea could have been made possible, but due to lack of time I modified my approach accordingly.