On February 25th, 2021, WHSAD collaborated with Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning, and consulting firm, to host the Gensler Design Discovery Program. The presentation’s audience consisted of students at WHSAD with an interest in architecture and design. As a result of the presentation, the students learned multiple things that can prove beneficial for their future.
The Gensler Design Discovery Program strongly emphasized the concept of sustainability when it came to creating architectural works and designs.
Lina Peilin Ayala, who focuses her expertise in residential design and urban design, discussed design resilience and established the goal of eliminating the CO2 emissions that stem from construction. Lina’s presentation focused on the importance of pre-construction design ethics that are necessary to reduce the number of greenhouse gases produced while creating structures. Lina proposed an approach to accomplish this goal would be to design architectural systems that can serve multiple functions while simultaneously contributing to the goal.
Speakers Thomas Brock, Project Architect and design realization leader, and Anna Obraztsova, who leads the Delos Solutions team, discussed Delos, a Gensler client, integrating Delos’’s goal of increasing human and environmental wellness in indoor areas. The presentation focused on strategies that can combat the negative effects that stem from the contemporary way of living. Such strategies included circadian lighting, air quality monitoring, healthy materials, ergonomic future, wellness rooms, and biophilia.
Geoffrey Diamond, who splits his time between design and technical roles and thrives as a storyteller, outlined the Brookhaven National Laboratory project design process, including a description of the objective, a visioning session, a site analysis, and design concepts. Given that BNL’s mission statement focuses on sustainability, Gensler utilized a wide variety of sustainable design approaches, including daylighting, mixed-mode ventilation, solar shading, etc.
Below is the full video of the Gensler Design Discover Program Presentation:
The following are some student takeaways from the presentation.
Deshawn Gould, Freshman
In a Gensler meeting today Ms. Lina mostly talked about energy. Ms. Lina gave us 6 principles, each talking about energy. She explained how a building would be facing the sun, different shading low angles and etc. Ms. Lina also talked about the decorative schemes and creative ways sun shading has been employed. In principle, she changed the topic and talked about space and how we should make space for anything because open space helps spread light and air. The last principle talked about the ecosystem, plumbing, and green cities. Mr. Geoffrey talked about a project he is doing. Mr. Geoffrey talked about the building and where he would be building it. He also said that there will be a solar exposure, which means the world orbiting and changing the season changing the building.
I plan on using all these things I learned by making a nice and relaxing community that reduces greenhouses by using shading in the surrounding area. I would also focus on energy and maintain it in the area we are in. I would like to use all the techniques and other things I learned and make a city capable of helping out people. I would also get better at being an architect and learning new things every time doing a different project.
Derek Ramos Matos, Freshman
Sustainability. When we think on the topic of architecture it is an essential point that always comes up. In today’s presentation, I found a lot of inspiration from Geoffrey Diamond’s topics.
His presentation was focused on a project he was involved in: making a building sustainable and efficient with a restricted budget. His project focused on making a gateway for Brookhaven’s National Laboratory. This building would allow for a more subtle greeting for visitors and will still be able to deliver all of the necessary security and entrance procedures. This project was on a tight budget mentioned by Geoffrey. This led to the vision of a building that was not only built with a budget in mind but also how it affected the environment it was placed in. Geoffrey mentioned building resources and how the position of the building made it more temperature efficient during the summer due to the sun’s positions which are all points I personally found very interesting.
These topics helped me learn valuable information that I will certainly use in the future. As time passes we need to be more concerned about our environment and what better way than to make everything we build as efficient and sustainable as possible. This would lead to a decrease in emissions and other harmful substances that are by-products of buildings. What I have learned today in this presentation by these great architects has shown me that to be a great architect you have to be able to solve multiple problems using sustainable design. This will make your work as useful as possible. Making our future better should be in the minds of every architect.
Yu Feng Zhou, Senior
Today, 2/25/2021, many architects from Gensler gave a presentation about their own project and/or experience. Lina Ayala and Geoffrey Diamond were two of the speakers who spoke about different concepts in response to climate change and designing in general. One concept that I found interesting is sun shading, which is about adding a surface/panel, extending off a floor of a building to provide shade for the floor below. On top of that, Geoffrey Diamond also talked about having floors opened horizontally for possible diagonal movements from one floor to another floor. This concept can help interaction in the building. He also emphasized the northern side of a building’s glass should be larger while having some beams to provide some shade. While on the southern side, sunlight exposure will be less and, therefore, doesn’t require the same shading features.
This concept about sunlight shade and exposure is really interesting. I can implement that concept in my current project by providing some shades on the northside glass of the kiosk so the employees will be comfortable since the sunlight will not directly impact them. While having some shading on the glass, the roof can be extended slightly for extra shade and reach the goal of providing a sense of comfort for the employees. Also, the roof can be slightly elevated on one side, which makes things like snow slide off.
Amelia Velez, Sophomore
The Gensler Design Discovery Session III-Design Resilience focused on how to build more sustainably. During Lina Ayala’s presentation, she explained how it is possible to lower CO2 emissions in six different ways. The first way was by using an older building as a base. By using an older/pre-existing building you don’t have to create a completely new structure; you can renovate and expand on the pre-existing building. As Ms. Ayala said in the presentation, it takes decades for a building’s foundation/structure to break down. The next way it is possible for architects to cut down on CO2 emissions is by correctly sizing a building. This means you only build for as many people, furniture, and objects as you need. This will prevent extra rooms or rooms that are too large from being created and, therefore, will reduce the number of materials you need for construction and so reduce the amount of CO2 emissions. The third way Ms. Ayala said you could reduce the amount of electricity buildings use by working with the sun/building according to how the sun rises and sets. By working with the sun, buildings wouldn’t have to use as much artificial lighting and they wouldn’t have to raise the building’s heating as much. The fourth and fifth ways Ms. Ayala said were beneficial were by cutting down the amount of materials you used to build and by using building materials that are extremely durable so they last for a longer amount of time. There are materials that are self-sustaining and can keep well during all seasons. The sixth and final way Ms. Ayala said architects would remain sustainable while building is by creating systems that help keep surrounding land and water clean. An example Ms. Ayala suggested was plants that cleaned sewer water so surrounding land and life wouldn’t be affected by the sewer water.
I am interested in the idea of more sustainable buildings because global warming is a topic that the world needs to focus more on and sustainable buildings are a step in the right direction. I can learn more about sustainability in general by reading different articles/books on global warming and what people are doing to fight climate change. Learning more about how people are being more sustainable will also help me figure out what is making it difficult to be sustainable. This could help me find a way to bypass or solve limiting factors around global warming. Learning about limiting factors also could help me learn more about different resources I could use if I do become an architect and widen my knowledge around architecture in general. Learning about sustainability and global warming, in general, would help me learn more about world issues and architecture at the same time so it would be overall beneficial for me.”