Posts Tagged ‘Thesis’

Lighting & Env Design For Library

Been doing some research articles for sustainable design and lighting in library. Overall conclusion on what I learn/was reminded:

  • Bookstack lighting can be either Parallel or Indirect Scheme. The former one exposes the lighting, which can be an aesthetic issue. The later one can use too much energy, especially in California where the code is more strict. The best is hybrid lighting.
  • In stack lighting, evenness is much more important than high-power lighting
  • Stack lighting, for safe installation and re-lamping reason, should not be over 15′ high.
  • A research by architectural firm Heschong Mahone indicates that student who took classes in a classroom with more natural lighting can perform up to 25% better in standardized testing.
  • To encourage alternative transportation, other than more bike racks and being close to bus stops, a library can also provide electric car recharging stations and preferred parking for carpools and vanpools. A good precedence is the City of San Monica, which have installed recharging stations around the city.
  • In parking space, try to maximize open space and reduce heating absorbing and radiating materials.
  • In California, where we have a well-known issue with water, should take advantage of storm water.
  • In an ink-heavy environment like library, make sure to isolate source of chemicals in well-vented area, such as printers and copiers. Remember to use low VOC materials.
  • The Delft University of Technology Library have a tilted green roof that stretches across the entire building. It may be a good solution in a community-based building.

One Focus in Thesis

I have been thinking why I have such difficult time with my thesis. Thinking back, the best project I did typically have one main idea and one main parti – Flower and half rectangular layering, Snail and Curves, Contrast and Opposing Curves, Perpendicular road in landscape and Crosses.

In my thesis, there is so much I want to include, and my professor suggested a lot of things. I think I have been on an idea-overload. The main focus of my thesis, it seems, has been there all along. What is it?

Butterfly and Transformation, the flatten M shape of gliding wings.

San Luis Obispo Climates

A bit of climate study about San Luis Obispo

Climate: Zone 3, Marine Climate

  • Cold mean temperature of 27F-65F
  • Warm mean temperature is less than 72F
  • At least 4 months with mean temperature higher than 50F
  • Dry Summer, Mild Wet Winter
  • Cold season: April-September. Heaviest precipitation can triple the lowest precipitation during the year
  • Prevailing Wind: NorthWest


  • Latitude: 35º 18’ North
  • Longitude: 120º 39’ West
  • Maximum (June 21) = 78º 32′
  • Equinox (Mar/Sept 21) = 54º 82′
  • Minimum (Dec 21) = 31º 32′
  • Distance Above Sea Level: 30 ft

Library’s Occupancy and Codes

So, now I am looking into the codes regarding a library – all the official, legal details. I am half-tempted to go into LEED too. I went to the club meeting for Emerging Green Professional, where the club had guest speaker Marilyn Farmer, previous USGBC C4 chapter president and current Habitat Studio Principal. She also talked to the Design Build Studio I was in back when I was competing in the USGBC 2010 Natural Talent Competition. Seeing her again brings back some memories – but it also spark a few ideas. (Unfortunately, this is directly before my Art History class. I was eager to do my project, resulting in a “suppress-energy overload”. But hey, I made it, listened in class and took good notes. Now, I am on full energy mode for architecture!)

So, now I have some LEED books with me. But before that, I must work on the occupancy load and its relation to my site – I did just visited my site recently and should take full advantage of that.

Now, my building is a library. According to research, under Occupancy Classification, library is:

In term of group, it’s under the Assembly group , A-3. A-3 denotes “Assembly use intended for worship, recreation or amusement and other assembly uses not classified elsewhere in Group A…” as written in the International Building Code of 2003.

It’s Construction Type varies depending on which construction I eventually ends up with. Alas, since I don’t plan to make my library combust anytime soon (Humor intended. The code’s term “combustible” really just refers to the property of building material and how quickly the material gets burn through.), the Type number will probably be smaller. Type IA would be the least combustible option.

