Mini-update: beauty and climate change

After last week’s reboot of our weekly climate change (we missed 3 updates), it has only been a couple of days since we did our checklist, so today we will use our time to talk about a few things we didn’t address last time.
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After last week’s reboot of our weekly climate change (we missed 3 updates), it has only been a couple of days since we did our checklist, so today we will use our time to talk about a few things we didn’t address last time.

We had Dylan and Francesco with us on Friday sharing us their initial branding approach, and it does centre on ideas of recycled paper, earthy colours, and a call to action to “construct a more beautiful world.”

We spent the morning talking about the balance between beauty, innovation, and wisdom in our studio. We are grappling with the role of an architect in the world and what should be the things for us to focus on the most. Focusing so much on the beauty we intend to create in the world feels like it risks irrelevance or frivolity in the face of climate emergency. And yet our ability to create beautiful things is one of our main reasons for being. It is difficult.

We have also decided that we need to educate ourselves more about the balance of emissions impact in our daily lives and in our work at the office. Josef will be doing some research and we will progress it next week.


For the checklist, we still have not worked out the best way to do the collapsible text. The idea here might be to introduce the new ones in bold. Perhaps that will help.


-We now have the core on the east side of the building, and we are investigating natural ventilation and also a “green core” concept for it. Can we relate the design of that “green” or “healthy” core to the design of the whole building somehow? We could still draw air all the way up to the roof possibly. 
-We have succeeded in convincing the client to go for a cantilever solution with glass on the ground floor, and this works with balancing urban life with environmental shading. We should do a radiation analysis to demonstrate the effect. (We can do it during learning on Friday)

-Looking at the radiation analysis that we’ve done, the southwest side will need solar shading measures on the upper levels. 
-Let’s remember to reuse the solar panels that she has, or even add to them.
-We should do daylighting studies for the interiors as well (Honeybee). 
-What is the material story for sustainability? We need to start thinking about this more. Stone vs. brick for the facade would be an important question. Stone is cheaper. Both are durable. Josef will be researching for us.
-What should be the design life of this building? To be discussed further – but we need to understand this issue. We think it is a 50 year building. Can we design something that others will want to live in in the future? Think of Georgian terraces.
-Insulation specification of the windows and the facade is important.
-We will focus for now on the facade and deal with the shutters, the shading, and the window designs.

For the confidential project:
-This is now progressing and we just need to start incorporating these concepts into the booklet where relevant.
-We have now settled on a lightweight metallic structure.

-Solar gain is an important part of the design and we should be calculating this and avoiding too much glass where we have high heat loads. Also, heat loss from the glass is an important consideration.
-Are we going to heat and cool it, and if so how will we do that in a sustainable way? 
-What is the design life for this building? Could the glass be replaced easily every 20/25 years while the rest of the building lasts for 100?
-Could we consider maintenance for this? It will be important for the long-term viability and design life of the building. This also affects the aesthetics.
-Could it be designed as a modular design that could create simplified fabrication and also the possibility for dismounting or moving when needed? Design for dismounting would help us with our story for Historic England.
-Could it be designed for minimal waste in construction?
-Passive design principles–would it be possible to have some principles that would help with that? Passive heating in thermal mass in the floor in the winter? Cooled radiant floor in the summer? Maybe a way of drawing the air past the interior plants or exterior plants as part of the ventilation concept? And possibility water features?
-Natural ventilation and opening panels being a feature?
-Thickness of the roof and insulation of the roof is an important consideration.

-We did a radiation study of the curved facade and there isn’t much difference based on the curve. But there is a big difference from ground to upper levels. This could impact the design.
-Design for disassembly is still an idea for us. However, we are now considering more design for flexibility and adaptive reuse. For now, flexibility is more of a priority for us than disassembly.
-We probably cannot do a wooden structure due to political considerations. We need to do some research on sustainable steel construction (Younha’s alternative suggestion). Josef to research.
-We have created a glazed courtyard in the centre of Clockhouse. We need to consider the microclimate there and the energy story for cooling or heating that space, or whether it would be naturally ventilated.
-We have also created green cores in the building. Those could help with ventilation. 

-Modular design for mechanical services: we should just talk about sustainable mechanical design with our engineer briefly even at this stage.
-Maintaining cross-ventilation for the building would be an important criteria for design. Natural vs mechanical ventilation is very important.
-Could this be a fully passive building? If not, could it achieve fully carbon neutral? Zero net energy? (Passivhaus is a possibility to consider).
-For this, daylighting becomes really important.
-Green roof and rainwater collection for the building. Also PV’s on the roof as an important model.
-We have included a lot more trees and vegetation as previously discussed. We created the wellness park. We have also used biophilic design in the beacon.
-Encouraging limiting of car traffic in the centre.
-Managing construction and demolition of the site could be discussed at later stages.

The villa: 
-Wood for feature walls: can it be FSC certified? Definitely Moso bamboo is a good source. We should find out about the other sourcing.
-Low VOC finishing oils for the wood. Get advice from Moso.
-Paints that absorb pollution and CO2? Josef and Weronika research the benefits and present the idea. 
-We are using LED lighting, that will save energy.
-Greywater reuse? Discuss with client.
-Water: low-flow fittings that still have really strong pressure? 
-Rainwater harvesting for outdoor irrigation?
-Stone for facade was sourced regionally (Syria). Stone for floor was sourced (in Spain?)
-For future projects there, can we do more with local labour, local materials, local products?

Peak residence:
-Let’s create a briefing that shows the site so that people can comment on this next time.

-For the office, organising relevant CPD’s related to climate change. An actual climate change expert.
-We could go to events.
-We can make a wish list of people we might like to come
-Ellen MacArthur foundation (Circular economy UK)
-Patrick Bellew
-David Richards
-Jonathan Smales
-Arabella and Monika on materials?
-Cindy Harris and Pat Borer (The whole house book)?
-Wood for Good people?
-Blanche Cameron (Josef’s tutor from UCL)?

-Possibly organise group CPD with others.
-Also a more clear recycling strategy.

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