Adaptability, Flexibility, Comfort and Sustainability
In the past years, the UAE has been a home to hundreds of different nationalities, it has been a place where people can easily 'adapt' to with a 'flexible' lifestyle, and full time 'comfort'. Desert Phoenix is the architectural module of these three concepts blended together creating a residential unit that responds to various different lifestyles.
The contemporary design focuses on two main things, the user and the environment. The user get to experience the adaptability, flexibility and the comfort of the space through various ways.
First, the flexible furnishing system respects the users' daily routine, where it accommodates a family's daily functions from the AM to the PM through easily changeable furnishing. It helps in having several functions in a low foot-print unit.
Second, the parametric mashrabia design provides the optimum daylight according to the lighting requirement for each area to make it a comfortable space for the users. Last, the unit respects the privacy of its users through creating small openings in the parametric mashrabia, so that the users can enjoy their privacy, yet, are still connected to the outside. The transition space at the entrance also act as a private outdoor space where the users can enjoy fresh air yet still control their privacy level through the rotating flexible panels.
Sustainability was integrated in the design from the very beginning to be able to create form that responds to the environment as much as the users.The unit is completely solar powered through the solar panels on the tilted roof, where it has a 22 degrees tilt for the optimum use of the panels.
he parametric mashrabia design also contributes in the sustainable aspect of the unit, where the size of openings are calculated carefully for proper natural ventilation to minimize the use of mechanical ventilation as much as possible.
Privacy, Solar & Functional Flexibility An integral element of the project’s main concept is that of flexibility. Heavily integrated in the villa’s design, the idea of flexibility is presentin various formsas seen in the quality of spaces, light, and privacy. To illustrate, the villa responds to the important privacy requirements by designing a transformable intermediate space at the entrance. The design features movable panels that allow for the space to transform according to the user’s functional, solar, and privacy requirements.
Drawing inspiration from traditional housing, the rotating panels act as screens that allow for the flexible entrance patio to be completely open and inversely completely closed and private according to user’s needs. The final perforated panel design iteration optimizes daylight quality, thermal comfort, and mobility. Resembling traditional Mashrabiya patterns, the panels’ design provides shade as their patterns cast shadows that change according to the time of day. The final panel proposal becomes a unified and flexible design solution that addresses both sustainability and aesthetics.
Additionally, the villa design features flexible furniture elements in the living room and main bedroom space. The built-in flexible design utilizes multi- functional furniture pieces as a strategy to create transformable and optimized spaces.
Last, the villa design features parametrically generated and modified openings as an optimized solution to solar radiation and daylight requirements. The parametric design strategy presents a solution that varies opening size and density according the unique daylight, privacy, and thermal requirements of each space. The openings are also designed to self-shade with the potential of further flexibility and customization of operable shading elements.
Intelligent, multifunctional and space optimizing furniture
A core concept that was taken into consideration during the design stage is the use of an array of space saving furniture. Starting from expandable tables and transforming dining room tables to coffee tables and wall beds. Intelligent space saving furniture is laid out to ensure that the house is spacious yet with a minimal footprint.
The main strategies used are:
1-Using multifunctional furniture that would be able to perform multiple tasks.
2-Integrating furniture with a reduced size to avoid a larger need of space. Instead of having multiple rooms with different functions the family will now be provided with a room that includes various purposes. This would give them the flexibility to match the required needs of space/activities ranging between day and night. Retractable, foldable and multi-functioning furnishings and storage cabinets are the key solution.
Cross and stack ventilation
Ventilation is a huge part of the villa’s concept. It is very important to control indoor air quality by creating openings throughout the villa which will enhance natural ventilation. To have a cool and comfortable atmosphere, the villa required minimum ventilation of 60CFM, therefore, the air movement and type of ventilation were deeply studied to be integrated as part of the design. An integration of two forms of ventilation: cross-ventilation and stack ventilation was needed to reach the required outcome. Cross ventilation, also known as Wind Effect Ventilation, is a natural method of cooling, which relies on wind to force cool exterior air into the building through an inlet (a window in our case) and assist the hot air out. Wind Effect Ventilation controls the air quality inside of a building environmentally and cost- effectively. This type of ventilation was created in our villa by having two openings on opposite walls. As for the stack effect, it refers to passive air movement throughout a building due to variances in vertical pressure initiated by thermal buoyancy. There must be a difference between the outdoor and indoor air temperature for it to work.
Furthermore, this type of ventilation needs openings in a building’s structural envelope that are sufficiently lofty to permit the warm air to escape. Then, if the air within a building grows warmer than the temperature of the surrounding outdoor air, the warmer and lower-density air will rise. Controlled stack ventilation can permit passive cooling in hot summer weather while offering low maintenance and cost- efficiency due to low operating expenses, very low energy costs (or none), and low construction expenses for new buildings. In our villa, the stack effect is created by having windows between the slanted roofs for the warm air to escape.
It is very crucial to study the required ventilation in a villa and understanding the different types of acquiring the goal.
Roof, Solar panels, and Energy Consumption
One of the key parts of this project and its concept is the roof of this villa. A space designed for the solar panels with the specific angle needed for the best possible performance for solar panels.
The solar panels are installed on each of the tilted roofs, utilizing the most space possible. The three parts of the titled roof count to 36 solar panels in total with a 22-degree title which is the best angle to optimize the performance of theses panels. The panels have been calculated based on the annual consumption with the basic needs of any villa to function. Later on, Solar Calculator by the DEWA website has aided us to find the perfect amount and brand for our villa. The Solar panels produce around 28,000 kWh Annually which is a perfect fit to our villa consumption.
In addition, the cell type used for this villa is N-Type-IBC with a maximum power of 400W and an efficiency that’s 22.6% which accounts as one of the highest rates for solar panels.