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Contents Year Design Report p.3 Reflective self-appraisal and critique

Crossover p.4 ‘Velo-City’ - Cycling Hub in Sheffield

Civic Centred p.10 Accessible Community Centre for Tynemouth

Life On the Edge p.22 Foyer Accommodation on the Ouseburn

Placed, Displaced p.32 Terraced House in Newcastle Suburbs

Charette Week p.42 ‘Food for Thought’ - Conceptual Food Exhibit


Non-Design Work ‘Place of Houses’ Essay p.46 Environmental Design and Services Report p.48 ‘Life On The Edge’ Structural Analysis p.52 ‘Civic Centred’ Access for All and Means of Escape p.58

YEAR DESIGN REPORT (with reference to pages in Learning Journal)

“ I s t u dy a r c hi t ec t u r e b ec a us e I l ov e s p a ce - 3 D s c ul p t ur e w h i c h w e i nha b i t a nd h as t h e c a p a b i l i t y t o m ov e u s . I wa n t t o cre at e t hi s k i nd of s p a c e - s om et hi ng ta n gible ye t be au t i f u l i n a n a t m os p her i c wa y.” (p. 5 0 ) Though the process of learning is a cyclical and lifelong commitment, I am two years into the more concrete process of a degree in Architectural Studies and thoroughly enjoying the discoveries it brings. Looking across the body of work produced in the last year and especially examining my handwritten weekly entries in my learning journal, a handful of themes became prominent, including research, concept, and frustration. Each project presented different direct, synthesised challenges on an academic level, but between these I developed as a person, and pulling observations gained from ‘real life’ into my work has arguably had more effect to my integrity as a designer. The RESEARCH element of my personal development constitutes taking interest in existing architecture; investigating the written work of academics and writers; and observing the world around me. The ‘Placed, Displaced’ project and the ‘Place of Houses’ module were the perfect opportunity to learn about home and what it means (p.8), and I enjoyed Alain de Boton’s analysis on how and why buildings speak to us or resonate on deeply emotive levels1, whilst going through the process of moving family home and city of residence is giving me first-hand experience on the links between emotion, our built environment, and anthropology. A yearly subscription to the ‘Architectural Review’ is opening my eyes to wider architectural themes such as crossover with sculpture, the idea of time-management and the architect’s role within society (p.4), and continued reading will compliment studies for my dissertation focused on temporary urbanism. Two public lectures which I attended that I found particularly interesting focused on material use/waste (linking into an increasingly essential focus on sustainability),2 and also beauty in nature/ digital art, in which Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion was described as “a total 1 ‘The Architecture of Happiness’, Alain de Boton, Penguin 2 Colin Rose on ‘Resourcefulness and the Construction Industry’ talk as part of ‘Tech-Fest’ 26.2.14 and p.50 Learning Journal

built architecture: the formal language of architecture subfused with the chaos of nature”3 - the epitome of what I hoped to achieve with my ‘Civic Centred’ design. Charette Week set the tone for the year by reinforcing the importance of CONCEPT, because although our collective ideas were good, they were slightly weakened by a lack of unity and direction (p.2). The final architecture-related edible exhibit needed more careful curation, so throughout the following projects, clarity of concept became a priority, even though I struggled again at the end of ‘Life on the Edge’, when Di Leitch described the scheme as slightly ‘uncooked’ and I was reminded how important testing and making selective sacrifices are (p.30/34). Developing successful concepts seems to be a personal strength: “I am going to play with the theme”(p.20), “my interim presentation was rich in ideas”(p.26), but by the second term and the arrival of the ‘Civic Centred’ project, I finally recognised the balance between what Simon describes as ‘poetry and prose’: ultimately, “it is imperative that I pair pragmatic design with well-thought and well-described subjective decisions”(p.38/46). It seems slightly humorous that FRUSTRATION would be a final element to my Stage Two journey; however as a designer there is always a gap between what one thinks is possible or has in their head and what they can realistically achieve and communicate, and by addressing this, I hope to learn from my mistakes. Group work in the final ‘Crossover’ project was a challenge, not because of lack of interest or skills, but rather because delegation and communication are key, and as a team we failed in these aspects. In the individual work, I initially noticed frustration when working with interim feedback for ‘Life on the Edge’ - “I need to re-evaluate”(p.26) - and then when I was “still focusing on design whilst also preparing the end presentation”(p.32). A key thread running across the three terms has been wanting to illustrate and explain my ideas more clearly (p.36), and the tutors’ feedback all point towards the idea that my concept and design work is strong enough that it demands/deserves a push in visualisation skills, both analogue and digital. My physical modelling has been a success (“it gives a 3-dimensional, tangible visualisation of the spaces and atmosphere”(p.12)), but I am in the process of building specific skills to provide better imagery, and ultimately, sell my future design schemes. Stage Two at Newcastle University has been challenging and rewarding in equal measures, and much like every design student hooked on the adrenaline of a blank page and a new brief, I eagerly anticipate the (sweet but often short-lived) serendipity of a project falling into place as at the start of ‘Placed, Displaced’: “…the logic behind my design is definitely beginning to make itself known which is good”(p.6). 3 Richard Weston on ‘Digital Arts and Crafts’ talk as part of ‘Tech-Fest’ 28.2.14 and p.50 Bryony Simcox Learning Journal



Delegation, communication, innovation


Working with a complex brief to design a cycling hub in Sheffield incorporating innovation in timber, the group’s scheme was a flexible solution of unrestrained elements which resulted in an interactive ‘indoor-outdoor’ experience for cyclists and visitors. Inspired by sculptural structures, the scheme features an impressive GluLam roof which showcases the capabilities of timber, sheltering users but allowing free movement below, along delegated paths for different purposes. Beneath this canopy sit boxes with a more domestic language and human scale, holding core functions within efficient and simple timber-frame ‘sheds’, as well as a range of bicycle storage methods - ranging from secure steel boxes enclosed within a timber ‘wing’ of the building, to shor t-term hire bikes situated at the base of gigantic roof columns.




