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n i b a C d n Isla

e l b P a L L n i s ie a t r t e s p Su acific Pro

ECT: PROJ FOR: D E R A PREP

P

TOMASZEWS HEA

TOMASZEWSKI HEAL EDWARDS Engineering Students Ltd.

DATE [PROJECT NO.]:

Engineering Students Ltd. December 2010 [2010-C265]


TOMASZEWSKI HEAL EDWARDS Engineering Students Ltd.

title:

Sustainable Island Cabin 6 December 2010 Pacific Properties LLP

date: PREPARED FOR:

Pacific Properties LLP approached Tomaszewski Heal Edwards (THE) with the task of

evaluating a set of island properties and designing a luxury residential retreat suitable to the particular requirements of the setting.

From the provided RFP, “...the island cabin will be self-sufficient, sustainable and have a low

environmental/ecological impact; it will have all of the amenities of a normal home, and will be lived in for 6 months of the year.”

The design team, consisting of Neil Tomaszewski, Tyler Heal and Tim Edwards, found the

islands presented the following issues to be addressed by the design: • The remote location • Sensitive environmental setting • Need to maintain the local environmental setting • Lack of all services (food, water, waste, power)

Our resulting cabin design serves these constraints by being modular (reduces onsite construction

waste and damage), and being nearly 100% self-sufficient. Onsite construction would consist of solely installing the anchors for the centre column. Quality of life is maintained by fully integrated power, water, and waste systems that generate, collect, conserve and recycle. The users input to the system is minimal and ecological impact is nearly zero.

Overall the design was inspired by the modest tree house, namely the ability to provide shelter

while acting in harmony with its surroundings. The cabin consists of four structures rotating around a steel column and a large deck/dock area that serves as the access from the ocean. Large window features, such as a twenty foot retractable glass wall, combine with the two separate terraces to fully immerse the guests in the peaceful solitude of the island. The rotation around the supporting column ensures that every view is unique.

The design functions alongside the nature being sought by the client allowing an uncompromised

experience. This experience is only heightened by the ease and simplicity of the proposed cabin design.


table of contents Summary Table of Contents Introduction

i iii 1

Design Options

3

Design Solution

6

Sustainability

11

Conclusion Acknowledgements

15 16

Company Profile & Project Team Project Overview Design Philosophy & Analysis

Option 1: Modern Treehouse Option 2: Cubic Forest Option 3: Rustic Getaway

First Floor Second Floor Third Floor & Roof

Water Waste Heat Electricity Food

Appendix A — Drawings

A1 - First Floor 2D Plan B1 - Second Floor 2D Plan C1 - Third Floor 2D Plan D1 - Roof 2D Plan E1 - Stairs Detail E3 - Deck Detail F2 - Overall 2D Plan G2 - “Night reflections” 3D Render

1 1 1 3 4 5 7 8 9

11 12 12 12 14

A2 - First Floor 3D Render B2 - Second Floor 3D Render C2 - Third Floor 3D Render D2 - Roof 2D Section E2 - Door Detail F1 - Overall Elevation G1 - “Ocean View” 3D Render G3 - 3D Section Render

Appendix B — Data Sheets

Helix Wind S594 Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

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INTRODUCTION Company Profile & Project Team

Tomaszewski, Heal and Edwards Engineering Students Ltd. (THE) was contacted by

Pacific Properties LLP (PP) to evaluate a unique environmental scenario and design a dwelling suitable to both the area and the desired cliental. PP chose THE based on our years of experience in designing original, innovative residential properties directed to the high end real estate market. Our more recent endeavors in modular, remote area designs made us the ideal choice for this project. THE chose its lead design team (Neil Tomaszewski, Tyler Heal and Tim Edwards) to service these needs.

Project Overview

The Government of British Columbia recently approved the sale of several islands north

of Vancouver Island to private holdings. Having acquired several of these unique properties PP wished to develop a private getaway suitable to the isolated island area. PP then approached THE with the following: “The island cabin will be self-sufficient, sustainable and have a low environmental/ecological impact; it will have all of the amenities of a normal home, and will be lived in for 6 months of the year.” Implicit with this request was the understanding that the cliental PP desired was wealthy enough to be willing to both purchase a large portion of an island and construct a vacation home on it.

