This semester in studio, I have been designing a rehabilitation center for veterans along the Highline in New York City. The rehabilitation center offers apartments for veterans and their families to stay in while receiving both psychological and physical rehabilitation. During their stay, they will go through a process of healing and will want access to light and airy spaces when they are unable to go outside. I have created these spaces through the interconnections with the surrounding environment, including the Hudson River and the Highline.
The wind that crosses through the site comes primarily from the west off of the river. With an average speed of 6 mph, the winds provide a steady stream of cool air especially during the spring and summer. Throughout the building there are ribbon windows with louvered panels, which catch the wind and bring it into both the common areas and the rehabilitation spaces.
Light is also a very important component of my building. Most of the building’s exterior walls utilize a double-skin system. In this system, window walls are covered with sheets of perforated stainless-steel. These sheets still allow daylight to come through the windows and fill up the space, but prevent the sun’s heat from entering the building. It also has an “umbrella” effect during the winter, preventing heat from escaping the building.
One space I focused on in my building was the gym. It needs to have as much natural light as possible during the day. During the summer, the sun enters the space at a maximum angle of 75 degrees. During the winter, the sun enters the space at a minimum angle of 25 degrees. The double skin wall prevents this space from becoming too warm, but it still allows the residents of the building to have unobstructed views out to the Hudson River and the Highline.