Scheme Elements


Precedents (top to bottom): The Saville Building - Glen Howells Architects, Nine Bridges Golf Club - Shigeru Ban, House in Normandy - Beckmann-N’Thépé Architectes, The Kayak House - Dualchas, Koldinghus Castle Renovation - Inger and Johannes Exner, Solemar Swimming Pool - Geier & Geier

Timber Box Explanations

Cladding Possibilities for ‘boxes’


Civic Centred

Layers of meaning, hierarchy of space, public realm


Designing a centre for the community was a good chance to work on various scales and for an interesting range of user profiles, and the inspiring coastal setting was a strong influence on my decision to promote ‘living well’ through my subtle and accessible design. As a passing place and popular destination, the building accommodates the fast-paced activities of cyclists and spor tspeople as well as providing ser vices such as a cafe and creche to those enjoying the area. Useable outdoor space blurs internal/external boundaries, whilst the inclusion of a yoga studio and contemplation zone offers a sanctuar y, sheltered from the raw elements of the setting. The facade treatment was an integral par t of the design right from the initial period, and I developed it as a ‘skin’ of var ying permeability, with different-sized interactive aper tures progressing upwards - from fast-paced to reflective, giving an external indication of the internal hierarchy.




Prior’s Haven Site

The chosen site is a south-facing strip protected by an outcrop (place of historic remains) yet connected to the sea, town and existing cycle route. I was inspired by the surrounding scenery and sense of enclosure/separation from the town.


Development and details Playing with different forms to find a pragmatic solution to the requirements as well as instilling a poetic sense of direction (elegant horizontality) is imperative in a sensitive site like Prior’s Haven, which is already loaded with meaning and implications. I also studied human-scale library settings, such as ‘The Canny Little Library’, a literary co-operative in Newcastle (right).

STRUCTURE and MATERIAL (left to right): Steel frame with intermediate concrete floors, expansive glazing, polished concrete floors, areas of zinc cladding, sedum roofs, coastal suited bushes and grasses


Floor plans

Ground Floor: 1 Bike Workshop 2 Cycling Shop 3 Administration Office 4 Toilets and Changing (including disabled provision) 5 Reception 6 Service and Boiler Room 7 Cafe and Galley Kitchen 8 Classroom 9 Creche 10 Outdoor Cafe Area First Floor: 11 Kid’s Library Area 12 General Library Area and Book Stack 13 Computer Area 14 Library Desk 15 Viewing Balcony 16 Quiet Study Area


Second Floor: 17 Quiet Study Area 18 Outdoor Corridor 19 Yoga Studio 20 Waiting Area 21 Toilets and Changing (including disabled provision)

Long Site Section

Building in context

Rear Cafe Terrace

Front approach


Facade studies

Key precedent studies: The White Chapel - Jun Aoki & Associates, The Cube Pavillion - Park Associati, The Library of Birmingham - Mecanoo Architecten, Poli House - Pezo von Ellrichshausen, Liyuan Library - Li Xiaodong, Chapel in Valleaceron - Sancho-Madridejos Architecture Office


Hierarchy of spaces



“Journeying through this building should be a pleasure - a chance to progress from a fast-paced ground floor, active and accessible, to a librar y steeped in knowledge, allowing a chance to pause for thought and obser ve the surroundings, up to the top floor, a sanctuar y and intern alised core.�


Life On The Edge

Pragmatic solutions, inspiring change, ‘tapestry’ and ‘collage’


The idea of providing temporar y accommodation that affords young people the tools that they need to take responsibility for their future really inspired me to design a solution that gave users a range of spaces to inhabit and engage with. The proposal mimics the changing heights of its setting, and angled lines give a sense of upward, positive progression. Key structural walls translate into planar, geometric elements, around which the rest takes shape. This aggregate building was described as a ‘collection of collaged things’ and a ‘rich tapestr y’, whereby interaction and movement is encouraged, much like the cascading balance of the nearby river and Ouseburn Valley itself. Although a challenging solution to an already demanding brief, I felt as though this vibrant and layered composition was a success and merely demanding longer to translate into a finished design scheme.


Development process

Basic design for inhabitant’s room became the basis for the entire scheme.

1:50 Bedroom model


Cleverly arranged close dwellings, with room for personalisation. Indicate the importance of threshold and all feature individual outdoor spaces. Precedents (left to right): Donnybrook Quarter - Peter Barber Architects, Plein Soleil - RH+ Architecture, Bayside Marina

Study model which inspired the geometric, changing roofscape and fin-like vertical elements.

Initial design Combining elements of tower, individual bedrooms, and key circulation in a model of components.

variation Working at a bigger scale to explore exterior impression as well as detailed internal layout.

Public SCALE:

Intriguing internal and external spaces, utilising idea of architectural promenade so that circulation is a ‘continuous experience’, or tightly grouping units around intersecting ‘tower-like’ wall planes. Precedents (left to right): The Athenium - Richard Meier, Condominium 1 - Charles Moore, Museum of Contemporary Art - Steven Holl, Maison Louis Carre - Alvar Aalto


1:100 developed design

Ouseburn Valley Site Steps, heights and a varied roofscape draw the eye in many directions. The whole valley is a staggered composition of towers, blocks and streets.