Design Philsophy & Analysis

In order to cater to the client demographic it was apparent that comfort and ease of living

must not be sacrificed. In fact, luxury should be emphasized wherever possible. However, the balance of the local ecology should be disturbed as little as is necessary in order to preserve the natural beauty that will likely draw the homeowner to the area. Thus, the team adopted a design philosophy centered around creating an environmentally sensitive retreat that does not sacrifice comfort.

To more completely understand the specified location, THE conducted a rigorous analysis

of the islands acquired by PP. The islands are only accessible by sea and have virtually no

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infrastructure. The remoteness of the build site and lack of grid access create issues with the construction of the cabin. All materials would need to be transported by ship and all waste created would need to be removed. The natural environment is of a delicate nature and must be left as intact as possible. Thus, clearing large portions of land, either for the building itself or for construction, must be avoided. Once completed the cabin must be entirely self-sustaining. There is a complete lack of access to power grids, water grids, waste services, and food supply. The structure must therefore be capable of providing the necessities of comfortable life, however, while doing so, the cabin must function within the ecosystem the client wishes to experience with little disturbance.

Figure 1: Typical LOcation Island north of Vancouver Island. Image courtesy of Google Earth.

http://maps.google.com/maps?t=h&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=50.713254,-127.37772&spn=0.01481,0.027723&z=15

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DESIGN OPTIONS

Consideration of the constraints provided from the design philosophy — including

low environmental impact, self sufficiency, natural sentiments, remote location, and client demographic — lead THE to three different, yet unified, solutions:

Option 1: Modern Treehouse

The overarching theme in this option was to create a nature-inspired, yet functional twist

on a tree house. Our preliminary idea for this design was a series of cubic “pods” positioned around a central trunk to blend the house into the natural environment. However, having cubic arrangements would created a large amount of unusable space. This idea was refined into rectangular floors arranged around a central supporting axis (see Fig 2, below).

Figure 2: Design sketch Three floors circling around a central trunk with a “canopy” roof.

The benefits to this idea are that the method of building around a central hollow metal shaft

allows for accessibility between floors, and helps provide a focal point for a rotation of the floors. As well, having rectangular units allowed for better use of space, as well as an ease of flow to the house. The modularity of the structure allows for offsite construction A fourth floor roof could be added to collect clean rainwater, support a vertical wind turbine and support solar panels.

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Disadvantages of this idea include being expensive, strucurally diffcult and very conceptual.

Detailed engineering analysis and innovative design of the structural components would be necessary to ensure the stability and longevity of the structure; as such, the cost of this option would be quite high.

Option 2: Cubic Forest

THE envisioned this idea as a large modular house that gives the essence of the rainforest.

The sweeping cubic compartments give the impression of a contrasting dense forest, showing off the elegance of the design. Advantages of this idea include the whimsical, yet elegant, Figure 3: A MODERN FOREST Modular cubic pods arranged like a forest.

look that THE’s target audience would be attracted to. We would be able to keep our modern cubic design to make things aesthetically pleasing, and flat roof tops allow space for hydroponics

and solar cells. Additionally the compartments are modular, so construction can be started offisland and pieced together quickly back onshore.

The major disadvantage of this design is the difficulty of moving between floors and

compartments. Having too many stairways to connecting floors would take up available space, and create limited accessibility for the elderly or disabled; the flow between rooms would also be disjointed and awkward.

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Option 3: Rustic Getaway

This idea provides a familiar, traditional look that THE’s customers might prefer. This

potential design can be easily visualized as it is generic.

The main advantage of this design is that it is tried and tested, having been replicated at

resort towns and national parks across the country. It is also the most cost-effective option, and could be brought into mass-scale production; more properties could be created quickly and cheaply, creating a superior revenue stream.

Disadvantages of this design include a huge environmental impact in view of the fact that

the entire project would have to be created on the island itself. This means that all construction materials and machinery would have to be shipped in — a very costly endeavour. Having a traditional “stock” design means fewer options for power and self sufficiency, as water-capture and power generation surfaces are limited. Finally, the target demographic would likely prefer a luxurious home that is bold, highlighting their uniqueness and accomplishments.