The occupancy load is basically this:
Occupancy Load= Gross Floor Area/Occupancy Load Factor

Occupancy Load factor for Assembly groups are typically:

  • Standing Space: 5 net ft2/person
  • Concentrated Space: 7 net ft2/person
  • Unconcentrated Space: 15 net ft2/person

To my suprise, there are special requirements just for libraries:

  • Reading room: 50 net ft2/person
  • Stack Area: 300 gross ft2/person

Library also have special fire code under California Building Code, which -relating to the context of my project – basically states that:

  • Any new facilities require automatic sprinkler system and fire extinguishing system
  • Book return slots shell at both exterior and interior location should be fire-rated  construction and have a separate sprinkler head

There are more, but those ones above are going to determine the general design the most.

1/19 To Do List

So we just had our Book Show Crit

To Do List for Architecture:

  • Buy wood, make book cover
  • Take the bus with camera, check out site. Panoramic view.
  • Finish size hierarchy diagram. Draw out a final with marker and color pencil
  • Lighting and window system planning. Cross ventilation possible. Check out MEEB
  • Diagram of building collection
  • Talk to school librarian
  • Finish water-sound concept model
  • Photo chair’s original concept model
  • Create photo booth
  • Make more form model
  • Make wall
  • Section view?
  • USGBC registration
  • Add page on material case study. Make window screen?

To Do List for Other:

  • GWR study. Visit writing lab.
  • Read the green Art History Book
  • Respond to Linkedin email. Work more on the twitter and linkedin group for Design Village.
  • Email for carpool help
  • Driver exam

Changing Materials

As I was reading Materials For Design, an interesting idea came to me: changing materials. At first, I was randomly flipping through the book when I cam across Kavel 7 by Heren 5 architecten. I was immediately stump at the page when the first don’t have window and lies flat among city housing.
That was my initial thought. Upon closer inspection, I notice that the flat veneer are more like panels, since three of the tiny panels bends and reveals windows behind.

[Images from Heren5’s own web site]
The panel turns out to be Cor-Ten steel, which is a patent-protected oxidized steel from by different alloy metal. Panels and panels of Cor-ten form the facade of the building, giving it large window area while blending it into the brick-heavy apartment surrounding.
I like how the material’s original color is use and how the panels can be easily operated through an electric motor and its folding-sliding system. It’s all very flexible, but don’t appear to be intimidating since it don’t have a complex system or enormous size.
After that, I flip to another page and read a bit about copper. Then of using metal and facade system that changes with time, very much like the DeYoung Museum uses the material of copper in its facade, comes to mind.
The concept for my thesis right now is “a library of the future”. While working on my sectional earlier, I came up with the idea of a mobile, separable building components, so that the library can move its rooms – whether by removing or adding – all according to future needs. While I generally likes wood a lot, wouldn’t it be a suitable idea to have material that changes with time?

Arch Book Review: Materials For Design

So many lovely architecture books… that the benefit of going a polytechnic university. There is a pretty good selection of architecture books here in Cal Poly SLO.

I thought I should start writing some review. I read so many books anyway (as many of you know, I am a total bookworm. Even more so ever since I started working in the school library last year. Now, I am even building a library for thesis!)

So, let’s begin with recent favorites. For today, let me introduce Material For Design by Victoria Ballard Bell:

I wish I have found this book earlier. It’s so clear and concise yet informative. It is not that big, nor expensive. That is actually beauty of it. I can carry it anywhere, and it doesn’t take forever to read through it. Yet, the content is good enough that you will want to keep it as a reference even after reading it and remember it.

Let me go into the details. Basically, the chapter is divided into 5 materials: Glass, Concrete, Wood, Metals, Plastics. Pretty simple and normal material, right? Not exactly.

