a Leicester School of Architecture, De Montfort University, United Kingdom
Sustainable design responses for residential high-
Keywords: compact city, design, high-
Today's cities face rapid urbanization, related to increasing numbers of inhabitants and many environmental problems. World class metropolitan cities such as Tokyo, New York, Shanghai, London, Paris, Hong Kong and Seoul are relying on high-
In the private sector in cities, tall buildings (commercial and residential) are quoted as needed for urban competition, although it raises concerns that many developments may not include the good quality and iconic design that a few celebrated buildings can (Kearns, Whitley, Mason and Bond, 2012). Tall buildings represent the values of competition, individualism, domination and immediate personal gain. On the contrary, the sustainability agenda stresses on the necessity to maximize scarce resources by sharing, collaboration and long-
The main design factors that are crucial for achieving a high-
As a modern society, it is crucial to make a bigger effort in enhancing housing environments to provide everyone with higher conditions of living (Lee and Kim, 2014). Social sustainability is closely connected to the livability of the tall buildings which from the other hand is akin to the quality of life. Planning and design can achieve liveability. Sustainability features of the buildings influence to a great extent the residents' satisfaction with their living environment and this should be reflected in the policies and regulations guiding the development of the high-
The aim of the study is to investigate in detail the design practices and views that lead to a sustainable residential high-
1. How to design residential high-
2. What are the efficient ways to reduce energy consumption in residential high-
3. What envelope should have the sustainable high-
4. Are geothermal energy and solar panels viable solution for residential high-
The design philosophy of the leading architectural practices that undertake residential high-
Twelve leading high-
The participants: 12 architects, designers of prominent high-
Table 7.1. Interviewed Architects Expertise
Architect 1 R.C. is a founding principal of Cunningham | Quill Architects, with over twenty years of experience in residential, infill, mixed-
Architect 2 A.A. from STUDIOS ARCHITECTURE is proud for more than ten years with them to solve complex challenges through simple and organised architecture. The architect is known to lead his clients and colleagues through rich, collaborative process to produce dynamic, unexpected solutions informed by the program, site and the culture of each client and project.
Architect 3, Sh. E. as a firm Principal of Torti Gallas, truly expresses the company philosophy when designing residential, mixed-
Architect 4 B.K. joined Pappageorge Haymes Partners in 1987 and since then provided leadership in the design and construction of projects ranging from planned communities, high-
Architect 5 B. N. worked for Pfeiffer for many years with a focus on projects for cultural and educational clients. The company employs 50 professionals-
Architect 6 D.C. leads SCB's research and work in the areas of sustainability and building performance, including consulting with project teams to set sustainability and performance goals and assess appropriate strategies.
Architect 7 F. G. is from Make, an international, award-
Architect 8 L.L. joined Jestico + Whiles in 2002 where he has worked on a wide range of residential, mixed-
The architect is currently leading a team on phases one to five of the competition winning masterplan at Greenwich Millennium Village.
Architect 9 L.R. experience is in architectural design, interior design, project management, and implementation including multifamily residential, corporate offices and commercial interiors, urban mixed-
Architect 10 S. E. is a principle in Erdy McHenry and his work has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects for excellence in design, earning more than 11 local, regional and national design awards. The practice uses a unique business model and Design Philosophy: Integrated Decision Making as a Design Tool, where Budget, Program and Schedule are reconciled each in terms of the other with each design decision.
Architect 11 C. S. from Sieger Suarez Architects has been a practising architect in many states since 1972. In addition, during his decades of construction management, he has overseen billions of dollars in new construction, including mixed-
Architect 12 A.M. from Pickard Chilton has design leadership experience on prominent projects around the world. Some of his firm projects include 145 Broadway, Akamai's new headquarters in Cambridge, 2&U, a mixed-
The interviews: The interview consists of four questions, each addressing different sustainable design response in residential high-
Storage: The digital copies of the interviews are stored on personal computers.