Figure 4: LOG CABIN Traditional, safe design.

http://cabinsamerica. com/bearlyrustic/ lot4cabin.jpg

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DESIGN SOLUTION

After reviewing the short list of potential design solutions THE selected the first option, the

“modern treehouse” design, as it struck the best balance between form and function. The design team found that it was both consistent with the client demographic and allowed for significant creativity and innovation.

The typical vision of a luxury getaway involves wood-framed mansion-cabins that are often

located in densely-populated national parks, such as Banff, Jasper, Algonquin or Whistler. This is a vision that THE sought to avoid throughout our design considerations and one that is clearly avoided in our chosen design.

Throughout our design, we aimed to maintain an open, aesthetically pleasing design that

is both intimately connected to nature and comfortably modern. Natural materials meld with elegant modern finishes throughout; the interior and the exterior flow easily into one another, providing continuity from nature. Materials chosen for the design include a tonal palette of woods, aluminum, stone and a plethora of glass – combined they represent a modern twist on raw materials, an aesthetic present in structures such as the Four Seasons Centre in Toronto and the Keflavik International Airport in Iceland. For photorealistic renders, please refer to drawing sheets G01-G03.

THE also chose this design for its modularity and relative ease of construction in this

remote island setting. As each floor is self-contained, connecting only through the central column, they could be fabricated and finished off-site and transported to the island for final assembly and fitting. To construct a stick-built cabin at this remote location would be costly, dangerous and highly inefficient; among a variety of issues, temporary lodgings would have to be created for any workers, all materials and tools would have to be carefully ordered, and waste generated from construction poses an ecological hazard. The only on-site work necessary with the chosen design is the sinking of pilings for the central column and deck and lifting of floor sections onto this “trunk” (see drawing F01). From THE’s work in other remote locations, this approach will ensure quality, consistency and timeliness of construction.

It would be a tragedy not to exploit the unique ocean view of this coastal setting; in order to

capture this fully we chose to rotate each floor 15° around the central trunk of the cabin, varying

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the view between each (see drawing F02). Maximizing natural light was important to us, so large windows dominate much of the structure. In the morning the bedrooms, kitchen and deck – all east-facing – will be well-lit, taking advantage of the sun to welcome the residents to another day. During the day it will light and warm the rooftop terrace and greenhouse, and at night, the residents will be able to watch the sun set from the second floor lounge.

The “trunk” of this treehouse, the central column, provides both a visual focus and the

structural backbone for the cabin. With an outer diameter of 10’ and inner diameter of 8’, the column also serves as a conduit for the electrical, plumbing and mechanical connections between the floors. It also houses the central spiral staircase (see drawing E01 for details) which is a focal point for the design of each floor, drawing the eye with a creative twist; surfaced with polished steel it reflects its surroundings brilliantly while the inner surface is covered with wooden slats, giving the feeling of truly being inside a tree trunk.

We have consciously refrained from adding any furniture to the design as presented, as this

is a personal touch best left to the ultimate resident of the cabin – we want him or her to feel like they are at home, not staying as someone’s guest in a hotel. Our other motivations will be detailed in the following paragraphs as we explore the house floor-by-floor:

First Floor (see drawings A01,A02)

The main floor of the design is to function as the social center and provide a real sense

of welcome to the owner and his or her guests. It’s designed to allow the people within the structure to feel immersed in the natural island setting and the ocean. It features a large great room that serves as both the dining area and sitting area while blending seamlessly into the kitchen. To the rear of the main floor is a full bath and mudroom with the rear entrance. Supplementary rooms include the laundry area, linen closet, pantry, and two hall closets. The spiral staircase dominates one end of the great room, enclosed within the central, supporting column.

The first feature the client will notice as they approach the cabin is the extensive two tiered

deck/dock area attached to the front of the main floor, extending out into the ocean (see drawing E3). This structure fulfills three functions. It allows ample room for mooring most civilian sized boats so that access from the ocean is simple and direct. The large surface area and two platform

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structure allows for limitless uses, such as dining, barbequing, or outdoor entertaining. Finally, it functions as the main entrance to the cabin itself.

