DayCare_M


Day Center for Peoples with Limited Cognitive Development

A Climatic Oasis in the Negev’s Desert, Israel, Design Competition, 2013
Architect: Eran Kafatn, Research & EcoDesign 

 

Views

Western Axonometric View

Western Axonometric View

 

Urban Façade of the Center

Urban Façade of the Center

 

Public Courtyard

Public Courtyard

 

Interior Entrance Hall

Interior Entrance Hall

 

Room

Room

 

Transportation Entrance

Transportation Entrance

Design Concepts

Oasis

The design of the center is based on the principle of an oasis, in both climatic and sensational aspects. The oasis principle provides pleasant, lively, and colorful environment; as well as helping in branding the city of Beer Sheva as a unique desert city. In the climatic aspect, the cool and green micro-climate (in contrast to the desert surrounding) is established through high thermal mass courtyards, shaded and cooled (by shading membranes, trees and vegetation, down-draft cooling towers, water pounds and fountains, and water-walls). The courtyard design also enables protection from strong winds and containing the cooled air. In the sensational aspect, in contrast to the urban appearance, which is a little alienated, the interior design is based on smooth appearance with “organic” lines, based on the principles of the path of least resistance (slightly curved, continues, with no sharp turns; similar to paths created by water flow or skiing). In contrast, the exterior appearance of the center fits the urban environment (which has simple massing, symmetry, straight lines, and sharp corners). The contrast between the interior and the exterior urban appearance creates on the one side surprise and on the other side a calm home-like atmosphere, which is hugging, sheltering, and providing a feeling of belonging. In addition, the interior soft lines enable dynamic movement through the building, and comfortable environment for handicapped patients, such as blind or wheelchair users.

Contact with the outdoors

The private courtyards of the various rooms and their perforated walls (Mashrabiya) are designed to provide to the patients on the one hand privacy and a place to relax; and on the other hand eye contact with the exterior environment. In contrast, the shared public courtyards are designed to encourage the public to enter the center; and thus to initiate an environment which is connecting and encouraging public activities. In order to strengthen the activities, small public functions, such as café, gallery, library, and art center, were located in the entrance to the public courtyards, under down draft cooling towers. These functions invite the public to use the buildings; and provide the patients spaces for self-expression and creativity. The entrance halls are opened to the public courtyards, enabling expanding the usable and visual space, with no need to build larger halls. Modern Mashrabiya walls (made of metal strips threaded between cables) provide a partial barrier between the entrance halls and the public courtyards; thus enabling both connecting and protecting sensations. The patients’ rooms were designed for maximum privacy by locating them at a distance from the building public halls and corridors and by locating the service rooms (lavatories and storage) between them. For best personal privacy, the lavatories doors were protected by interior corridors and the lavatories ventilations were made through chimneys through the roofs (instead of windows).        

Relationship with the Urban Environment

The public courtyards, the cooling towers, and the landscape design, establish a façade to the urban environment, inviting the patients’ families and the local community to enter the public areas of the center and participate in the center activates. The public areas of the center provide the patients and the staff a place to relax; and for the patients also a place to realize their social and cultural potential (through integration with the local community). The center entrances and walkways were located to enable comfortable access to the nearby public center and residential buildings. A therapeutic pool with both interior and exterior entrances, enable further connection with the local and handicapped communities. The building appearance (in both form and materials) is based on varied desert and local historical characteristics, such as the patio houses of the old city, vaults, Mashrabiya, and the Beduine tents.          

Flexibility 

The design of the center enables four phases of constructions, according to the need for future expansions. The first phase is located at the center, enabling the public rooms (such as kitchen, office, and main entrance hall) to be located in the center even after the completion of all phases. The patients’ rooms were located in pairs, contacted with folding partitions (located between the interior spaces and between the private courtyards). Such an approach enables connecting each pair to a large multi-purpose space, when needed.  