On the first question A.A. replies that "architecture by social engineering is a favourite thing for the architects to resolve, in his current practice, they really focus on design what they call inside out, that really focuses on the user experience and how that individual experiences the space, and then the building architecture and all that follows from it." The architect thinks that "a lot has to do with creating places that people want to naturally go to, natural gathering places allowing relief and entice systems but also providing not so much space that it's unwelcoming or uncomfortable. What is interesting is in the 60's there was an urbanist named William Whyte, who did a lot of research in New York, his work stands from plazas, does anybody use them, are they good and had a couple of basic social observations. People tend to stand near objects, people tend to sit where are places to sit, a couple of some really straight-
B.K. also talks about "roof gardens and pools, all type of activities, this is what they do to ensure people have social interactions by gathering them in larger areas."
B.N. says they "try to create spaces for people to have a chance to meet each other and interact with each other, in a less structured way, where they just kind of hang out. In some cases, it is less of an amenity, more of a giving them a space to do that. Corridors, lobby, if instead of a corridor you have a lounge, a shared space where everybody passes through."
D.C. shares all their projects "have a fitness centre, they have a lounge, they have a lobby. In Chicago the lobby tends to be really formal, but in San Francisco some of the lobbies actually become more like a coffee shop space where people can sit and work, they are starting to see bike rooms becoming a bigger deal, in San Francisco where there is a like a bike maintenance area, right outside the lobby, even a bike mechanic comes on the weekend, to work on peoples bikes, so it is like a storage space, but they are starting to become a space just like amenity, where they could be some interactions, they are changing a little bit. Most of the clients are feeling that amenities are necessary to rent or sell the building. Mostly their company is doing rental buildings but, in the past, they have done a lot of condos. It is going to be someone who over 2000 dollars for one bedroom, so the architect thinks that just to compete in that area you have to have these amenities." So, in his practice, they definitely see that they "go for low-
F.G. thinks "it is again about mixing uses. Imagine someone leaving the office, having coffee in his apartment and then inviting someone for a breakfast. It is absolutely interesting because it feels like you are on a High Street instead of a traditional tall building. And then you might get invited from that person, go to their apartment, there is sort of connection there, and maybe you both go to the gym, or hotel, it is mixing the commercial world and the residential world, it makes it more like a community, because you are sharing an experience with someone that isn't just your colleague at work. The architect thinks for example in the Cube in Birmingham the retail levels incorporate the gym, and that is something the hotel uses, the residents use and the office uses and is a kind of shared facility that benefits everybody. And obviously, it ads viability to the building."
L.R. talks about "a mix of uses in their larger projects, the retail is usually at the base along the streetscape with restaurants, stores."
M.H. replies that "the types of different amenities that they include for interaction could be anything from interior green space that upgrades courtyards, plazas piazzas, depending on the context and depending on the site, and then within the building public lobbies, shared amenity spaces, and then sky gardens, exterior terraces, rooftop gardens."
R.C. thinks that "it starts with the deep understanding of urbanism, about the way that buildings meet the ground, about the way that there is some path through the building and a lot to do with spaces that allow spontaneous interaction between people. Amenities are a great idea. In his practice they have been doing a lot of live-
S.E. says they "encourage social interactions by providing public spaces dedicated to community life."
Sh. E. gives, for example, a building called CityVista. "The building has several areas for social interaction. It has a large courtyard on the second floor, called urban oasis in the middle of the city because the city in many cases doesn't have the large open space, the courtyard is a place where all the residents can meet and mingle. The second area is on the top level, on the roof, there is a swimming pool. The swimming pool and the roof terrace is again a second opportunity to all of the residents to come in and share the roof and socially interact. In each building, these are the common amenities, of all three buildings. The courtyard, the roof terrace with the pool, but each building has its own set of amenities, such as club room, again another opportunity for people to come in, interact, and what we like to do in the buildings nowadays is concentrate amenities in one area, that used to be, ten years ago, amenities used to be in leftover spaces. It is no longer like this. Now the amenities are really in the heart of the building. You want everybody to go to these amenities, you want these amenities to be active so they tend to be near the lobby, they have a communal table so people can sit across to each other, not individual tables, it's in the centre where everybody, you enter the building and you see the lounge, you see the business centre, all these and the gym, all these are very close to the lobby or very accessible from the lobby, activating the lobby, so once you enter you feel the energy of the place, encourages you to be there. And the new lists of amenities adjust in time but just you find a lot of people have pets. So, the idea of a pets spa and an area to walk your dog, in the building a place where you can wash your pet. Children of course. If you think you will have large families, they have the tendency to put the larger units on the courtyard level. Or in a place where they will have a backyard or accessibility to the outside where children can play."
