In the plan and diagrams above, you can see how we've adjusted the orientation of the containers to allow natural airflow through them during the warmest months. The plan also maximizes the views across the site and provides buffers from distant neighbors.
One of the advantages to working with shipping containers is the standardized dimensions of each unit. While having to work within specific dimensions may seem restrictive design, we find inspiration in the opportunities. Modularity gives us a rhythm of dimensioning to work with as well as a kit of parts which work together in different configurations. But the greater opportunity is what we can design in to juxtapose the inherent qualities of the module so that the result is not simply a stack of containers dropped onto earth, but architecture which uses juxtaposing ideas which bring out the best qualities of the home itself, but also one that breaks its own mold to become part of the landscape. One opportunity we can take advantage of, for example, is the space between containers. In the plan above, you can see how containers which shift and pull apart at a slight rotation can result in an interesting circulation space, leaving the container themselves to house living spaces. The connecting space can then become something unique in its own right. Further explorations come through various iterations and modifications of this plan and each is tested in the site.
Three versions are placed in the wind simulator in summer and winter.
With a little know how, we can use Photoshop as a site an analysis tool. How can this be? Well, the first thing we need to know is that most aerial imagery is shot during winter months when deciduous trees have dropped their leaves, so anything that is still green in the aerial is either coniferous, evergreen or in temperate climates like Florida, a deciduous tree that stays green all year such as a live oak. By adjusting the color histogram of the aerial we can tune up the difference between the colors of the ground and vegetation resulting in a more legible plant map. The brightest greens are pines, the darker greens are the oaks and the blue-greens are the “Florida rosemary”. The red areas are “dead” things, fallen leaves, pine needles and dormant grasses.
Using beta software from Autodesk, we imported a digital model and ran it through in a wind simulator using annual climate data. This image actually shows a 3D representation of wind speed over the land that can be adjusted to time of day and time of year. We can include affects and obstacles such as topography and vegetation to understand how these impact our siting of the residence to maximize natural ventilation.Next Post: We use this information to site our proto plan and evaluate the impacts of our orientation on both the site and our construction.
Fox Residence Open House 02 25 2012Despite the harsh cold of winter morning, the open house was a success. Over 500 + Gainesville residences came to support the container house. The Open House started strong with guided tours by the architect and owner. Tours were short but elaborate, roughly 20 minutes each. Visitors were informed of spatial programmings and sustainable design concepts of the project. With minimal restrictions [safety purposes], visitors were free to explore independently within the three story structure. The itinerary of tours ended on the roof top deck with visitors gazing over downtown Gainesville wondering what future has in store for container constructions. Here are some pictures from the Open House.