Accessibility

The building and courtyards were designed in a single level to enable best accessibility to patients with physical limitations, such as wheelchair users, old-age, and blinds. Rooms and courtyards were connected with wide corridors, with no sharp corners, stairs, ramps, and elevators, to enable an independent movement through the center. The center level was set to enable access by foot with no ramps or stairs (located at the north part of the project). The main patients’ access to the center is through a ramp for transportation vehicles. The vehicles access and the pedestrian access are separated (on both sides of the project) to ensure best safety.

Climatic Design

The design takes advantage of the local climate (north-western winds, large daily temperature fluctuation between summers day and night, relative low humidity, relative clear sky at winter) to establish best thermal comfort and maximum energy conservation in mechanical cooling and heating and in artificial lighting. Special emphasis was given to establish micro-climate (by courtyards, shading, and cooling towers); and to provide quality daylight to the various rooms. Most of the building openings face shaded and naturally ventilated courtyards. The shading membranes are design to be removed in the winter for passive heating. The interior walls are designed to be constructed with high thermal mass materials, such as rammed earth or colored reinforced concrete. Most exterior walls are designed to include a high level of insulation. In this manner, the building provides not only insulation but also interior thermal mass to be used through summer night ventilation to cool the building envelope (thus increasing thermal comfort and reducing the cooling demand). Several down-draft cooling towers were included in the center. Air enters the towers’ upper openings and is cooled by fog systems. Then the cold air sinks, creating an air draft through openings located at the middle height of the tower, just above several public facilities (such as café, and an art center). The cooling potential of the cooling tower in hot and dry days is a reduction of the surrounding air in 10-15 degrees Celsius. Hanging plants are integrated in the modern Mashrabiyas in the central courtyards to shade the glass façades. In addition, the vegetation enables reducing glare, noise, and Carbon dioxide (Co2). Several courtyards located along the building provide natural ventilation to the entrance hall and corridors. In addition, large openings in the patient rooms (facing private courtyards) and upper windows provide natural ventilation to the rooms (providing fresh air and releasing hot air).

Daylight

A high level of natural illuminance, but with no penetration of direct sunlight (which may create glare), is provided by locating the main building openings to shaded courtyards and the uses of Mashrabiyas. In the patients’ rooms additional daylight is provided through upper windows, which have an additional exterior colored glass layer. The colored glass provides both shading (reducing overheating) and an intriguing spectrum. The dynamic nature of daylight and the colored light create over the curved ceiling fascinating patterns, which is especially important to patients’ required to lay in bed for long periods. The extensive use of daylight provides not only significant energy conservation in the use of artificial lights, but also greatly improve the well-being, mode, and health of the patients and staff.

Sustainability

The landscape design consists of desert vegetation, without green loans, including water efficient plants. Along with the oasis principle, in contrast, in the courtyards the garden includes especially “green” plants. Rain water are collected from the roofs, and stored in large underground containers, for summer irrigation. The roofs include special niches for several systems of renewable energy, such as solar panels, photovoltaic, and night sky radiate cooling). All buildings materials are environmentally friendly and most of them are either recycled or can be recycled in the future.

Design Concept: “soft-organic” interior within a sharp urban exterior

Design Concept: “soft-organic” interior within a sharp urban exterior

 

Construction Phases

Construction Phases

Drawings

Plan

Plan

 

Plan: Selected Detail

Plan: Selected Detail

 

 

Elevations: North-East (top) & South-West (Down).

Elevations: North-East (top) & South-West (Down).

 

Elevation: Selected Detail

Elevation: Selected Detail

 

Sections

Sections

 

Climatic Elements 

 

Mashrabiya made of blocks

Mashrabiya made of blocks

 

Modern Metal Mashrabiya

Modern Metal Mashrabiya

 

Glass Water-Walls

Glass Water-Walls

 

Down Draft Cooling Tower

Down Draft Cooling Tower