Get an in-depth look at some of our recent buildings that are true examples of our integrated design process.
Central South University, Fifth XiangYa Hospital
The Family Nest, a metaphor for the window in each patient room, is the building block for the façade of the Fifth XiangYa Hospital. An intimate space for family members, it mitigates the enormous difference in scale between the hospital and the individual patient. The Family Nest is repeated in each patient room, with variations calibrated to optimize solar performance and natural ventilation. To test and refine this key element, our design team considered it essential to build a full-scale prototype in our FabLab. We used the prototype not only for our own reflection and evaluation, but also to explore it with consultants and other team members, collaboratively strengthening the design.
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, MILKEN INSTITUTE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
The new Milken Institute School of Public Health embeds the core values of public health – movement, light and air, greenery, connection to place, social interaction, community engagement – in a highly unconventional building on an urban campus in the heart of the nation’s capital. A combination of sustainable strategies achieved a 64% improvement in energy cost savings over the ASHRAE baseline, a remarkably low Energy Use Index (EUI) of 67 kBtu/SF, 18 of the 19 available LEED points for Optimizing Energy Performance, and LEED Platinum Certification. In addition to right-sized and high efficiency mechanical equipment, the building employs a high-performance building envelope. Its terracotta rainscreen façade, tested through mock-ups assembled in our FabLab, responds sensitively to the building’s solar orientation, internal program and urban context.
AMHERST COLLEGE, NEW SCIENCE CENTER
The Commons is the principal gathering place of the new Science Center at Amherst College. Its campus-facing wall is primarily glass, which allows for views of the activity within and connects the users back to campus. Such a large wall made mostly of glass presents a few performance challenges; to overcome them, we worked collaboratively with our engineers and product manufacturers to develop integrated solutions. Three studies in particular tapped the collective knowledge of the team, using advanced simulation tools to analyze possibilities and inform decisions. Through the first, we were able to accurately convey how the human eye would perceive the curtain wall under a number of sky conditions, which led us to a glazing assembly with optimal light transmission and reflection. A second enabled us to develop a shade control strategy to preserve transparency. In the third, we employed Computational Fluid Dynamics to model the performance of the proposed heating and cooling systems, as well as to evaluate thermal comfort in the space.