Author: Daniel Dickson

Stoic Ephemeral: Building as Urban Forest for a Viable Canadian National Capital Region

Studio: ARCC 5100 – MArch – Advanced Building Systems

Professor: Jerry Hacker

Year: Fall 2020

Project Description

How can a ‘green’house be maintained in a climate (hot summers, cold winters) increasingly prone to cold snaps and heat waves, adjacent to a frantic urban street, in a fragile riparian landscape? The project sought an answer from the beginning to departs from linear economy models (take-make-use-throw away) to focus on a circular economy by way of DFDA, re-purposing, and suspending the construction investment in a loop.

An early decision was made to limit concrete and steel use (energy and carbon-intensive materials), directing construction instead to large quantities of mass timber, extensive siteworks, and environmental improvements. These atypical costs are mitigated at the level of detailing, where resources chosen and spaces enclosed are ‘built for change’, with modularity, durability and adaptability in mind. The initial impetus is far outweighed by the prolonged building and material lifespan, and a highly specific integration with the site.

Further, the building strives to be energy positive through heat generation and recirculation from the greenhouses, storage and heat release via integral Trombe walls, and stack-effect natural ventilation. Father passive principles are employed, with responsible glazing ratio, and continuous airtight, highly insulated envelope. An integrated photovoltaic array supplies 93,500kWh/year, powering artificial lighting throughout. Overall, timber quantities sequester 5,350,000 lbs of CO2e, covering 5,180,000 lbs required for construction and exceeding net-zero carbon.