Structural and Environmental based Imperatives in Architecture
This studio emphasized design methods and priorities based on developing and resolving structural issues and that embrace sustainable building technologies. The course achieved an evidence-based focus through the use of computer applications and measurement metrics for evaluating structure integrity and energy consumption. Sustainability will also be evaluated by utilizing the LEED checklist. To give students the opportunity to enter their designs in the ACSI Steel Competition, students were encouraged to utilize steel as the main structural framework. The stadium archetype was selected as the course project, and research and case studies of various stadia was involved.
The Green Studio Handbook by Kwok, and Gronzik
Heating, Cooling and Lighting by Norbert Lechner
Structure Systems by Heino Engel
The Function of Form by Farshid Moussavi
The Art of Structures by Aurelio Muttoni
The Structural Basis of Architecture by Bjorn N. Sandaker
The Advanced Design Studio 2 section I participated in had an emphasis on structure and sustainability. It was unique in that it not only encouraged an interesting, eye-catching design, but the design actually had to perform structurally. The course project was to design a soccer/rugby stadium on a former landfill in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The course began with case studies on the stadium typology, which gave all of the students a variety of ideas and options for the planning and design of their future stadium. I researched the Olympic Stadium in London, which offered a unique downsizing solution in addition to revitalizing the surrounding area. The iconic Olympic stadiums of the past are often under-utilized, so this taught me that the best design can sacrifice the bells and whistles in lieu of efficient and environmentally conscious design.
The class then broke into groups to research the project site and its history, which created an extremely thorough site analysis for the entire class to draw information from. One of the teams was tasked with creating a program for the stadium, which was to house over 8,000 seats. Schematic design was started as an individual venture, and involved creating four different design alternatives, which is comparable to the design alternatives that one might show a client in a professional setting. The instructor emphasized the importance of creating design alternatives that are derived from different primary and secondary objectives. This exercise was worthwhile because we had to arrive at many solutions early in the process, rather than simply moving forwarding with the first idea. As a team of three in my specific group, we combined aspects of our schematic alternatives to create one concept. Our team of three was the largest in the class, and this resulted in expanded requirements and expectations. Our group organization was handled very well: One student focused on the site design, one on the structure, and one on the stadium layout. Maintaining communication and breaking the work out equally contributed to our success as a team.
As our designs became more developed, we utilized structural calculation software that analyzed where any weak points of the design’s structure might be. We also did material take-offs and utilized software that assesses the energy impact of our chosen materials and systems. A core requirement of the project was to achieve LEED Silver or higher, which involved making sustainable design decisions from the beginning of the design process. We had to specify and run calculations for stormwater retention, geothermal wells, and rainwater runoff. This is the only academic studio I have experienced that took the project to that amount of detail. The technical realistic aspects of the course made it very practical and relevant, and it will serve as good practice if I get the opportunity to be a key part of a building’s planning and design.