L.L. says "if you look historically, there are a lot of tall buildings that were just kind of sat in without a great deal of thought about design. In a big site of concrete or a big lawn of grass and none of that really helped the interaction, because people will just hurry in and out of the building, get out of there as quickly as possible, into unforgiving and threatening external area.
So, the architect thinks allowing interaction people through landscaping, allowing places where people can meet and interact. Safety is a big issue, so allowing people to feel safe in buildings, so they have this security by design standards, plus they created roof terraces, creche, gym, so allowing place for people to kind of mix safely."
On the second question A.A. replies that "it goes back to turning the energy into electricity to be able to kill two birds with one stone. If you think about how a tree heats and cools itself, it doesn't do it by creating a perfectly tight envelope. The way our technology is today is that we have to create a completely contain system. So, every bit that leaked from our building now, creates problems. So, designers are very focused on creating a completely tight and sealed building envelope. Over time first of all anytime you say never as it is never going to be a leak in this building, there is always a leak. So, managing systems that plan for that kind of leaking and flow will actually help the sustainability story over time and they are starting to see that in a very basic way that rain screen building envelope systems which are essentially recognizing that there is a certain porous. If you provide certain porosity in the outermost layers of the building skin, you can change the wear and tear that that happens on the inner skin. So, you can really think about it as an example of you have your epidermis, your uppermost skin, your sweat pores and things that come of, and then underneath a very sensitive skin layer that does ultimately all your protection. The outer skin layer has oil on it, so the water sheds off it, but the inner skin layer is really doing a lot of the work with the heat, and keeping your body heating, and the rain screen system in buildings has started to do that from a solid skin standpoint." They don't necessarily have an answer for that in glass yet, but the architect thinks that these are the types of things that are exciting potential developments in building technology future. The architect still believes in how we turn heat energy in both cooling and electricity one day.
B.K. says most of their projects "don't have a lot of component for renewable energy, they don't have photovoltaic panels or anything like that. For some of the projects they are able to do some hot water solar heating, but right now we are working on market-
L.R. says "there are a few ways to do it, one way that they focused on is the building envelope design, so better insulation in the walls, better insulation in the roof, low-
M.H. says "you have to be very thoughtful about the orientation of the building, the massing of the building, being thoughtful about the enclosure of the building and then in collaboration with our other teammates like mechanical engineers and sustainability consultants they are always looking for the best mechanical system, for the local environment. And looking for ways to use the top technology in terms of what will be the best HVAC system, so in many of their projects they are looking at chill beams, they are looking at heat recovery, design that tries to reduce the cooling load, and in northern climates for the enclosure as well as the mechanical system."
R.C. shares they "primarily reduce energy consumption through the building envelope which is how the windows, walls, etc. perform. You can achieve some very major reductions by really being smart about the envelope but that also requires upfront money and upfront expense in order to use the best materials, the best insulator."
S.E. gives for an example a building called EVO in Philadelphia. "This building takes this entire site, so all this green roof absorbs water and all the solid paved areas are actually a reservoir underneath, so there is five inches of basically a pond underneath those pavers, all that takes through the stormwater. And the building itself, in his practice they designed a curtain wall system which is three layers glass, which is designed to reflect solar heat but also thermally maintains the temperatures in the building. And this building is also, even though it is all glass, it's really only 40% vision glass."
