Buildings can be arranged, formed and designed to complement each other and strengthen their relationship to the environment. With the predictions of rising sea level, extreme storms and temperatures rising; it becomes imperative to consider the relationship of the city to the sun, the effects of wind on an urban scale and energy efficiency at the building scale.
The Fort Point District 100 Acres Master Plan is modified to create a board walk 10′ above the existing grade, accommodating pedestrian circulation, park space and creating a raised entry level for new and existing buildings.
By dedicating the raised grade level to the pedestrian, the urban plan becomes free of the restrictive street grid (which forces buildings into the shade of neighboring buildings and creates undesirable wind tunnels). In plan, the staggered building arrangement optimizes solar penetration and wind flow around buildings, allowing each building access to daylighting and natural ventilation.
In the absence of storm surge, the existing grade below the board walk may be utilized for parking electric vehicles (charged by the PV-shelter walk) and delivery services. During a storm surges the area may be cleared of vehicles and delivery services may utilize the emergency vehicle access at the raised grade, which is connected to Summer Street.
The aerodynamic form of the buildings serves to promote natural ventilation by minimizing turbulences and allowing the wind to graze the facade. The aerodynamic form also serves to protect the buildings in the event of high wind storms. The horizontal shelves created by the balconies and solar panels serve to prevent intense wind turbulence at the ground level. The horizontal plane of solar panels also acts as light shelves, blocking the direct summer sunlight/heat gain, bouncing indirect light deep into the space, while allowing for winter sun penetration.
- The hundred acres are built upon a raised boardwalk with integrated landscaping, connecting to the existing roadway and the planned green space sloped to connect to the pedestrian walk along the channel.
- Urban arrangement maximizes solar exposure for solar panels. Horizontal solar panels generate energy while providing shade from summer sun and allow winter sun penetration.
- Buildings stepped as they go north to allow for greater height and more rentable sf while preventing neighboring buildings from shading each other.
- Building form leans slightly toward the south, which blocks the high angle of the summer sun and allowing winter sun penetration.
- Building arrangement to promote natural ventilation of units and prevent wind tunnels.
- Aerodynamic building form to protect against high winds in extreme storms.
- Operable windows can capture breezes to promote natural cooling.
- Horizontal planes (solar panels and balconies) break wind from creating turbulence at ground levels.
- Flat panels are angled to create curved form, also more energy efficient (more volume with the less exterior area exposure).
Additional technologies such as geothermal or sea water loops may utilize the consistent temperatures below grade and in the sea for heating and cooling. The piping and sea water resistant utilities may be run in the space below the raised grade.
Matthew Calvey, AIA; Architect at Architerra-Inc; BAC
Matthew Calvey, Architect/Author