Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sustainable Future

After recently receiving confirmation of joining the URBAN theme group, this week we have finalised our project group of four to commence Project 1 – Creating a “Future Scenario” for our proposed architectural design within Brisbane City.

Our project group started to look at various issues which would have a large impact on Brisbane City and its inhabitants within a 50-100 year time frame. The issues we discussed were broad and dramatic and included topics such as WAR and SUDDEN CLIMATE CHANGE. We wanted to work on a topic that would be some-what feasible, and then turn the notch up on the intensity. The element of heat, and taking a spin on the current Australian issue of Sun damage allowed us to start to question the effect on the growing population, subsequent increase in pollution which results in a dramatic thinning on the O-Zone layer – particularly in the Southern Hemisphere and conveniently above Australia. Our group quickly fumbled out each of our individual views, and it was clear that our ideas needed to narrowed into an agreeable scenario. After discussing our initial idea with one of our tutors we received the “nod” and gained alot of interesting ideas such as the various layers that would be affected due to this change in the climate – we would need to expand and document the “Domino Effect” of this nationwide disaster. With such a dramatic change in the O-Zone layer would create various weather changes within and around Australia. “This would cause, this and that would cause this to happen and.. etc”. The cycle continued. I like the idea of such a dramatic event as our architectural solution will be very interesting. One of our tutors mentioned that perhaps, people would need to seek refuge underground due to the high level of UV radiation. Perhaps no-one uses cars anymore due to the heat and solar damage outside. Perhaps the existing streets within Brisbane City have been flooded as due to the increase of solar activity, the polar ice-caps have melted and the sea levels have risen dramatically. All interesting concepts which I’m looking forward to discussing in our next group tutorial.

“Boredom + Money + Fashion 
= New Wallpaper Every 7 Years.” (Brand, 1994)

I found this weeks reading very interesting; Brand (1994) discussed Frank Duffy’s “Shearing Layers” concept which what I gather, discusses Duffy’s view that buildings are a set of components that evolve in different timescales; Frank Duffy summarized this view in his phrase: “Our basic argument is that there isn't any such thing as a building. A building properly conceived is several layers of longevity of built components”.The concept of Shearing Layers leads to an architectural design principle, known as Pace-Layering, which arranges the layers to allow for maximum adaptability. The layers are (quoted from Brand, 1994):

Site: This is the geographical setting, the urban location, and the legally defined lot, whose boundaries and context outlast generations of ephemeral buildings. "Site is eternal." Duffy agrees.

Structure: The foundation and load-bearing elements are perilous and expensive to change, so people don't. These are the building. Structural life ranges from thirty to three hundred years (but few buildings make it past sixty for other reasons).

Skin: Exterior surfaces now change every twenty years or so, to keep up with fashion or technology, or for wholesale repair. Recent focus on energy costs has led to re-engineered skins that are air-tight and better-insulated.

Services: These are the working guts of a building: communications wiring, electrical wiring, plumbing, fire sprinkler systems, HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning), and moving parts like elevators and escalators. They wear out or obsolesce every seven to fifteen years. Many buildings are demolished early if their outdated systems are too deeply embedded to replace easily.
Space Plan: The Interior layout—where walls, ceilings, floors, and doors go. Turbulent commercial space can change every three years or so; exceptionally quiet homes might wait thirty years.

Stuff: Chairs, desks, phones, pictures; kitchen appliances, lamps, hairbrushes; all the things that twitch around daily to monthly. Furniture is called mobilia in Italian for good reason.

Reference to quotations: Brand, S., 1997. Shearing Layers, in How buildings learn: what happens after they’re built, London: Phoenix Illustrated. pp12-23

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