The great room features a two panel, sliding glass wall on the front that hides inside the

wall. When open, this feature effectively extends the ample square footage of this room to the grand front deck while creating harmony between the sheltered interior and all of the beauty of the natural surroundings. While the sliding wall is shut, it still allows large amounts of natural light, and provides an extensive ocean view. The size of the room means the owner has complete freedom to divide the space between dining and lounge as they see fit. The floor-toceiling window, large french doors, and two other large windows, combine with the glass wall to surround anyone in this room with nature and sun on three sides. This area also features a built in wet bar, and closet.

The kitchen extends smoothly off the corner of the great room. It is modest in size

compared to the rest of the cabin but is more than adequate to serve the needs of the few long term guests the cabin is designed to accommodate. Tucked behind the interior wall of the kitchen is the good sized pantry. The size of this storage area is important to fill the needs of the occupants for extended periods.

The great room/kitchen splits into two branches around the centre column. The rightmost

branch leads to the main bathroom. This three piece bath contains a custom shower, toilet and freestanding vanity. The beauty and solitude of the island setting is exemplified by the large windows, one next to the shower, the other, larger window directly behind the freestanding vanity. This room also has a linen closet.

The leftmost branch leads past the pantry into the mudroom. This area serves as the rear

entryway to the house and is in fact the only direct way to exit the house onto the island. As such, it serves as the staging area for excursions into the island, growing he connection between nature and structure. Attached to this room is the main level laundry area and a small hall closet.

Second Floor (see drawings B01,B02)

The main theme to this floor was airy country side openness with a hint of seclusion.

Being around the same people for up to six months can be exhausting, especially when you

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can see them everywhere you walk. From this fact a sense of privacy was achieved by splitting up the floor into four main modules: two bedrooms, a study, and a large lounge area; this was accomplished while retaining the open flow of the rest of the cabin.

The lounging floor space was created preferably as a home theatre area where a family could

relax and enjoy their favourite movies together. Large windows were placed in this room so that once the resident entered this floor it would feel warming in addition to giving a nice view of all the scenery.

The guest bedroom was created for long-duration guest stays as it hosts its own bathroom,

and a large square footage. Another large window was installed in this location to provide a memorable scenic view for the patrons upon waking up.

The 200 square foot master bedroom provides a second getaway with a luxurious walk-in

closet, and a personalized bathroom for enjoying a relaxing bubble bath. On top of everything sliding doorways for both bedrooms are installed facing a glass balcony so the customers can receive a nice starry view on sleepless nights.

The large study on the second floor creates a quite secluded area for guests to enjoy an

exhilarating book, or sit and enjoy listening to their favourite music. In general we focused on providing comfort and style for the residents while keeping in mind the client demographic.

Third Floor & Roof (see drawings C01,C02,D01,D02)

Due to its remote location, the cabin must have additional facilities not usually present in a

domestic dwelling such as water storage, electrical transformation and distribution equipment, and water/waste processing. THE chose to place these mechanical fixtures on the third floor, thus removing them from everyday view and allowing room for future expansion or replacement.

Emerging from the spiral staircase, there is the option of entering the hydroponic

greenhouse, the mechanical and storage area, or exiting onto the rooftop terrace. As the cabin will function as a second residence for a large portion of the year, a large storage space was created in the mechanical room to provide space for whatever goods the resident would like to keep with them onsite, such as furniture, food, clothing or other paraphernalia. A large 3’ high 6400L water tank is centred along the back wall, providing ample storage for the collected and processed rain and grey water. Before the water is stored, it is passed through a purification and

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processing system located along the bottom wall. Similarly, a battery bank is placed along the top wall to store electricity generated by the wind turbine and solar panels. Electrical switching gear, such as transformers, regulators and converters is located with the battery bank.

To enable the growing fruits and vegetables year-round, THE opted to place a hydroponic

greenhouse on the third floor. During the sunny summer months the glass-encased greenhouse will function as any normal greenhouse, deriving its heat from the sun; in the winter months, hydroponic equipment will allow fresh produce to be grown. Soil and fertilizer is provided from compost and the plants will be watered using processed grey water, adding to the self-sufficiency of the dwelling. The floor-to-ceiling glass provides beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness.

The dominating feature of this floor is the large rooftop terrace, encompassing almost half of

its area. It provides an area in which to relax, to entertain, to work, to think, to play — regardless of the season, or the time of day.

