The Forum’s Innovative Ventilated Facade and Mechanical System

From the inception of the design of The Forum, Studio 804's goal was to avoid introducing mechanically-tempered air into the spaces, but instead meet this need using fresh, outdoor air. To this end, we are employing a highly energy-efficient, ventilated facade system. It was designed in consultation with two expert firms, Henderson Engineers, Lenexa, Kan., and Transsolar, New York City. Their work goes beyond typical mechanical system engineering and design, including the optimization of the ventilated wall system using computerized energy modeling.

The double-wall, ventilated facade is composed of two layers of 1-inch thick, clear high-performance insulating glass, which runs from floor to ceiling. These low-emissivity coated units are separated by a 3-foot, 5-inch ventilated airspace. This space houses the 1-foot wide vertical, western red cedar louvers that are turned to either admit or block sunlight as required to modulate heat gain.  

The primary means of controlling temperature and humidity in the spaces is through the use of variable-refrigerant-volume heat-pumps. Ducted fan-coil units supply conditioned air via overhead diffusers, and during the natural ventilation mode fresh air is supplied to the lecture hall through an underfloor air system. Energy models show that the systems working in concert will yield significant energy savings over the course of each calendar year. 

Daylighting was also an extremely important component of the energy reduction effort. Studio 804's goal from the beginning of design studies was to have the louvers open during most of the teaching year. To accommodate the audio/visual which normally would require the lecture room to be darkened, a screen and projector designed for projecting images outdoors is employed. 

Natural Ventilation Mode

On mild days during the year a natural ventilation mode will allow both the primary and outdoor air systems to shut down, and cross-ventilation will introduce fresh outdoor air. The air will enter from the east façade into the floor plenum, and seep into the rooms through dozens of vents at low velocity. This cross-ventilation will be amplified by the vented-wall design. Fans high up on the west side to assist air movement through the occupied space and out over the dual wall. The stack effect is employed to draw air from the interior out through the vents in the west facade's parapet. In this scenario, outdoor air is delivered efficiently to the occupants providing better indoor air quality at the breathing zone.

On mild days during the year a natural ventilation mode will allow both the primary and outdoor air systems to shut down, and cross-ventilation will introduce fresh outdoor air. The air will enter from the east façade into the floor plenum, and seep into the rooms through dozens of vents at low velocity. This cross-ventilation will be amplified by the vented-wall design. Fans high up on the west side to assist air movement through the occupied space and out over the dual wall. The stack effect is employed to draw air from the interior out through the vents in the west facade's parapet. In this scenario, outdoor air is delivered efficiently to the occupants providing better indoor air quality at the breathing zone.

Summer Ventilation Mode

During summer months the vertical wood louvers inside the façade's cavity are are programmed to track the sun and can be  closed to reduce the solar heat gain to the lecture hall through shading. As the heat builds in the façade cavity, dampers located in the outer façade will open at both the top and bottom to allow removal of the higher temperature air. Fresh, cool air brought in from the landscaped and shaded open space beneath the building helps create a significant reduction in the loads caused by solar heat gain.

During summer months the vertical wood louvers inside the façade's cavity are are programmed to track the sun and can be  closed to reduce the solar heat gain to the lecture hall through shading. As the heat builds in the façade cavity, dampers located in the outer façade will open at both the top and bottom to allow removal of the higher temperature air. Fresh, cool air brought in from the landscaped and shaded open space beneath the building helps create a significant reduction in the loads caused by solar heat gain.

Winter Mode

During the winter months the louvers are opened, to allow solar heat gain in the lecture hall, in effect giving The Forum a "warm blanket." Some radiant heat passes to the space while additional solar heat builds in the façade cavity. Thermally insulated dampers located in the outer façade remain closed to trap this heat. This has an insulating effect for the building, reducing the heating load.  

During the winter months the louvers are opened, to allow solar heat gain in the lecture hall, in effect giving The Forum a "warm blanket." Some radiant heat passes to the space while additional solar heat builds in the façade cavity. Thermally insulated dampers located in the outer façade remain closed to trap this heat. This has an insulating effect for the building, reducing the heating load.

 

 Double-walled Ventilated Facade Detail

The double-wall, ventilated facade is composed of two layers of 1-inch thick, clear, high-performance insulating glass, which runs from floor to ceiling. These low-emissivity coated units are separated by a 3-foot, 5-inch ventilated airspace. This space houses the 1-foot wide vertical, western red cedar louvers which are turned to either admit or block sunlight as required to modulate heat gain.

The double-wall, ventilated facade is composed of two layers of 1-inch thick, clear, high-performance insulating glass, which runs from floor to ceiling. These low-emissivity coated units are separated by a 3-foot, 5-inch ventilated airspace. This space houses the 1-foot wide vertical, western red cedar louvers which are turned to either admit or block sunlight as required to modulate heat gain.