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.