For each chapter, the author goes further into and outlines the basic information, history, design consideration, and types. In addition, depending on the material, the author goes further into things like preservatives, connections, additives, processing, and other features or requirements that comes with the material.  For example, with glass, the author list out the different construction of wood building and preservatives used under Design Consideration. In Types, he list out Lumber, Laminated Wood, Panel Products, Manufactured Wood Components, and Connectors. Then he list out the different kinds of Types. Manufactured Wood Components, for example, list out Trusses, Plywood I-Beams, and Panel & Box Components. He goes into detail about each kinds from a design perspective, such as how it is made, what is the material, known properties, how it is put together and used in building, standard size, grading, environmental issues, etc. In metal, there is even charts of Galvanic Relationship Between Metals, Comparison of Metal Properties, Effects of Weathering, and Relatives Cost. All in clear, easy to read format and don’t have you going to check the dictionary. Golden.

It’s informative enough to make good design consideration and leaves space for further research if desire, but not so complex and overstate that you will need to reference your ARCE textbook or make you want to just flip through the pages looking for a index.

The book then list out different buildings as material examples. There is a good amount of eye-candies. But! There is also an ample amount of sections (yes, gasp, sections! With uniform, clear labels. No blurry hand-drawings from scans or shorthand writing) and floor plans with arrows.

The book itself is worth collection with its book quality, too. It’s got a nice, simple blue cover that extends over to the binding side. The book itself have a plastic cover. The page edge is change shades of blue-green color base on the material discussed (Concrete, for example, is a light grayish blue) Each page is colored. The book is only about 300 pages, making it fairly thin for an architecture book. The size is regular paper size, perfect for fitting into a backpack.

If I had saw this during freshman year, I would’ve totally buy it. But alas, I only have 2 quarter to go before graduation. For now, I shall happily reading through the book.

Teens and Afterschool Violence

My thesis project started out as a library that kids can go to after school. Then it changed into a teen community center, then it changed into a city square for teenager. As a result, I had been doing research regarding teen violence after school. I originally targeted my project for high school students, then in my research, I found this surprising fact:

“The highest juvenile crime rate is between three and six p.m. – and in many neighborhoods, the juveniles that are doing that crime or getting in trouble are between the ages of 11 and 14 or 15 years old, and that’s the middle school.”

– Walt Thompson, Executive Director, After School All-Stars
Found in “Roaming Teens a Recipe for Violence” at

Most after school violence happens in middle school?
It struck me how dangerous life for teens can be. For now, my project is definitely going to focus more on making it middle school friendly.

Hola Hoop and Metal Mill

Sleep deprived and slightly irritated (Keep dropping and spilling things the whole day for no reason, including lost favorite hair tie) last night, I, for some strange reason, thought: “I should make my furniture out of hola hoop…”
Of course, I realize right away that hola hoop is way small. But then, if I can use hola hoop to make a furniture, that would certainly be fun…
On to more serious topic, found a metal mill in San Luis Obispo. It’s McCarthy Steel, at 313 South Street. Unfortunately, it close at 4:30, and my Art 312 ends at 4pm. Seeing as I don’t even have a driver license, I will probably visit on Thursday.

Looking into Reuse Furniture

Thought I would look into some reused furniture and other random inspiration. Here’s my top pick of the day:

As always, design-idea-window-shopping for me equals to a quick stop at Vinyl wall sticker. Very fun… ( :

Of course, the erasable writing walls by IdeaPaint is brilliant as well. Even architecture students like us would like them… actually, I think most architect and students would be in love? ( :

Oh, this sentence here is just brilliant! Totally fits, doesn’t it?

This is one light chair! Just a simple, 2.5mm aluminum sheet chair (

Not related to my design, but too cute not to include. Who knows, maybe it will inspire something else later! (

But alas, the golden finding today is here – 20 different furniture that reuse ordinary objects. Amazing what our brains can come up with! ( Here’s three of the furniture that I particularly like.

Kid’s dream come true (You know, the many time when you want to jump on that shopping cart and zip-zap across the grocery store?), thanks to Reestore

Then there is the design of using light fixture as light fixture.

No. I didn’t accidentally repeat myself.

Castor Canadensis uses old fluorescent light… to make a new light fixture!

Andrew Gregg’s Tire Chair is quite innovative and well-made as well. I like how the tire is made in a way that gives a new image to tire.