Dormitory and Facility Extension of United Christian College (Kowloon East)Edit profile
Scalene Spaces, Lean Architecture, Green Living Dormitory and Facilities Extension for United Christian College (Kowloon East) The school extension project demonstrates the creative potential in integrating a wide spectrum of programs with quality of spaces, daylight, air and greenery within a small scalene site, together with multi-folded aspirations. It strives to achieve high performance with low carbon, specific for Hong Kong's humid sub-tropical climate. It is designed with affordable technology yet based on high-science that demonstrates optimal lifecycle cost-benefits, achieving an approximately â‚¬1,000 per square metre of construction floor area. Overall, it aspires to become a living education tool to inspire the students to care for people and the environment. Density with Quality The brief asks for dormitory accommodations of 80 students, a chapel, a lecture theatre, a student canteen, a gym-room, activity rooms, an outdoor basketball court and an indoor swimming pool at an overall plot ratio of about two. To meet with the wide spectrum of requirements, an ensemble of scalene pocket spaces, courtyards and low-rise blocks comprising chapel, gym-room and indoor swimming pool with basketball court on top is articulated to unite the higher dormitory tower and the existing school block. Communal spaces are optimized as extension of the formal functions, hence fostering a spontaneous experience of learning: from individuality to collectivity, and from contemplation to sharing. As a result, a multitude of intertwining indoor and outdoor spaces at grade and in the sky are created for study and sports as well as prayer and play. To enhance the micro-climatic quality of outdoor spaces within a dense urban context and to reduce the environmental loading by reduction of solar heat gain to the interiors, greening is integrated as far as possible and practicable. An eco-path is established at ground level where trees, grass and composting bins are integrated, while at upper levels there are balconies and roofs which are terraced with greenery as “alternative learning places`. Quantitatively, an aggregate total of 50% green site coverage is achievable through vertical, horizontal and slope greening. Climatology with Sustainability In a sub-tropical climatic environment with sustainability topping its agenda, every appropriate means is explored to maximize the beneficial use of natural ventilation in the design. Central atrium for stack effect, strategic window disposition for cross ventilation, and “wing wall` concept for bay windows of the dormitory tower are practical examples in design innovation in tandem with vernacular wisdom. Attaching to the central atrium, every dormitory unit is incorporated with an operable window above the door to facilitate cross ventilation. Wind catcher integrated with vertical planting wall is incorporated at the south-eastern end of the dormitory tower to receive the prevailing summer breeze. While “voids` are introduced to integrate activities of different functions at different levels, with the application of computer simulation technologies, the disposition, dimension and proportion of these “voids` are articulated to optimize the environmental performance in themselves as well as when they are integrated with the parts or the whole of the building. These strategies adopted in the dormitory tower are similarly applied in the chapel block, canteen and other activity spaces of the annex building. From IES Virtual Environment and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis, it is simulated that one-third to two-thirds of natural ventilation mode of operation in different areas will be achievable, i.e., significant energy conservation is attainable with cultivating the lifestyle of occupants to support the low-carbon goal. Besides N-S orientation and solar shading integration, day-lighting is optimized for the dormitory units as well as all other activity spaces. After reviewing the daylight performance using computer software, even the dormitory units facing the inner court can achieve an average illumination level of 300-400 lux while achieving a Vertical Daylight Factor (VDF) of 21 % (well above the minimum standard of 8% as stipulated in the local design guide). Simplicity with Livability Emphasizing on simple living with less material usage and less waste generation, simple and unadorned materials are adopted throughout the new annex. Plain or granolithic floor screed covers the gymnasium and the majority of outdoor spaces while FSC certified timber is the principal material for sun-shading devices, fences and handrails. Sourced from the Pearl River Delta, bamboo flooring is installed in the chapel and dormitory in view of its low embodied energy, rapidly regenerating and renewable nature and reasonable durability. Paver blocks for outdoor area are made from a combination of reusing old pavers salvaged on-site and specifying pavers with recycled contents and TiO2 which can further help clear airborne pollutants. Old flag poles, etc, are also salvaged on-site for reuse. During operation stage, simple effective means are provided to minimize waste generation. Plumbing and drainage system is designed to facilitate the use of grey water from swimming pool for recurring cleansing of outdoor hard-paved areas. Composting bins will also be integrated at ground floor landscape area for turning organic waste from canteen into fertilizer for on-site application. Apart from adopting the local “Comprehensive Environmental Performance Assessment Scheme for Buildings`, coined as CEPAS in Hong Kong, together with a life-cycle analysis for material selection and resource optimization, the overall sustainable design strategy was developed with feedback from teachers and students, bringing sustainability into the forefront of design decisions and turning it into a key concern for the eventual end users. The product becomes a valuable curriculum resource, as it allows students to live and experience how the cycle of resources are restored in a loop " for fostering a worldview of low carbon living.