For this second year project for my technology class, I designed a small, two-person research facility along the Cooper River, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, which is near Philadelphia. The research center is a temporary facility, to provide work, lab, and storage space for a 2-3 year study on the health of the river. In addition, I used passive design strategies and maximized the use of renewable or recyclable materials to minimize the environmental impact of the building, especially in my choose to use straw bale walls and wool roof insulation.
After a site analysis (above), I developed the design of the research center. I designed the building to fit in aesthetically with the site, which is relatively undisturbed nature. One key part of the design is how it nestles into the corner of an old horse corral fence, both paying homage and becoming a part of the site, and, taking advantage of a nice view and a short walk to the riverbank.
The thick walls shown in this plan are because the walls of the building are made of stacked straw bales, which have an R-value of 45, and come from a renewable and biodegradable resource. I also used solatubes and a light shelf, to harvest natural daylight to minimize the need for electric lighting. Two awning windows placed on each wall in the building encourage passive ventilation and cooling from the river breeze. Of course, the building sits raised above the ground on a concrete slab to protect the building and its contents from flooding.
To the left is the southwest elevation, to the right is the southeast elevation.