Sh.E. says they are doing two things: "efficiency of the HVAC systems, second is the efficiency of the envelope." Typically, they provide high insulation levels of the roof and the walls. For example, their walls are "minimum R19, code typically requires R11, but they provided R19. What is typically required for roof is R19, theirs is R30. So, they do increase R, they provide efficient building through providing efficient HVAC systems, through insulating the roof, the walls, the windows, it is provided clear double glazing, but also energy efficient appliances, the refrigerator, any of appliances, provided within the units, in addition to efficient fixtures that reduce water consumption."
C.S. shares that in his practice they "have been reducing energy consumption on daily basis by LED lights, considerably less electric use previous incandescent, so all of their buildings are installing LED lighting, and there is recaptured heat loss with the air conditioning systems, solar panels, and in some of their buildings they actually have wind generating devices, on the top of the high rises. Geothermal energy is only usable in certain areas of the world where geothermal physical ground works can substantiate that, as an example they tried geothermal air condition where it uses water from the ground and then cools the compressors and the air conditioning system, but unfortunately in Florida they have high salt content of that water and it ruins that equipment very rapidly. So, in certain areas, you can do it, say in northern climates, say Manhattan."
L.L. says that "overheating is a big problem, so passive ways of mitigating against this are worth investigating -
On the third question, A.A. replies that "rain screens are the first step letting certain kinds of porosity within the building. It provides advantages. The rain screen today still has a very tight very waterproof layer behind it. That is very important for keeping the air and water separated from the outside and inside. The architect thinks the interesting next step is when they figure out the next technology that lets the building brief directly through the skin, but that doesn't lose the body heat or the cooling that is inside that lets the building kind of actually brief. Because the amount of energy and resources that we put into the mechanical what has been interesting is that sustainability movement over the last 15 years, what has happened is that the mechanical systems have become more and more elaborate, but they haven't necessarily revolutionized. You still are moving air through metal ductwork that is taking space within the building which makes the building taller which takes a lot of resources, or you are adding a lot of things that aren't necessarily fitting into the building purely for these mechanical systems. Ideally what we see in the next 20 to 50 years is new ways of thinking about ventilation. People are starting to see some of these too, like in the 19th century heating and ventilation were separate, because you have a fireplace, and you have a window that you could open. And then in the 40's and 50's those kind of got squeezed together when we invented air-
B.N. says "it is too expensive to implement a lot of the time energy efficient envelopes, you obviously have windows, you try to use low E on your window, you try to use window that performs well, if it is darker you get less light, there is a balance, low conductivity is pretty good, gives you pretty good energy savings, also not that bad looking. A building, for example, Colburn was terracotta rain screen, exterior envelope, but that was more of an aesthetic choice to match the brick on the existing buildings, then sort of an environmentally sustainable choice."
D.C. explains that "most of their buildings tend to be all glass, they are not all vision glass, so the biggest impact is the U-
M.H. says that when in his practice they "can and when the budget and the local construction industry supports it, they like to use a unitized system, they like to have enclosures that are fabricated and assembled as units offsite, they find that gives us a better enclosure and better weatherproof, well-
R.C. shares that "the glass is in their projects is three layers of laminated glass, so that is the heavier glass you can get, that had to do with the thermal performance of the window, but also with the noise reduction performance of the window if you have very busy site, lots of noise is going up and they wanted to make sure the building was quiet."
S.E. says in the case of EVO "it is all glass, but the glass is not a very good insulator, however, glass is only the finish of the outside of the material. So, for instance, the darker area is a window, this part is actually solid behind it, so in terms of long-
So, there are prefabricated panels, they happen to be completely solid, and there is the operable window this is how you get your fresh air so this panel opens up, so natural ventilation is also very important by a façade that wants to be very airtight but also needs to breath and allow fresh air in."