Internal social landing perspective


Floor plans

Ground Floor: River Level 1 Bedroom (with en-suite and outdoor terrace) 2 Workshop (with 2 WCs and lift access) 3 Service and Boiler Room

First Floor 4 Social landing (seating and window across river) 5 Workshop (with storage and lift access) 6 Outdoor workshop area 7 Living Room and Dining Space 8 Kitchen 9 Tutor’s Flat (lower level) 10 Raised Garden


Floor Plans

Second Floor: Street Level 11 Salesroom (with side access) 12 Teaching Space 13 Entrance Hall (with storage) 14 Tutor’s Flat (upper level)

Third Floor 15 Upper level viewing platform


Site Section




Final Model

“ A cascading balnace of planar and geometric elements responding to the richly layered site and complex client profile “


Placed, displaced

Threshold, private sphere, practicality


Sitting alongside the later projects of second year, this tight volumetric brief and domestic scale seems a fairly simple task. However it was a good oppor tunity to explore the semantics of personal space and how to design with experiential qualities in mind, balanced with pragmatic arrangement. The terrace house unfolds through a progression of flexible spaces; from a low, practical kitchen, up into a semi-formal dining/living room, then master bedroom with clerestor y windows that lift the eyes to the roof of the building. On a final, separate level sits a more informal, snug living space with huge glazed panels that fold back and open to expose the room to the elements, and break down the barrier between inside and out. Visual devices such as the external porch space and changing fenestration also communicate the upwards journey. The finished design was a visually rich and functional family home, and through in-depth precedent studies it was especially nice to fully consider the material composition and small-scale detailing that is often left forgotten.


Street Elevation



Development process

The first development option features an open upper floor with stairs horizontal in plan which divides the front and half sections of the house. A display wall running the depth of the house acts as a focal point and storage facility.

High-density terraced housing presents issues with potential overshadowing, so carefully considering fenestration is key. A foldable roof on the top floor also allows the space to be used both in Summer and Winter


Sectional exploration is key in a tight volumetric exercise like this one, and planning clever storage solutions allows for maximum free living space.

To make use of external space, I aimed to balance pleasant natural elements (area of lawn with mid-height tree as well as potted plants) with practicality (a paved section for al fresco dining and rubbish bins storage).


This design put the living room on the upper floor, to tackle potential overshadowing on the ground level. A sliding window creates a ‘balcony’ feel.

MODEL two To optimise space, this house uses split levels and cutout sections. A sheltered entrance porch and rooftop terrace are interesting intermediate spaces too. I worked with this option but rearranged room placements.

MODEL three

Floor Plans


Key precedent studies (left to right): ‘House at Holland Park’ - Aldington & Craig, Various Facade Studies - Borneo Eiland, Three-House Interlocking Group - Peter Aldington, Circus Lane Mews House - Richard Murphy Architects




Final Models

“A functional yet elegant home - references the surroundings and vernacular but is neutral enough to remain adaptable by users�



CHARETTE - Food for thought Rapid making and doing, curation, leadership


This week-long project enabled a ‘tasting of the city’, and was a chance to focus on conceptual/abstract ideas surrounding how we experience spaces. In a small team, we explored a par ticular place (in this case Eldon Square) and linked the encounter and interpretation of that setting to a culinar y invention, brought together as an exhibit offering guests at the Charette closing event some food to enjoy. We found the shopping centre to be a cultural melting pot full of contrast in terms of people, shops, and styles, which we translated to aperitif-style dishes of disparate and juxtaposed flavours. Fur ther to this, the canapés were presented within a colourcoded system to imitate the class divide which we obser ved in this popular Newcastle spot, hoping that people eating at our display would conform to unspoken rules regarding what you can and can’t pick from the exhibit and consume (much like the unspoken etiquette we felt was at play in Eldon Square). This was a high-energy week of creativity and hands-on work and an encouraging star t to the year. The process was captured on film and documented as par t of ‘Charette Condense’ ( It was also a reminder that simplicity, display and clear curation are key to a convincing presentation.





‘How the interrelationship between people and their homes develops”


By beginning and ending our day at home, it becomes the centre of our habitual spatial world, but on a much greater scale it is also the place where we are born into the world and eventually decease. The bed represents a very personal and intimate volume related to human life - a three-dimensional space where a child is born and introduced to its immediate surroundings. From here onwards alongside our own growth, our circle of activity also grows - with increased mobility and ability a child can explore further - even outside the confines of a house to their wider surroundings. At the peak of adult life, we are not afraid or adverse to travel, and it is natural and accepted to leave the house in the morning and drive to work, or infact stay with relatives in a city the other side of the country for the weekend and even take a flight to different countries for a week-long holiday. It is due to the permanency of the home that people can leave it unconcerned - the interrelationship between person and place is stable. As well as permanency, home brings with it a sense of personalisation and malleability - it is open to the outside world and can be changed by our experience. Thus if a person has more than one house (say perhaps a family residence in the countryside and a small flat in the city for work commitments), the concept of home to them could even grow to cover the entire country in which they live - the human imagination carries ‘the notion of home’ into any ‘really inhabited world develops with time from a small bubble of existence in infancy to something much greater at the peak of our adult lives.!


Growing alongside a self-build home: The finished houseboat, the concrete shell barge as purchased, and Nick Skeens teaching sons.

space’. (Bachelard 1994:5) In short, the scale our our spatial

The antithesis of the progression in scale of home towards adulthood is the regression of the size of accommodation and used space throughout the ageing process. Due to decreased ability, responsibility and mobility, we see the interrelationship between elderly and their homes returning to how it was at birth. Cumming and Henry suggest that as those abilities deteriorate, an ageing person starts to withdraw from personal and social contacts in society. As we age “we are obliged to accept increasing levels of care” and must accept downsizing, change in daily routine, loss of privacy and the need to develop familiarity with the surroundings. (Rowles, 2013:16) With an absence of choice and loss of autonomy, people become confined (and perhaps even trapped) to a smaller space, the last remaining arena for display of status and identity.!


