Kelly Pierson and I were partners for this project.  We designed a bus stop and bike share hub to be placed on a sidewalk down by the Corner.  We designed this bus stop structure to emphasize the difference between gathering space, waiting space (for the bus), and bike space.  For this project, we chose to use concrete as our main material.  The concrete benches allow for thermal retention, absorbing the cool summer air at night and the warm sunlight in the winter in order to provide a cool bench area in the summer and a warm bench area in the winter.  We also utilized photovoltaic panels on the roof of our bus stop oriented towards the majority of the incoming sunlight to power the bus stop lighting and the bus route display screen.  Any extra electricity gathered will be sent back into the city grid.  Lastly, the roof is slanted downwards on either side so that rain can collect and drain down through the columns, be filtered underground, and then be used as drinking water for thirsty bikers or those waiting for the bus.

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1. According to Meadows, elements, interconnections and a function or purpose are necessary components in systems. Describe the elements, connections and/or functions or purpose in the Chesapeake Bay watershed system. Diagram the system including these elements.

Elements:

– land developer (buys, develops, and sells land, either regularly or sustainably)

– waterman (fishes)

– animal farmer (raises animals for food and sale)

– crop farmer (grows crops for food and sale)

– regulator (provides regulations and incentives in the system to help balance or improve the economy and health of the bay)

– animals

– plants

– water

– land

Interconnections:

– If the watermen continuously overfish, the fish population will decrease, which will see the health of other bay animals decrease, which will hurt plant life and the sale of fish.  If the regulator put a limit on fishing or provided an incentive to not fish as much, overfishing would decrease or be eliminated and the health of the bay overall would improve.

– Land developed sustainably helps the health of the land surrounding the bay, decreasing harmful runoff and providing a higher total profit for land developers.

– Overall, as the health of the bay animals and fish increases, the watermen and animal farmers will increase profits, bay water quality will increase, there will be more incentives to keep the bay at its current health level, and the bay will stay cleaner and healthier.

2. Describe how your diagram and understanding have changed since your first diagram of the Chesapeake Bay watershed system.

Since my first understanding of the Chesapeake Bay watershed system I have learned more about the details of the watershed system and the roles that each element plays in the overall system.  I especially learned more about the role of the land developer in the overall system because I was assigned that role in the bay game.  My initial diagram and understanding of the system and the bay game were fairly on target, but after learning more about the Chesapeake Bay and participating in the bay game I know more about the underlying systems involved and how they can affect each other.

3. How do you think delay affects the efforts to improve the health of the Bay?

In the effort to improve the health of the bay, delay has a huge effect in the overall system.  Delay in the Chesapeake Bay watershed system can be found in several places:

– Time between buying, developing, and selling land (land developer)

– Time between setting policies and incentives and those policies or incentives actually starting to work

– Time between the slowing of fishing practices and the fish population regaining numbers

– In general, delay plays a large factor in the watershed system because it occurs in so many places and because these delays are all interconnected and can start to negatively affect the bay if they are not recognized and taken into account when thinking in systems.

4. What was your perceived understanding of the goal/s of the game? Did you think the overall goal/s “fit” with your goals as a stakeholder and citizen? Describe how your understanding of the goal/s affected your actions within the game?

I perceived the goals of the game to be to further our understanding of the interconnected systems at play in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, recognize the real-world applications of the things we have learned in class, and to physically demonstrate how these systems work and how the actions of each individual are all taken into the overall system.  In the game itself, I understood the goal as keeping the bay healthy while simultaneously maintaining a high quality of life and a balanced economy.  While playing the game as a land developer, I tried to sustainably develop my land to help the environment while all the time looking out for my own self-interest and trying to make a profit.  Sometimes it was not possible to do both.

In class today we talked briefly about the new series of bus stops that the city of San Francisco is constructing over the next 3 years.  These bus stops, designed by local firm Lundberg Design, are made of mostly-recycled materials and implement photo-voltaic cells on the roof panel in order to power the bus stop’s LED displays of transit schedules.  These recycled materials are more graffiti and etching resistant, and any extra electricity generated by these photovoltaic cells will be wired straight back into the city grid.

