It is not often that we find the essence and bearing of traditional or even vernacular designs, when it comes to modernistic iterations of eco architecture. Well, in this regard, Michael Jantzen’s latest conception ‘Solar Winds Cultural Arts Center’ has something special in store for us architectural aficionados. Adroitly bearing a strong resemblance to a group of ‘teepee‘ conical tents of Native Americans, this ambitious project involves a massive solar and wind powered structure dedicated to a wide variety of cultural arts activities.
At the first instance, it may seem that we are looking at separate buildings. But, on closer inspection, we can perceive that the conspicuously conical structures are connected at their bases, to form a singularly large complex. And, it is this expansiveness of the whole scope that acts a spatially evolved continuum for the various displays of cultural art, along with bolstering improved capacity for a multitude of visitors.
However, beyond grandiose psychological effects, the volumetric connection does allude to few structural based practicalities. Firstly, the spatial connections accentuate upon accessibility, and thus overall user circulation. More importantly, the simplistic, harmonious distribution of the volumes insinuates a modular ambit, in which further similar structural additions can be made in the future.
Now, we are certainly enticed by the flexibility of such innovative design considerations. However, on more collective amplitude, it is the ardently ‘green’ credentials that could really make an impact on our future. In relation to this, the whole gigantic complex will act as a powerhouse for clean energy generation. For example, each of the seven conical towers is to be fitted with a large vertical axis wind turbine, aptly shaped in the form of a conical apex. Moreover, the south facing four conical towers are to be embedded with large, integrated photovoltaic solar cell arrays. These arrays in turn are to be functionally complimented by advanced solar heat extraction systems.
The designer has envisaged this comprehensive ‘green’ energy system to provide complete power to the whole cultural building. In fact, given the massive scope of this indigenous energy generating mechanism, the surplus power can be transferred back to the main electrical grid, thus helping surrounding neighborhoods.
But, it is not only the usage of renewable power systems that makes an architectural project successful. Keeping the virtue of practicality in mind, the designer has also conceived an energy efficient internal spatial organization. This encompasses the cyclic mechanism of natural ventilation, through which fresh air is absorbed in and stale air is projected out through the high vents. Furthermore, the conically shaped perforated segments at the top can also act as skylights for induction of natural sunlight.
So, at the end of the day, the Solar Winds Cultural Arts Center epitomizes the spatial as well as technological fusion of sustainable attributes and an expansive public structure. And, all of these are presented through an interesting yet efficient vernacular aesthetics.
Thanks: [Michael Jantzen]