Contained within our houses are belongings, which arguably make up more of the concept of home to us than the building itself. Furnishings and mementos! “embody the past and are part of the future” (Rappoport 1985) and act as personal continuity when location of residence changes at! any point. These objects are part of the narrative of our lives - hence why items of the greatest personal importance are! retained even as our spatial world decreases in size towards old age. We produce narratives around objects! which renders them as meaningful participants in the social work of identity-building.! (Hurdley 2006:717) What we communicate and the way in which we do so changes with! time - people show a connectedness to the past, where objects are about!

memory and continuity of tradition and cycles of! behaviour, but home also suggests a certain dynamic! adaptability whereby we use belongings to connect to!


the future, projecting our ambition! and demonstrating the control we have! on who we can become.!


All Innisfree and Skeens family: Nick Skeens! Childhood, adulthood and old age: all Kirsty Smith!

! !


Plans sketches of bedroom and kitchen: Bryony Simcox (Not to scale)!


BACHELARD, G. (1994) The Poetics of Space! CUMMING & HENRY (1961) Growing Old, The Process of Disengagement! DOUGLAS, M. (1991) ‘The Idea of Home: A Kind of Space’, Social Research 58! DOVEY, K. (1985) Home and Homelessness, Home Environments! HOBSBAWM, E. (1991) ‘Introduction’, Social Research 58! HURDLEY, R. (2006) Dismantling Mantelpieces, Sociology Vol. 40! PINK, S. (2004) Home Truths: Gender, Domestic Objects and Everyday Life! RAPOPORT, A (1985) Thinking about Home Environments, Home Environments! ROWLES, G. D. (1993) Evolving images of place in ageing and “ageing in place”, Generations! ROWLES, G. D. (2013) The Meaning and Significance of Place in Old Age! SMITH, A. E. (2009) Ageing in Urban Neighbourhoods: Place Attachment and Social Exclusion! TUAN, Y. (1974/1990) Topophilia – A Study of Environmental Perception, Attitudes and Values!

! ! ! ! ! Home is a ! ! ! ! ! dynamic and intangible relationship between person and place, more than just a defined space which we call our house. Home has many temporal characteristics and changes/develops as we too change and develop through our lifetime; it acts as a datum around which we construct our lives. Home can be defined as a pattern of regular doings, and even give structure to time and embody a capacity! for memory and anticipation (Douglas 1991:290).!


SKEENS, N. (2012) How To Build A Houseboat!

My mother as adult and artist: Not only is her circle of influence and place of activity bigger, but more balanced is the display of past and future identity. Her sculpture studio, the family home kitchen, and car all act as home to! ! ! ! ! Kirsty Smith.

projection of! future

small bubble! of existence Myself as a child: My bedroom was the centre of my world. Provided comfort, storage, a place to sleep and a place to imagine/dream. I spent hours on end arranging and designing this room, it was my home and helped to establish my identity.

! ! ! !

! ! ! !

maximum scale and control over home

pride and display of past minimised living space

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Patterns of display tell a story of identity - in youth we construct! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! who we want to be using our surroundings, creating an imagined ideal and paralleling the growth and! ! ! ! ! ! development we ourselves are going through. This applies to more than just belongings, the entire home itself acts as a journey, a! ! ! ! constantly incomplete project and strategy that focuses on the future and encourages optimism and aspiration. Pink sees the project of home as something loose! ! from one architectural space and rather something that lives in the imagination of the occupant (2004:57) Self-build projects are very literal examples of the human striving for an imagined! ideal and the way in which we project who we are, whereby iterations and improvements mean that the house is constantly evolving - built additions demonstrate the dweller’s learning curve, they can!

My grandfather as retired farmer: Acutely deaf and wheelchair-bound, Andrew Smith spends almost all his waking hours in one corner of his kitchen. Here he reads the paper, eats, watches the changing scenes out the window, displays old photographs and mementoes on the window ledge, and converses with my grandmother in the room. Meaning and activity are condensed into this ! ! single space.

! ! ! !

! ! ! !

! ! ! !

! ! ! !

! !

! !

! !

! !


On the other hand, as circle of influence and activity eventually decreases, older people become constructors of meaning and concentrate importance on the past - demonstrating who they were and what they did. Especially for those who have lived in the same location for the entirety!


! ! ! !

Family friend! and writer Nick Skeens! lives in a 86ft x 22ft houseboat, at! moorings on the river crouch in Essex.! The journey of his self-build project relates to the! direction of his life to date and serves as an interesting case! study for the interrelationship between people and place. Nick! was teaching English in a university when he met his wife Leda in! war-torn Lebanon. Later back in England and with a family of three sons, the! couple decided to build a new floating home and bought a concrete barge to build up from.! The process was an arduous and optimistic task, and involved building a deck house and body to accommodate! a kitchen, various living areas, six cabin bedrooms and a bathroom. But more importantly, the determination and impressive creation of this abode paralleled Nick and Leda’s journey of parenthood; raising three young children through home education, and living a radical, unorthodox family life. Just as they wanted to be a shining example of the moral code and principles they stood stood for, in the same way they were creating a completely unique and personal space. This boat, ‘Innisfree', saw the family grow up and was the setting for all kinds of gatherings, infamous as a popular haunt to many a resident of Burnham-on-Crouch. Just as the inhabitants grew, and changed in their character and ways of life, so too did the boat see iterations, additions, and solutions to new problems with how it functioned to serve their living style. Since those days, the boys have grown up and moved on, which saw new changes - Nick took up a lodger to the boat to try and cover costs as a struggling writer, and put on paying events to raise funds. Nick and Leda unfortunately ! ! ! ! ! ! split up a few years ago and this too was mirrored in Innisfree - it was treated with less pride and ! ! ! ! ! the glory days of its creation seemed long gone. Now Nick faces the biggest battle yet - as ! ! ! ! ! ! ! the chair of a London art charity facing fees for a lost court case, he may have ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! to sell up his inspirational self-built houseboat, and lose everything he ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! knows of as home. In Nick’s book, How To Build a Houseboat, he ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! describes the incredible journey of Innisfree, but it is ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! just as much about the architectural space as it ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! is an interrelationship between a person ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! and their own place, which directly ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! relates to their life.

