Office Building Design

Situated in 431 Veterans Memorial Parkway, the proposal for the new office building is a combination of the curtain wall system and cast in place concrete structure with solar panel roof overhanging from the building.

The building is an L shape massing that responds to the solar orientation where the corner facing true south consists of a transparent glazed wall and the envelope transitions into a masonry system with terracotta rainscreen.

The building has a continuous grid that binds the pattern of different facades yet the amount of opening in the masonry wall decreases as it gets further away from the south to the north. The split of the roof increases the chance for sunlight to enter and passively heat farther into the building rather than just on the front facade. We were able to achieve a EUI of 6. The lowest in our year.

The structure consists of a concrete column grid placed at 23ft and 18 ft intervals. These columns are 2 feet in length and width. As the structure is cast in place, one-way beam and slab construction system are used. The beams are located along the short side and are 2 ft in-depth, 2 ft in width,  and 60 ft in length. Pilings are used for the foundation as the site is located in an area with a slightly high water table and unstable soil.

The project makes use of a centralised core system. This allows for programs like - office spaces or cafes to be located along walls with apertures as opposed to the central area of the building. Most importantly a central core also acts as a shear wall system to provide the necessary lateral stability for the building.

The building is heated and cooled through an active chilled beam system as it is more energy efficient to pump water than it is air. Cooling coils rely on natural convection as heat transfer. Warm air rises to the chilled beam, which is located in the ceiling and passes through a heat exchange coil where it cools and then falls to the floor.

Using chilled beams to heat and cool space is more efficient because 1 cubic foot of water can carry the same amount of heat as 3000 cubic feet of air, thus the energy can be moved in small pipes rather than large ducts. Typical 18-inch ducts are replaced with 1-inch radius water pipes

Due to smaller air ducts, the space above a ceiling can be reduced, which in turn reduces the building height, thus lowering material costs. Composting toilets use a vertical plumbing system with 4-inch pipes, releasing into the compost tank, situated in the mechanical room on the parking garage level.

At the scale of a wall section where the roof and the wall meet, the envelope utilizes steel corner that wraps around the insulation and creates an edge condition that allows water to slip down and fall off before getting into the wall.

The north wall has terracotta rainscreen which acts as a water barrier to keep the water and moisture out of the building. The majority of rainwater is deflected by the terracotta panels. Minimal moisture penetrates through the cavity between the rainscreen and the wall structure. To prevent condensation, the cavity also acts as a path for airflow which allows moisture to evaporate or drip down and out of the system.