Original architectural values in a modern spirt,
BY: ARCH. HESHAM HELAL.
When we evaluate the general architectural output in the current era except some individual designs, whether locally or globally, we find that this outcome is considering the artistic and engineering values only, and that causes losing many expected values in the architectural design, unlike the ancient architecture designs of different civilizations, architecture was not just represent beautiful designs that can be realized visually, it was also a reflection of this civilization culture, community values and environmental interaction, this harmony in design increased the sense of the beauty of its buildings. When building users realize the surrounding nature and integrated to it, they realize elements such as trees, air and water whose beauty no one disagrees with, this perception and harmony with nature sustain our sense of the building’s beauty and effectiveness.
Architectural design beauty is not perceived by visual formation only, but it is completed through the beauty of using experience, this beauty is not complete until the design interacts with the user values, the environment and being compatible with it.
Many factors led to the lack of achieving this original values at the present, including misusing the industrial revolution and technological development, especially in the field of HVAC and artificial lighting, so, architects neglect achieving environmental compatibility and depend on consuming energy in order to achieve thermal comfort or appropriate lighting or both, which negatively affected the environment as well as the high cost during building construction or building operation. Also, the massive building materials production that exported to us may not be appropriate for the local environment, such as glass and concrete, as well as the type of building construction technology that is currently perfected. There is no real creativity to achieve environmental compatibility in building designs, as nowadays globalization is fading local cultural boundaries and blur the local identity of each environment, this is reflected in the current architectural outcome and appeared in a way that lacks identity and does not integrate with environment.
Also, the traditional solutions that inspired from any ancient architecture to achieve these environmental and social values do not suit the current era economically or the currant public taste, as well as not compatible with the current construction method. Criterial Design Group offer new innovative solutions to achieve these original values in design according to the available possibilities on the social and environmental levels. One of our basic principles during the design process for the site is the integration with nature. This integration represents an important part of achieving natural ventilation and thermal comfort in the building. It also represents one of the tools for feeling the beauty of the building and helps to achieve many social values such as privacy, communication, and separating different activities according to human and cultural aspects for each project. We are working to achieve all these original values through new and innovative solutions that depend on the available capabilities and the currently construction technology without additional cost. Also, these innovative designs and solutions ultimately led to saving a lot of construction, maintenance, and operation costs. As modern technology was used rationally, so it became an additional factor in the design process and not essential to achieving thermal comfort, these solutions are presented by using available building materials and modern designs that are compatible with public taste.
We have achieved the original values, whether social or human, or environmental in modern design process, to create compatible new design by using the same available building construction technique, innovative different elements distribution in project layout to integrate the design with nature and surrounding environment in addition to interact with sun and choose the appropriate orientation, at the end the design will include all the original values that must be achieved.
For example, during our design in Criteria Design Group for malls and commercial buildings in a hot climate environment such as Egypt, it was dealt with by opening the spaces of the project on plaza, and this plaza is directed to catch prevailing wind into the project, design compatible with the environment, which led to savings in HVAC system and the building energy consumption. Also, the design of the facades is compatible with the modern public taste, but with a rational distribution of glass interacting with the directions of the sun in a way that reduces the thermal load on the building. The glass curtain wall facade is not the only source of beauty of the design, but other modern materials can be used to provide the volume of lighting that the building needs.
A picture of a Zoom Plaza Mall – Scope Developments – commercial building in Cairo, Egypt, designed by us that achieves original values in a modern spirt and compatible with public taste.
A picture of commercial project’s plaza, clarify the visual communication in the project and integration with the surrounding environment.
Another commercial building design proposal in Fifth Settlement, Cairo, designed to achieve original values in a modern spirit.
Regarding educational buildings such as universities, we, Criteria Design Group, have designed a unique design for a Egyptian University in New Alamein where all educational spaces of the different colleges have been grouped on a large plaza that gathers all students and achieves interdependence between them and strengthens the relationship between students at different colleges and different departments, and each college in the university is open on its own plaza. All these spaces are open to a large plaza, which achieves visual and physical communication between all the spaces of the university. It also achieves natural ventilation and natural lighting for all spaces. This integration in the design achieves psychological health for students and thermal comfort for all users of the space. It also confirms the realization of the social value of interdependence and communication.