! indicate family circumstances, and even play a part in identity change. “Home project of self” (Pink 2004:58)!

might therefore be understood as a complex configuration of identity that is closely interwoven with an individual’s!

of their life, place can provide review of one’s life. (Smith 2009:22) Home becomes an act of pride and display, a museum to embodied meanings and memory within the attached place. “As we grow older and remember the events of our lives, places are selectively recalled as we reinforce our image of who we are.” (Rowles 1993:66) There is a contrast between the awareness of external change as the world keeps moving (windows showing seasonal change, and clocks or calendars positioned indoors) to the static display that our home eventually becomes, reflecting the permanence of the residence and the end of a projected future.!


Just as much as we change our home (we choose where to live, what to fill our houses with, how we spend our time there), they too change us. We develop “fields of care”, (Tuan 1974/1990:93) connections with place that grow over long periods of time through everyday dwelling and care that shape who we are and want to be. Dwelling is a place but also becomes an activity through routine and interaction, an “experience of complete insidedness that can only develop over time”. (Dovey 1985:37) Our houses and sense of home closely follows the paths that our lives take, but more often than not, our home also shapes the direction in which we live. In a harmonious cyclical manner, the interrelationship between people and their homes sees a journey from negligible scale, power and control as we enter the world, towards an equilibrium point of middle age where we connect to the future and project our aspirations, and then an equal return as we advance in years towards death where home gets smaller and more concentrated, and we eventually return to the bed.!

Home represents both ‘the place from which we set out and to which we return, at least in spirit’ (Hobsbawm 1991:65).


ARC 2010

Environmental design and services Report




Tutor’s flat energy performance: Using a stripped-down SAP and CO₂ emission calculator, I was to look at the energy performance of my tutor’s flat from the Ouseburn Valley Foyer project. It is imperative that new buildings are as efficient and sustainable as possible, and as my original design had made little consideration for this, my extreme design choices lead to no credit rating at all. To deem it suitable for construction under the Code for Sustainable Homes, I altered components within the design and its constructional make-up, and better thought through the flat’s energy and daylighting strategies. As seen in the table (left), the improvements considerably reduced the CO₂ emissions per year and showed more than a 40% increase in DER/TER, leading to a very satisfactory credit rating of 7. Here I discuss the design changes, and propose alternative sources in which to meet the demand of energy costs.



Solar Gains (Watts)



Total Internal Gains (Watts)



Total Energy Cost (£/annum)











CO₂ Emissions (kg CO₂/annum SAP DER over TER (%) Credit Rating


Environmentally-conscious design: There is a global imperative to reduce fossil fuel reliance and CO₂ emissions. The Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) is a methodology for calculating a dwelling’s energy performance and is part of ‘The Code for Sustainable Homes’ which covers nine categories of sustainable design. The Energy Efficiency scale goes up to 100, which represents zero energy cost, and an Environmental Impact rating can also be calculated, which looks at the percentage improvement predicted CO₂ emissions over a target amount (DER/TER).

! " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " "

! Constructional elements: Firstly I looked at improving the thermal performance of the entrance doors (there are " three in my design) and found the ThermoPro Plus from Thormann (image 1), which achieves an impressive " " U-value of 0.8W/m²K by using a foam-infilled frame and triple-sealed steel leaf with thermal break (image 2). My " wall construction is a timber frame with an outer leaf of brickwork and an external rendered finish. I initially looked " at ecologically-friendly insulation such as Thermafleece and wood fibre (image 3), but the long-term CO₂ savings by " using insulation with thermal conductivities as low as 0.032W/mK such as Isover Timber Frame Batt made the " " latter a more sensible option. Using the Isover insulation not only between the studs in a twin frame construction " but also in the cavity (image 4) led to a U-value for the walls of 0.12W/m²K" " (if using a reflective breather membrane), which is considerably lower than" " the target value of 0.35W/m²K. The ground floor of my tutor’s flat sits " " directly above a conditioned living space in the foyer, which hugely" " reduces heat loss (I have used 1/4 actual floor area in the SAP" " spreadsheet to account for this). Typical joists in a suspended timber floor" " are 200mm deep, so in order to accommodate the 25mm support battens" " the U-value was calculated with a maximum insulation thickness of" " 175mm (image 5). However using Kingspan Thermafloor TF70, an" " easy-to-install, high-performance rigid thermoset insulation, an acceptable" " U-value of 0.14W/m²K was still obtainable. Image 6 illustrates the" " retaining wall that is a continuous part of the front wall, however as it is" below ground it will be of masonry construction, and again I have used 1/4 wall area in" the SAP spreadsheet because of the reduced heat loss caused by backing against solid" earth. An important consideration with the retaining wall is the protection against water," and the three waterproofing options would be a tanking system, waterproofed concrete," and a drained cavity and DPM. Heat loss through glazing has a considerable impact on" energy performance for a building, so I altered the design to install the high-performance Hansen! Millenium windows (image 8), with triple-glazing (image 7) and an integrated thermal break in the" profile system which provides the construction with a total U-value of 0.8W/m²K. This innovative" technology also has optimum transmittance which is an important consideration with thermally-efficient" glazing. I decided to use a dense concrete deck with suspended ceiling as the flat roof because part" of it acts as a balcony and needs to withstand the imposed load of people. Combining a roofing" system infill panel as well an insulating" overlay could achieve a U-value as low" as 0.09W/m²K (image 9)."