The picture below shows a view of the photovoltaic cells on the red polycarbonate roof panel.  I think that The design of these simple structures is basic, but practical and functional.  It serves its purpose as a bus stop, providing seating on a bench inside, giving shelter from the elements, and displaying bus schedule information.  However, the use of alternative energy sources to fully power the display board (and then some) as well as the low-maintenance cost recycled materials really brings these bus stop structures up a notch.  I plan to use the same concepts from the design of these bus stops in the design of my own bus stop/bike share hub.

What times of year and times of day make up the primary solar window?

January-April: 8am-1:30pm

April-September: 8am-4pm

October-December: 9am-1pm

How might you respond to this as an architect with respect to the siting and orientation of your meeting place?

With the overlay of the solar chart on the site panorama, I can now see where the sun is blocked or not during specific months and times of the day.  This means that in designing my bus stop/bike share hub I can orient my project and place walls or windows accordingly, taking into account individual comfort in terms of direct light or shade (which in turn determines temperature).  I could design my project to allow as much natural light in as possible during the winter in order to heat the space while providing shade during midday in the summer when a cooler temperature would make the space more comfortable to experience.

How might you respond as a landscape architect with respect to modifications of the site?

As a landscape architect, I could modify my site by strategically planting small trees to provide shade in the summer months.  The site on the corner doesn’t have much land space to work with, so planting trees for shade may be one of the only effective features a landscape architect could implement.

 

Sketches and diagrams:


During this discussion section we went to the field behind Lambeth to construct this overlay of a solar chart for the area and a panoramic view of the site.  This type of overlay allowed us to determine how the sun interacts with this particular area.  It shows where the sun is hidden behind trees or building and when it is visible in the sky.  This type of information is invaluable to the architectural design process.

In this article, Guy Battle and Christopher McCarthy talk about climate awareness and natural systems of heating and cooling in association with architectural design.  The part of this article that spoke to me the most was the surveys of people that concluded in finding that most building residents preferred natural lighting and ventilation to tightly controlled  interior climate control, including air conditioning.  It goes on to say that people’s tolerance of climate changes is increased when in buildings that allow choices, such as opening or closing a window, pulling shades or not, and other personal decisions that affect the user’s comfort.

“But in buildings where people can open the window and experience the external climate conditions, their expectations become adjusted to the seasons, and their tolerance of variation increases dramatically.”

This really made me think about what I could design in the future, from studio to the real world.  I had never sat down and thought about why I like places with operable windows and the like, but I now realize that, no matter what the season, I adapt to the climate and make my personal climate choices accordingly.  In fact, in planning and designing a low-cost, sustainable school for a village in Honduras as a part of Global Architecture Brigades, we took into account this type of thinking.  In our design we utilized cross-breezes, reflected light, and windows to vent out heat in order to make the school a more enjoyable and personally comfortable place to experience.

This past weekend, our entire 3rd year studio took a class trip to Philadelphia in order to explore the city and further examine our various sites for ongoing projects.  As studio groups, we broke up and walked throughout the city, discovering a Philadelphia most of us had never known before.  On on of my studio’s trips into the city we met up with Scott Erdy of emArchitects in Philadelphia.  He took us through a slideshow of their most important projects, past and current.  As he explained the design behind all these projects, it was reassuring to see that this accomplished architecture firm took into account things we have been learning in class so far this semester.  In the projects described to us it was evident that there was a heavy design influence coming from solar studies, passive heating and cooling technologies, alternative forms of energy, and attention to climate and weather.

These projects included features as small as tilted windows to account for the sun’s angle over different seasons, to entire roof structures covered in photovoltaic panels to create a building that would be LEED Platinum certified and net-zero (using only the energy it generates itself).  This attention to the systems we have been learning about all semester served to reinforce the importance of what we learn in class.

 

As a side note, we also played a card game on the bus ride to Philadelphia that reminded me of the Thinking in Systems book.  The way this game is played, after one round the game turns into a limited reinforcing feedback loop, rewarding higher ranked players and penalizing lower ranked players.  Who knew that after only a few hours of fall break I would still be seeing things through a systems point of view.