STUDENT WORK: washington university

ar512/612 graduate design studio, sp'98

The Poetics and Pragmatics of Environmental Design
(Leading Edge Competition)

ARCH 512/612 studio
Assistant Professor Mark DeKay

If you are a poet, you can see that there is a cloud floating in this piece of paper..... And if you look more deeply, with the eyes of a bodhisattva, with the eyes of those who are awake, you can see not only the cloud and the sunshine in it, but that everything is here: the wheat that became the bread for the logger to eat, the logger's father -- everything is in this sheet of paper. ----Thich Nhat Hanh

link to Leading Edge Site.

Laura Dulski and Henry Mahns
Citation of Merit
for "compelling clarity in diagrammatic analysis."

Sarah Davis
Second Place competition winner (no first place award given).


Nhat Hahn, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk suggests that we develop the capacity for perceiving "interbeing," the awareness of what anthropologist Gregory Bateson called "the patterns that connect." The physicist Fritjof Capra identifies this pattern thinking as the key to understanding the characteristics of all complex systems (such as cities, buildings, and living things). Patterns of organization, as configurations of relationships, are understood in the holistic tradition of mapping, and form the basis of new ideas in the arts, such as the "connective aesthetics" outlined by the critic Suzi Gablik.

This studio will explore the great potentials in the convergence of two great traditions, the study of SUBSTANCE (in which one measures and weighs) and the study of FORM (in which one maps and finds pattern). To do so , we will consider and explore how dynamic processes (sun, wind, light, water, people, information, materials, life) form relationships with the elements and organization of architecture.

Leading Edge Student Design Competition, then in its eighth year, focuses on energy efficiency in design. The goal of the competition is to provide teaching and applied learning experience on principles and requirements of energy efficient design for tomorrow's design professionals. The competition is designed for two-year and four/five-year students with separate competition Challenges (problems) that capture the interest of each group and address the appropriate level of design experience of each.

Project Outline, schedule, themes, criteria

Full Competition Program (6.3 MB Adobe Acrobat)

Design Challenge
Students are invited to masterplan a neighborhood elementary school, and then design in detail a subset of 2-6 classrooms for the school. The elementary school, which will serve about 300 children and 30 staff members, will also serve as a community meeting room after school hours. The school district may implement year-round classes at sometime in the future; the building must be comfortable even in the summer.In the mild climate of this region, schools tend to be relatively decentralized with outdoorcovered walkways rather than interior hallways connecting groups of classrooms. Connections to the outdoors are important as is security, so that schools organized around interior courtyards arepopular. Design issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are very important,since schools must be accessible to all children in the community.

Daylighting without glare or excessive heat gain, and passive ventilation are critical considerations in creating an energy efficient school. Schools, like offices, have a great need for high quality lighting. In addition, students will find that designs that reduce the requirement for electric lighting will, if properly designed, also reduce the energy needed for cooling. Low energy alternatives to standard HVAC air handling equipment should beconsidered. Schools within an R-2 zone must abide with the setback requirements of the zone,however other requirements of the R-2 zone do not apply.

Competition Site Description
The city planners of Santa Paula have decided to allow Santa Paula to grow toward the east. Someof the growth will be along the abandoned Southern PacificRailroad right of way. Land within the existing city limits that was previously zoned M-2 or M-1 but was used for fruit warehouses,trucking companies, and storage buildings has been rezoned to R-2. An adjacent area to the south,between the railroad right of way and Main Street will be used for the Design Challenge. One hundred feet on either side of the railroad right of way above the site has been designated a greenbelt. This greenbelt is planned to connect with park areas along Santa Paula Creek to the east. While the railroad maintains control of the right of way, and there is talk of one day expanding the Los Angeles MetroLink Commuter Rail service on this route, presently the tracks are used only on weekends by a local low-speed dinner train. The city is also in the process of annexing a large parcel of agricultural land across Santa Paula Creek. This site, approximately 500 acres, is presently lemon and avocado orchards which the Limoneira Company is interested in developing for housing.This added housing will lead to the demand for the described elementary school. For the purposes of the competition, assume that all the existing buildings on the site have been removed.

The climate of the Santa Clara Valley is relatively arid with warm to hot summer temperatures, as the successful local citrus industry suggests.Summer days are sunny and often tempered by cool coastal breezes. In Santa Paula, 15 miles inland from the coast, the climate is significantly different than the mild coastal zone. The average August daytime high is 81°F which cools to a low of 55°F at night. The record summer high is 105°. Average January temperatures are highs of 67° during the day and lows of 41° at night. Sustained winter temperatures below freezing are uncommon, although the record low temperature was 25°F on January 3, 1974.

Prevailing breezes tend to move up or down the valley. On summer afternoonsand evenings, cool breezes will come up the valley from the southwest while in winter cold breezes or winds will move down the valley from the northeast. I n late summer and fall, sustained hot dry winds originating from the inland deserts blow down the valley. These winds, known locally as Santa Anas, tend to last for one to several days and contribute to late summer fires in the mountains surrounding the valley. Record high temperatures above 105° in September and October are the result of Santa Ana conditions.

Air quality is good, although morning coastal haze is common in the valley in spring and early summer. In addition, smudge pots that burn oil and gas are used in the citrus orchards on spring mornings when the trees are most susceptible to cold temperatures. Existing old-style, polluting, smudge pots were grandfathered into environmental laws aimed at improving air quality. Thus on cold spring mornings, high levels of smoke and haze may build up in the valley.

The average annual rainfall is 17.5 inches, with virtually all of it falling in the winter and early spring. Summer rains are extremely uncommon. Winter rain storms can be very heavy, causing sporadic local flooding. The last serious flood was in1980 when 7 inches of rain fell within a 12 hour period. Parts of Santa Paula were evacuated in that incident, but significant flooding did not occur.

Santa Paula is located in Climate Zone 9 (Coastal and Intermediate Valleys) as defined by the State of California Energy Commission. Burbank and Los Angeles, also in CA are the main weather stations in that Climate Zone. Compared to Los Angeles, the weather in Santa Paula is a few degrees hotter in the summer and cooler in the winter.