Other design improvements: A major design alteration that improved the energy performance was lowering ceiling heights, on both floors of the flat (3m down to 2.6m and then 3.4m down to 2.8m). I hoped the raised ceilings would create a sense of spaciousness, however they were unnecessarily high and lowering them to a more sensible (but still acceptable) height reduces the volume by 47m³ and therefore reduces required heating volume. By insulating the primary pipework and adding a cylinder thermostat, the energy required for water heating was cut by more than a fifth, down to 3743.63kWhr/year. I also altered the largest area of glazing in the flat, a whole wall of opening glass doors onto the balcony from the bedroom. Not only did this mean the glazing-to-floor-area ratio was too high for an efficient design, but it would also cause over-heating and excessive light levels (as seen in the Dialux analysis below). However, I have found it interesting that to a point, an increase in glazing area (with south-facing fenestration) can actually benefit the efficiency of the design, due to useful solar gain reducing the need for heating. Analysis of altered bedroom design: Owing to the layout of the tutor’s flat, most of the area appropriate for fenestration is the south-facing side, which coincidentally the suitable orientation for maximum solar gain. Therefore it seemed sensible only to drastically reduce the east-facing glazed wall in the bedroom. At first I removed it entirely, which didn’t distribute the light evenly and led to quite poor illuminance. The appropriate solution was to utilise two windows, 1.4x1.8m and 1.4x0.8m on the south and east sides respectively, both triple-glazed (70% emmisivity and U-value of 0.8W/m²K). This results in satisfactory light levels, with the optimum light intensity on the bed, the centre point of the bedroom.

Initial bedroom analysis: Before the environmental analysis, I designed a 3.4m-tall space with a fully glazed wall as well as another 2x2m window. Not only was there heat loss through the excess wall surface and expansive glazed balcony doors, but when entered into Dialux 4.6. the output illustrated that the space was uninhabitable! The white areas indicate an illuminance of 800lux and more, when realistically, 200-400lux is an appropriate intensity of light (indicated in the images as green-turquoise-dark blue). The simulation also used single-glazing panels, which have a light emmisivity of 90% (a relatively high transmittance) and a U-value of 2.0W/m²K (poor thermal efficiency).


Energy usage and sources: Through improvements and iterations to my original design, the SAP spreadsheet indicated a saving of almost 40% from a total energy cost of £429.23 beforehand down to £297.86 a year. By using low-energy lighting, this requirement accounts for very little, and pump and fan costs are also almost negligible - the main usage comes from water heating (3743KWhr/year) which accounts for £107.59 yearly, as well as £116.05 a year to cover the energy required for the heating system (3470KWhr/year). I will explore low energy and renewable technologies that can provide cleaner and less damaging ways of heating, cooling and powering the tutor’s flat. However, it is key to remember to take a whole-life costing approach to this construction, because embodied energy in a product means that it may take a considerable amount of time to redeem the energy used in manufacture. CO₂ emissions can even be cut to an eight just through investing in passive design, proper construction and discerning product specification (reducing loads in the building and then increasing heating, ventilating and cooling systems), as well as taking power from community energy schemes using large-scale generation (which reduces carbon emissions through main-supply usage).

CHP (combined heat and power): This is the simultaneous generation of both useable heat and electrical power from the same source and uses waste heat emitted from fuel combustion in an engine to provide space heating and domestic hot water, and can also provide space cooling when passed through an absorption chiller. For optimum operating efficiency, heat generated should be fully utilised, which I feel would be achievable if a Micro-CHP unit (electrical output of >5kWe) such as the Baxi Ecogen was used, even to provide energy to the entire foyer building. For cost efficiency, they should be used all year round, and commonly only provide base heat load for a building with boilers to meet the higher levels. This is a proven technology with a medium CO₂ saving.

Photovoltaic cells: Arrays of PV cells could be installed on the flat roof of my design to produce electricity for use or for the water and heating system. They could be mounted on a metal framework and would achieve optimum south orientation with little shading (no nearby developments or large vegetation). Silicon monocrystalline panels such as the Sunpower 327W have high efficiency rates (15-20%) which makes them space efficient for the limited roof area of the tutor’s flat, but lower wattage panels could still dramatically reduce heating costs. A 4kW installation (16x250W panels) will generate approximately 3432kWhr/year, which accounts for almost all of the energy required for the heating system, thus halving total energy cost. However it has to be taken into account that cost for a system of this size (the panels themselves, and installation - labour, transportation, scaffolding) can be around £6-7000. This technology is an eligible measure under the government’s Green Deal which lets people pay for energy-efficient improvements through energy bill savings - including the ‘Feed-In Tariff Scheme’ (FITS) where you get paid for the energy you generate and use, as well as what you export to the grid. Savings and income of around £800 could be generated based on a 4kW PV system and the current generation tariff of 14.9p/kWhr, which makes a considerable impact on the high start-up cost of this renewable energy source.

Solar water heating: The sun’s energy can be captured to heat water using a roof-mounted collector. An installation of collection area 4m² can provide around 60% of the home’s hot water requirement, and can either be a glazed flat-plate or evacuated-tube collector. The former is a simple, robust and relatively cheap design that can be easily mounted with little visual impact. However the latter is more efficient, lighter, yields more energy (582 kWh/m2 per annum) and can have higher operating temperatures (even supplementing a boiler). High start-up costs can be offset through the Renewable Heat Incentive.


ARC 2009




" Structural forms employed: "

T h e f o ye r i s b u i l t i n t o a s l o p i n g r i v e r b a n k and uses cast in-situ concrete retaining walls and a solid floor pad to create a ‘box’ s e a l e d a g a i n s t wa t e r p e n e t r a t i o n ( w h i c h s i t s o n t o p o f p i l e f o u n d a t i o n ) .


Exhibition space

Steel columns form load-bear ing steel f r a m e wa l l s p e r p e n d i c u l a r t o t h e l e n g t h o f t h e s i t e .

" Entrance Platform Tutor’s Flat

T h e fi r s t f l o o r s a r e 2 0 0 m m p r e - c a s t concrete slabs sitting on asymmetric steel I-beams attac hed to the steel frame and a l s o c o n s t i t u t e t h e p r i m a r y s t r u c t u r e .