Capping the structure off, a large umbrella-like roof provides water, energy and shade – just

like the upper branches of a tree. Three of the inclined panels are surfaced with high-efficiency solar panels; the largest panel, which sits over stop of the terrace, is made of a selectively-tinted panel. The opacity of this panel varies as varying levels of current are applied to material, allowing the residents to select the degree of sun or shade provided by the canopy. The inclined panels funnel water to the central column where it is collected and drained to the third floor.

Figure 5/ Left: The water and energy capture roof. RIGHT: Rooftop terrace.

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SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability and self-sufficiency are necessary components in designing for a location

as remote and isolated as this. Water, energy, heat, food and sanitation – the basics of survival – must all be carefully provided for. The chosen design optimally provides for all of these, and allows for retrofitting as technology advances.

Water

Rainwater will be captured by the sloped umbrella roof and directed down through the

central column to a purification and storage system on the third floor from where it will be distributed throughout the house. The roof has an area of over 125m 2, and tanks on the third floor will hold 6400L. Average rainfall in region north of Vancouver Island is 155mm/month, and in the driest months (July and August) it receives 60mm/month.1 In meteorology, 1 mm of precipitation is defined as 1L per square metre. This means that the roof will capture, at a minimum 7,500L/month and on average 20,000L/month. Little snow falls in this region and what does often melts within a day, so this is not a concern. Average monthly water usage for a Canadian household in 2010 is 18,500L2; however, this is the typical amount for a family and the demographic provided in the RFP is a couple who will be having occasional guests, but we relied on this figure in order to build a margin of safety into our design.

For the majority of the year, captured rainwater will plentifully provide for the needs of

the residents. However, THE’s design is for the worst-case scenario. From Fig. 6, below, the majority of water used is for laundry, flushing toilets and showering. By using low-flow toilets and a grey water capture and purification system, the water needs of the household will be easily provided for. Low-flow toilets will save 20%, or 3,700L, monthly. As well, water from showers, laundry and dish-washing will be captured and purified to be reused for the same tasks as well as watering plants on the third floor greenhouse (see Fig. 7 for illustration). Systems such as these are relatively inexpensive and commercially available (eg. Nubian Water Systems GT6003). Thus, as over 80% of water used (15,000L) forms a closed loop, the resident’s water needs will be more 1 The Weather Network: http://www.theweathernetwork.com/statistics/precipitation/cl1026270/cabc0226 2 Natural Resources Canada: http://atlas.nrcan.gc.ca/site/english/maps/freshwater/consumption/domestic/1 3 http://www.nubian.com.au/Residential-Greywater-Treatment-System.asp

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than amply supplied, even during the dry months or a drought.

Figure 6: Household water use.

http://www.epcor.ca/en-ca/Customers/water-customers/ efficiency-tools-tips/PublishingImages/WaterPercentCost.gif

Figure 7: Household water use (note that proposed system can process water from the kitchen as well, and processed water can be used for showering). http://www.tankedaustralia.com.au/templates/4/images/greywaterlarge.jpg

Waste

As there are no garbage trucks or sanitary sewers out in the Pacific THE devised a system

to manage waste. Grey water will be reused as outlined above; black water (waste from toilets, etc) will be treated, and the liquid component discharged into the ocean. Any solid remaining after treatment, together with any kitchen waste will be composted into fertilizer that can be used in the greenhouse. Solid wastes that cannot be composted will be compacted and stored for transport.

Heat

In order to ensure that the cabin has steady, readily-available heat during chilly days THE

opted for a propane-fired forced air furnace. Propane will also be used for a gas range in the kitchen, heating hot water and powering a backup power generator. An average house-sized tank will only need to be refilled yearly, and propane poses a minimal environmental risk and is cleanburning.

Electricity

Providing sufficient electricity for a dwelling of this size provided THE with a welcome

challenge. From the outset we resolved to use only renewable sources, considering the following

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options: solar, wind, geothermal and tidal. We opted to chose solar and wind for the maturity, efficiency, low cost and reliability of the involved technology. An average household on Vancouver Island uses 850kWh per month.4

The umbrella roof has 80m2 (850ft 2) of high-efficiency solar panels; one such panel is

Sanyo’s HIP-200BA19/20 which provides 14.8 W/ft 2, giving the roof a potential output of over 12kW.5 The region in which the cabin will be built receives 122 hours average, 200 hours maximum (July/August) and 50 hours minimum (December/January) of bright sunlight per month.6 Assuming that only 25% of this sunlight is captured (a conservative estimate, considering that the stated photovoltaic panel output takes factors such as cloud cover and orientation into account), solar energy will provide 350kWh per month (175kWh min, 600kWh max).

