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November 26, 2011 / mandyhyj

Revisiting lecture reading -Rahm, gulf stream and my final project

Today, I watched a video about Philippe Rahm It introduces the concept of gulf stream and the research house for Dominique Gonzalez- Foerster, which appeared in one of the readings we had earlier this semester (Energies by Rahm). The animation of air convention and of the positioning of different programs at different heights according to thermal temperature to restore the diverse relationship between body and the building environment reminds me of my final project. I realized that this internal gulf stream is applicable to my final project and could help me solve the problem of keeping a relative consistent temperature in a large space. So I decided to revisit the earlier reading to further support my final project.

The basic idea of the gulf stream is that two plates of different temperatures are placed at different heights with the colder one on top and the hotter one on the bottom. Like a miniature gulf stream, this position creates a flow of air because hot lighter air keeps moving upwards and colder denser air keeps moving downwards. The following diagram illustrates the positioning and thermal energy flow:

The research house for Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster applies this concept on a scale of home and created an indoor gulf stream. Rooms with different functions are assigned with an average temperature according to the activity that’s been carried out in this particular room. This positioning restores the relationship between body and the environment, or thermal environment to be more specific. At the same time, this passive design makes the thermal environment more stable because the thermal energy flow within the house follows the thermal gradient consisting of temperatures of different rooms, which are pre-determined by the programs of the rooms. The mechanism itself is natural and does not require external energy supply.

The following is a diagram of the positioning of different rooms in the research house for Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster


This idea is useful to my final project in helping me create thermal and air convection throughout the seven floors in my building. In my building, I have a lightwell-like space (8ft * 50ft) on the south side. The floors in this space are porous, like the tech bridge at the 4th floor studio, so that air and heat could move freely throughout the building. Program at different level requires and at the same time creates different thermal conditions. The bottom floor is a small restaurant, which has a high temperature, the middle floors are meeting room, offices, and studio space, which have various temperatures all lower than restaurant’s temperature. The floor above is partially exhibition room. And on the top is visiting artist’s apartment and a rooftop garden. This positioning generally follows the pattern of the two thermal plates. Warmer air from the bottom would move upward and the cooler air from the rooftop garden would move downward.

However the exhibition room still counter-heat-flow. I would need to reorganize the position of the exhibition room, or make it relatively separated from this gulf stream. Also the connectivity between different floors matters as well.

More detailed diagram coming in the final assignment!



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