The secondar y structure is made up of t i m b e r f ra m e w o r k t o c r e a t e i n t e r n a l wa l l s and walls whic h don’t bear the load of c o n c r e t e f l o o r s , s u c h a s t h e b e d ro o m , l i v i n g s p a c e , w o r k s h o p , d e s i g n s t u d i o , a n d t u t o r ’s f l a t wa l l s . T h i s s e r i e s o f s t u d s ( a t 4 0 0 m m centres and 600mm centres in the bedrooms) is combined with an i n t e r m e d i a t e l e v e l t u t o r ’s f l a t f l o o r c o n s t r u c t e d f ro m t i m b e r j o i s t s .

Outdoor workshop Living Space






The ter tiar y structure is a collection of s l o p e d r o o f s , f l a t r o o f ov e r t h e t u t o r ’s f l a t , and individual roofs above the bedrooms , a l l o f s i m p l e b e a m c o n s t r u c t i o n .

Exploded Axonometric Diagram @ 1:200


" Tectonic Intent: "

Primary Structure

This foyer design is based on 5 strong planar elements; large load-bearing walls which span perpendicular to the direction of the river as though they are sticks floating on the Ouseburn. This allows the rest of the construction to ‘hang off ’ these walls, two of which are concrete retaining and the others steel frames.


Materials used are intended to reference the nature of the workshop; a place to create steambent wooden furniture. Because of this, Canadian Cedar weatherboarding runs in vertical strips as the facade and riverside external cladding, contrasting to the brutality and strength of the steel columns that form the central ‘tower’. This is also a material which will weather well with age, and gain a rich patina, suitably responding to the surrounding vegetation.

" Secondary Structure

It was the only logical solution to create the first floor from concrete slabs, but with sustainability and responsible construction in mind the remaining walls are of timber, a material with a small carbon footprint from a renewable source, and achieving an A+ sustainability rating.


Finally, the roof is covered in zinc cladding, another material which will develop nicely with age but also lend an air of modernity and glossiness to the design, emphasising the straight edges of the roofline jutting off in different angles.


tertiary Structure

Flat Warm Deck Roof



Timber Frame Wall

- Vertical rebated timber cladding - Treated horizontal fixing battens (with top end cut at 15° for

Sealed waterproof membrane with reflective finish 100mm Kingspan Thermaroof TR27 rigid insulation Vapour control layer (lapped with waterproofing layer) Timber decking sheet Timber beams at 400mm centres with full-height blocking piece and Celotex XR400 insulation Timber batten to cover junction between plasterboard sheets with Celotex XR400 insulation Vapour control layer 12.5mm Gyproc wallboard ceiling lining with fireproof finish


Design U Value = 0.09W/m²K


drainage) 25m deep treated counter battens at 400mm centres (providing drained and vented cavity) Reflective breather membrane stapled to plywood 12mm OSB sheathing board Isover insulation between timber studs at 400mm centres Vapour control and air tightness membrane stapled to studs Timber counter battens 30mm insulation 12.5mm Gyproc plasterboard

Design U Value = 0.16W/m²K (slightly higher than value used in SAP analysis, because previous construction featured twin frame) Cavity barrier (30 minutes fire resistance) 

VCL lapped over flashing Insect screen

Code 4 preformed lead flashing

Timber lintel

Insulation of the window reveal Airtightness sealing tape to back of window frame

Extended sill Compressible filter

Minimum 15mm gap

Wall to rooF junction @ 1:10

Wall opening (sill and Head) @ 1:10


Solid Ground Floor



Skirting board with flexible sealant between floor

75mm cement and sand screed with 20mm perimeter insulation Polythene sheet as VCL and to prevent wet screed penetration Kingspan ThermaFloor TF70 Insulation Concrete slab Damp proof membrane lapped with damp proof course and VCL Sub-base hardcore slab

Design U Value = 0.15W/m²K

Cavity barrier

Timber joists with insulation

Blockwork start at 150mm above ground

Plasterboard support

Includes perforated ground water drain at 1:60 gradient connected to outfall

Ventilation path for vapour

Lime Street ground level (6.5m)

50mm cavity

Wall to UPPER FLOOR @ 1:10


Waterstop at all junctions

Reinforced concrete retaining wall with tanking

Modified cement-based waterproof tanking system applied to all enclosing walls and top of floor

Pile cap 250mm diameter pile foundation

Wall to Ground floor and Foundations @ 1:10

External Wall: Cladding on Timber Frame Construction

Ground Floor: Solid Concrete Screeded in-situ concrete slab, over insulation on polythene damp proof membrane laid on blinded aggregate sub-base C

Intermediate Floor: Timber Construction Chipboard decking on timber joists with insulation A+

Internal Wall: Framed Partitions


Timber stud, plasterboard on battens, paint A+

Cedar weatherboarding, breather membrane, plywood sheathing, timber frame with insulation, vapour control layer, plasterboard on battens, paint A+

Flat Roof: Warm Deck Timber joists, OSB decking, vapour control layer, insulation, EPDM single ply waterprooďŹ ng membrane A+

Domestic Windows Powder coated aluminium window, double glazed (no rating for triple glazing) A

