Mineral Research and Tourist Hub, Badwater, CA

Project :Biomic Architecture
Mineral Research and Tourist Hub, Badwater, Death Valley, CA

Design Exergesis

The origin of this prototype is the will to answer with an innovative architectural proposal (Biomic Architecture) in very extreme climate of Death Valley, California, United States of America. To create the fluid language towards a building as the environment machine, three flow conditions have been put into consideration including human flow, sunlight, and air movement. The proposal has been driven by strong principles of environmental and sustainable design. The idea of the design is to bring new attention to biomemetic solutions, creative answers to design problems based on the natural functionality of biological adaptations and eventually enhance sustainable building practices as well as find organic solutions to whole building system. The systems used are numerous, integral and across all levels of the design. Moreover, the development also aims to be the tourist and research hotbed for the minerals.

Dealing with hot and arid climate gives advantage to use different design approaches and strategies. Abundant sunlight, salty water bodies and vast salt plateau are the key for producing green energy electricity by using solar molten salt technology. The use of hybrid tri-generation plan reduces carbon footprint by optimizing heat waste generated by the plant to be incorporated in cooling and heating system.

The high evaporative rate and the aids of prevailing south-west wind give advantage to a passive desalination system to evaporate water at the site. The fresh water will be supplied to internal courtyard and provide passive cooling from channelled air. Active water desalination system uses sunlight to produce pure salt, and water which will be feed the turbine and daily consumptions.

Evaporative Cooling is the main indoor climatic cooling features. The air moves from lower ground to the upper floor due to negative pressure created from thermal chimney, will be cooled and freshened by wet mesh and internal garden at ground floor before being supplied to the entire building spaces. This cooling strategy will continue at night with the use of thermal mass in that chimney, and at the same time the upper accommodation area will have evaporative cooling directly from the air that cross ventilated as the skins open.

The design and layout of the building reduces energy consumption by maximising access of natural ventilation and provide excellent penetration of natural light to living spaces. A large area is given over to full height atrium allowing natural stack cooling to occur through all the spaces including accommodation area. Furthermore, it enhances the internal view while providing fresh air to the spaces. To achieve that, mechanical systems are aided to utilise a complex building system that allows individual spaces within the building to be heated and cooled as integrated hybrid system.

Double skin facades are used to reduce heat gain inside the building.  The outer glass skin is separated by a large ventilated cavity from an inner double glazed skin. This cavity contained adjustable and retractable automatic mechanism fabric which response to the sunlight and shaded the internal skin and aesthetically creates patterns.  Besides, the North skin designed from the flow of human in the building from scattered condition to more focus and organized as it goes higher, where users’ circulation is kept near to the edges that offer views.

In brief, should the building succeed in what it aims to achieve. The Death Valley development will be the example of a new era of sustainable architecture in the desert. The program created within the parameters will be the option for the conventional fuel as source of energy to a renewable energy generation of hybrid system.

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