Densely populated region like Hong Kong easily gets you feel a need of fresh air, even if you find yourself surrounded by trees on the street. It’s because highly dense buildings are always every- where in busy districts. In that respect, it is a very common question to ask if we, as architects, can mitigate this sense of discomfort. Its solution may not be obvious, but we would like to make an emphasis on this matter through this competition project for Hong Kong Science and History Muse- um. Hence, we begin to design with suggesting how about employing plant-based façade design to create human and environment friendly museum complex.
The current environment along with the existing museum building, when you visit the site, is where you can experience the mentioned discomfort due to various reasons. One of them can be its lack of common space as a central square. Approaches through the viaducts block views toward the museum complex and direct people into confusion to spot the main entrance. In order to find en- trances, you shall well observe through way-finding signages. The other one can be various types of surrounding trees which seem random, and in result they become a source of unbalance and disharmony with the exiting museum complex. And the last is that we assume its colors variances of the existing buildings would cause to alienate museum buildings from the surrounding nature.
To counter these concerns, we employ façade system out of climbing plants and polycarbonate panels. Climbing plants will be easily well harmonized with existing vegetation around the site to create monolithic color tone and mood to offer comfort and relaxation not only through the color of nature, but also oxygenated fresh air. Plus, the surface through façade plants will minimize urban heat impact generated from the reflection of building surfaces. Besides, the use of polycarbonate panels, we anticipate, will create a soft and comfortable atmosphere with the color it creates. Its translucency in materiality will offer dynamic visual awareness toward museum buildings by out- siders, and the interior space will be brightened through diffused daylight which will help reduce electricity usage during the daytime.
FACADE BY POLY CARBONATE PANELS
We used polycarbonate panels to replace existing non-structural facade wall. Its light weight and economical material cost are additional advantages on top of its functional efficiencies; such as diffusing the direct sunlight reducing heat gain, offering bright interior space to reduce daylight electrical power usage, and aesthetically creating subtle, calm, and yet dynamic environment by its translucency, and much more as followings;
- The paned offers superb insulation to prevent the unfavorable results of the extremely intense weather. This is also an excellent crash absorber that can even endure quite a bit of hail.
- It keeps the building cool during summer and warm during winter.
- When 16mm triple wall Polycarbonate is used its U-value is as low as 0.40.
- Triple-wall Polycarbonate is long-lasting and generally impact resistant. They reduce light transmission by roughly 20-30%.
- The enhanced insulation can end in long-term savings on winter heating expenses.
- It is lightweight and easy to install.
CLIMBING PLANTS & INSTALLATION SYSTEM
Hong Kong, being located along the northern fringe of the Tropics and bordered on to the Pacific Ocean, experiences seasonal variations in weather conditions which furnishes surprisingly diverse and numerous climbing plants. Climbers, as different from trees, do not have a prominent trunk and canopy which they become good material for our design idea. Hence, we extensively incorporate those plants through installation of planting box by insertion to express the new facade design to be human and environment friendly architecture.