Vertical external wall section @ 1:20


ARC 2009

‘Civic Centred’ Access for All and Means of Escape


Access for All

Means of Escape

PARKING AND APPROACH: Three designated parking bays with surrounding access zones¹ to allow the safe transfer of passenger or driver to a wheelchair will be situated 10m away from the principle entrance. A dropped kerb connects to a level route, wider than 1800mm and with slip-resistant surface and handrail, which leads to the well-signposted opening. MAIN ENTRANCE:
 The main access point is through power-operated sliding doors activated by sensors², which minimise tripping hazards. Once inside, a clear signage and information system explains the internal layout, which includes braille descriptions for the blind and visually-impaired (guide dogs are permissible within the building). A level landing greater than 1500mm x 1500mm allows the unrestricted passage for users, such as the manoeuvre of wheelchairs and pushchairs, and the main flooring doesn’t impede the movement of these. RECEPTION: The wide corridor and open plan lobby aids visual connections through the building and minimises risk of collisions, and the easily identifiable reception desk is conveniently located immediately to the left (but far enough away to limit risk of external noise). A 1500mm wide section of the desk is lowered to 700mm³, with a knee recess and clear manoeuvring space to accommodate seated visitors. The reception is also provided with an induction loop to enhance hearing throughout the building.
 CORRIDORS AND DOORS: Most unobstructed corridors with visual contrast between wall and ceiling are 1500mm at their narrowest, which is more than adequate for wheelchair users to pass one another⁴. Where closed doors are not necessary, swing-free closing devices are used, whereby the closing mechanism is only activated in an emergency, and manually-operated internal doors need a maximum opening force of 20N⁵. Doors also incorporate glazed panels for visual continuity. VERTICAL CIRCULATION: A central passenger lift is visible from the main entrance and internal stairs provide alternative means of moving through the building. An unobstructed space of 1500mm x 1500mm allows movement before entering⁶ or on leaving the lift car and the landing call buttons are within reach of wheelchair users. Inside the device, a handrail 900mm above the floor level is installed. In compliance with access regulations, the stair dimensions are of 150mm risers and 280mm goings, with landings 12 risers apart⁷ or less and handrails (with turned ends) on both sides. To warn visually-impaired people of the change in level before stairs, the floor features ridged corduroy markings at bottom and top landings (extended at the top to stop tripping down). CAFE:
 Lower-level seating and a 800mm-high serving counter allow accessibility for wheelchair users, whilst there is continuity of floor level and surface onto the outdoor seating area DISABLED TOILETS AND CHANGING: Doors from disabled toilets have outward swings, with emergency-release mechanisms for outward accessibility in case of emergency. Wheelchair-accessible unisex toilets (allowing for a carer of either sex to offer assistance) are situated on the ground and second floor, featuring red emergency alarm system⁸ pull cords with two lengths (100mm and 900mm above floor).


Using Part M: Access to and use of buildings of The Building regulations 2010: 1. Paragraph 1.17 and Diagram 2 5. Paragraph 3.10 a. 2. Paragraph 2.8 6. Paragraph 3.28 a. 3. Paragraph 3.3 7. Paragraph 3.51 b, c, d. 4. Paragraph 3.14 b. 8. Paragraph 5.10 o. and Paragraph 5.4 h.

Using Part B: Fire Safety in Buildings other than Dwellinghouses of The Building regulations 2010: 1. Paragraph 3.8 and Table 3 5. Paragraph 3.23 and Diagram 15 2. Paragraph 3.25 6. Paragraph 4.25 3. Paragraph 1.34 7. Table 7 4. Paragraph 15.3 8. Table 4

A building of this capacity requires a minimum of two escape routes¹, however as the main staircase is an unprotected corridor (at least offering occupants quick indication of a fire²) with lobbies and doors that remain open unless in event of a fire, there is a protected stairway and exit passageway which doesn’t form part of the primary circulation route, as well as a tertiary means of escape by an external staircase on the western side of the building. The protected stairway features FD20 fire doors with glass panels, and is made from reinforced concrete to provide protection, whilst the rest of the structure (steel frame) will require an intumescent coating to improve its performance at high temperatures. All routes and exits will be well-lit and adequately signed, and the whole building will feature an electrically operated alarm system with smoke and heat detectors, including flashing red lights and a vibrating paging system for people with impaired hearing³. Other emergency conscious additions include spring-loaded smoke vents in the entrance atrium, well-distributed fire extinguishers, and fire doors leading onto the first floor balcony. Due to limited vehicle access, there will be fire mains within the main pipework and also within the protected stairwell⁴.


Considering merging flows at the final exit⁵, W= ((N/2.5) + 60S)/80 where N is number of people and S is stair width, the mimimum width of final exit is 2400mm.


Using W=(P + 15n-15)/(150 + 50n)⁶, For first-to-second floor stair where P (number of people served = 173), min. stair width is 752mm and for first-to-ground (P = 332) minimum stair width is 1388mm.


However, these stair widths are less than the figure when considering simultaneous evacuation⁷, and due to the fact that 332 people and 2 floors are served, the minimum stair width is 1400mm.



!! !! !! !! !! !! !

Ground Floor


First Floor

!! !!

Second Floor

Room Type

Floor Area (m²)


Floor space factor (m² per person)

Occupancy capacity (No. of persons)







Changing Rooms and Toilets




Disabled Changing and Toilets




Admin Office




Sales Room




Bike Workshop




Waiting Area




Service Room




Cleaning Store












Ground Floor Sub-Total



Kid’s Room Library







First Floor Sub-Total


Study Area




Waiting Area




Yoga Studio











Second Floor Sub-Total


Disabled Toilet

Occupancy Capacity of Whole Building

As more than 220 people will be served, any escape exits must have minimum width of 5mm per person⁸, so minimum escape exit width is 1660mm.


Bryony Simcox ARC 2009 Civic Centred Strategy Sheet 1.5.’14


Site Development Plan

Bryony Simcox ARC 2009 Civic Centred Site Development Plan 1.5.’14 Scale 1:250


2 - Second Floor Plan

Bryony Simcox ARC 2009 Civic Centred Second Floor Plan 1.5.’14 Scale 1:150


1 - First Floor Plan

Bryony Simcox ARC 2009 Civic Centred First Floor Plan 1.5.’14 Scale 1:150


G - Ground Floor Plan

Bryony Simcox ARC 2009 Civic Centred Ground Floor Plan 1.5.’14 Scale 1:150


Bryony Simcox - Stage Two Architectural Portfolio  

Compilation of work at Newcastle University from Sept '13 until May '14

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