C.S. says "a lot of people are talking about wood, but you can't really do a high-
B.K. thinks "one aspect of living in a high rise building as opposed to other types of housing in an urban centre is the importance of views. People are drawn, in part, to a high rise building to have views. To take in the ever-
Sh.E. says that "while there are no specific regulations, the architect will recommend that the building meet the Requirements of the USA, LEED Silver Certification."
L.L. says "some things here are obvious: low maintenance, high thermal and airtight performance etc. Others perhaps not so obvious. The robustness of materials is important. Many cladding materials can rapidly deteriorate with weather and UV exposure, so the choice of materials that "wear in rather than wear out" is critical. Pre-
On the fourth question, A.A. replies "that geothermal power and solar panels are absolutely suitable for high-
B.K. replies that "in his practice, they have looked at solar panels and geothermal energy in certain projects, but the expense is such that it makes no sense of using it in a high-
B.N. says they "didn't do any photovoltaic on the Colburn mainly because the roof had a helicopter platform on it, so the roof wasn't open for photovoltaic, and nowadays you see products that people put on the façade." They also never did geothermal energy.
D.C. says their buildings "tend to be skinny so they don't have enough roof area and it is very expensive to integrate it into the façade, but they just finished a building in San Francisco that has solar power, two water collectors on top of it, but it is a fairly small percentage of the energy used. For geothermal, they haven't done it for high-
F.G. explains they "did not use anything in particular, the requirements from building regulations were high, but they did not invest in advanced systems for the Cube, Birmingham."
L.R. claims that in his practice they "would like to use geothermal energy and solar panels in their projects, they think they are suitable and interesting, they have not seen a lot of use for photovoltaic or things like wind turbines, just yet. They think that is going to change soon, they will start seeing the technology change and the actual windows themselves hopefully will start to have some of those technologies built into them. A lot of what they do in their high-
M.H. says they "have several projects where they have incorporated solar panels in the roof scheme, not so far as a project where to incorporate PV on the façade, although they explore that, they have also looked at geothermal, less in high-
R.C. says they "have done geothermal wells and that can be a very effective strategy, also a house with geothermal including the pool heater, as well they have a solar farm because they have a lot of lands so that house was designed to use no energy when the clients weren't there which is very difficult because there is still power in the house, there is still heating and cooling and all that, but they managed to achieve it."
S.E. thinks "geothermal is a very good system, and they have used it on a couple of projects, in the particular urban situation with EVO they did not use it because there was not enough ground area so the building footprint is very small, because it is a high-
Sh. E. says "in his practice, they did consider solar panels, however, the cost of the solar panels of the time did not really justify the cost of the savings, they really looked at the efficiency of all systems, HVAC and envelope. The architect thinks that geothermal power is absolutely relevant to this kind of buildings, they do explore it, now with every new building they will explore it."
L.L. says "geothermal is a potentially useful idea for taller buildings due to the deep foundations that are required, even though the architect has no personal experience using it. Solar panels: PV or Solar thermal are more complex due to limited roof space -
Buildings, energy and the environment are the main topics engaging the building society worldwide. However, even though the architects design high-
In many of today's buildings, the energy consumption can be significantly reduced by applying energy efficiency solutions. Because of environmental concerns and the high cost of energy in the last years, there has been a reborn concern in building energy efficiency (Sadineni, Madala and Boehm, 2011). The architects discuss turning the energy into electricity by future technological advances, using insulated concrete, efficient walls and windows, LED, efficient HVAC systems. The passive design also should be considered in terms of solar orientation. The fact that much of conventional, modern architecture is not sustainable in a long-
The building envelope is the interface connecting the interior of the building and the outdoor realm. A building's energy consumption to a great degree is defined by certain envelope design elements. Using the unitized system, architects like to have enclosures that are fabricated and assembled as units offsite, they find that gives them a better well-
The architects agree that geothermal energy and solar panels are absolutely appropriate for application in high-
The article discusses important design responses capable to enhance the social and environmental sustainability of residential high-
The author would like to thank the Montfort University for its substantial financial and institutional support. The author is also very grateful to all the architects that took the time and participated in the interviewing process.
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