For the final project of Systems, Sites, and Buildings, we were asked to incorporate a set of systems that could enhance our buildings functionality in to our final project for Architecture 3010. The site is located in New York City, near the recently opened Highline Park, an elevated railway-converted-park, which is a unique experience being on a park in the sky. The program is a Rehabilitation Center for Wounded Veterans and would consist of rehab gyms, a chapel, a cafe, therapy pool, and therapy gardens, as well 48 housing units. To create a desirable space, it must get adequate light, especially in a city like New York, and it must be well ventilated. Included in the building to make the building desirable and comfortable are a baffling system to diffuse and direct light, and a cross-ventilating system to allow airflow.
The Introduction of Louvers-Light and Visibility
Controlling the amount of sun exposure for the comfort of the guests are essential to any building design. In this building, the louvers serve multiple purposes. They serve as a way to reflect or diffuse light, depending on the angle they are rotated at. They serve as a way to usher in air and cross ventilate the building in the summer and retain heat within the space to create balconies that can be occupied yearly. The louvers also act as a way of creating privacy from the busy streets below and the pedestrian-heavy Highline. Privacy is important, especially in a rehab center where, there are times were you may need to be alone to reflect and overcome an obstacle. The louvers are made of glass because of the ability of glass to give little interference with the views of the highline to the east of the site, and the bay to the west of the site. Glass also give the ability to trap heat, so in the winter, the balcony will be able to be used more a a way to relax or socialize instead of turning into a storage room as many balconies on tall building unconsciously convert into. Most of the glass louvers will be frosted to give a sense of privacy , however two rows of panels will be left clear to allow a view out. The frosted glass panels shad the balcony from the harsh glare of the sun and diffuses the light further into the room. When tilted at an angle, the sunlight can be deflected to bounce of the ceiling of the balcony or of the room to light up the interior space. The indirect light can filter through multiple rooms through the use of clerestory windows.
Louvers for Ventilation
The louvers allow for the individual rooms of the patients to get ventilation. The wind comes from the souh-southeast for most of the year. On summer days, this will allow for some cool air to reach the patients. New York is very humid in the summer, so in order to take some of that humidity away, there are gardens that cool the air for some residences by bring the air through shade of the trees and cooling it. The whole building uses its thermal mass to cool the building. The floors will be concrete and cooled allow the patients to be cooled during the day along with the wind.
During the Winter, the closed glass louvers can begin to act like a greenhouse and heat up the balcony space. The balcony space can heat up the rest of the apartment through radiant heat. Due to the fact that the it is not always sunny during the winter, the balcony idea may not always work. The thermal mass of the building can heat the floors and allow heat to rise throughout the apartment. In larger spaces, such as the rehab gym or lobby area, the amount of activity going on within the space can help create heat within the human scale.
The Lower part of the building is unable to use cross-ventilation due to the fact that it is up against a parti-wall to the west of the site. These floor use the stack effect to create ventilation. Air flows in from the eastern side of the building to the western side which has and enclosed heat chimney to rise the heat up and out of the building once it clears the building to the west.