Wind is the perfect complement to solar as wind speeds are the greatest in winter when it

is dark, and lowest in the summer when there is much sunlight. From Fig. 8 below, the average wind speed is 8m/s (minimum 7m/s, maximum 9m/s) at the height of the cabin roof. The design and location of the cabin make wind an ideal choice as wind speed is greater over the ocean and at greater heights, and being on an island and having a tall central column fit both of these

Figure 8: Average annual (L) and winter (R) wind speeds. http://www.windatlas.ca/en/

criteria. THE opted to use a vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT), the Helix S594 (see Fig. 9), as they have numerous benefits over conventional turbines that suited the climate of the region. VAWTs have lower cut-in speeds and can generate electricity from turbulent winds, they provide 4 Natural Resources Canada: http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/corporate/statistics/neud/dpa/data_e/sheu07/sheu_049_1.cfm 5 http://sroeco.com/solar/most-efficient-solar-panels 6 The Weather Network: http://www.theweathernetwork.com/statistics/suncloud/cl1026270/cabc0226

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a more consistent output, do not have to be directed into the wind, and pose no hazard to wildlife. The chosen turbine (S594) has a monthly output of 450kWh at 7m/s, and 700kWh at 9m/s, taking into account a 50% margin over the manufacturer’s provided figures.7 See appendix B for a detailed fact sheet on the chosen wind turbine.

Figure 9: Helix Wind 2594 Vertical Axis Wind Turbine and advantages http://www.helixwind.com/en/S594.php#s594images

The combination of these two systems will provide well above the needs of the client profile;

batteries and electrical equipment are located in the mechanical room on the third floor, and a propane backup generator is available for emergency situations.

Food

Finally, although most food will be brought by

the residents, THE designed a hydroponic greenhouse on the third floor. It will be able to provide a portion of the residents basic nutritional needs, growing fruit and vegetables while using the compost and greywater generated by the activities of the residents.

Figure 10: Example of a hydroponic greenhouse garden.

http://www.roatanisland.net/images/images_touristguide/ Hdroponicgarden.jpg

7 http://www.helixwind.com/download/factSheet92_1_S594%20annual%20power%20curves.pdf

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CONCLUSION

The task brought to THE by Pacific Properties involved numerous constraints and

requirements. The remoteness and ecological sensitivity of the location, along with the target client demographic, made this project a unique challenge. After considering many different possible solutions in detail the final design was inspired by the very symbol of building in harmony with nature, the tree house. The design team addressed the task by designing a modular structure with self-sufficient systems, modern design, and all the amenities of home. The resulting cabin could be constructed almost anywhere and maintain a high quality of life for its occupants for a minimum of six consecutive months while hardly imposing on the surroundings. Thus, the team has successfully accounted for all aspects of the island environ while sacrificing none of the comforts of modern life and contained it all within an ascetically appealing, unique structure.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS References

Images and references as noted by footnotes in report. All links retrieved in November/December 2010.

Blocks

Wind turbine block: http://www.helixwind.com/en/S594.php#s594specs Block sources: Autodesk Seek, http://www.cadforum.cz/

Software

Autodesk AutoCAD 2011 used for 2D and 3D drafting. Autodesk Impression 3 used for sketch drawings. Adobe InDesign used for layout and formatting of project report. Microsoft Powerpoint used for presentation. Microsoft Word used for text composition.

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Appendix a Drawings


Appendix B Data Sheets


2010REVG


DESIGN TEAM:

Neil Tomaszewski, tim edwards, Tyler Heal

Project/client:

Sustainable Island Cabin / Pacific Properties LLP

TOMASZEWSK HEAL

TOMASZEWSKI HEAL Engineering EDWARDS Students Ltd. Engineering Students Ltd.

Sustainable Island Cabin Project Report  

Final report for 2nd year civil engineering drafting course, prepared by Tomaszewski Heal Edwards.

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