Modular Sustainability


Course: UCLA A.UD Building Climatology

Term: Spring 2015

Critic: Alan Locke

Teammates: Peter Boldt, Brian Daugherty, Aaron Gutierrez, Alyssa Koehn

Located in a valley in Canyon Country, the site is bounded by the Angeles Forest Mountains to the north and south, limiting the daylight in the valley and creating strong west-to-east valley winds. High summer temperatures make shading a priority, guiding the decision to build near the existing trees on the north side of the road. To make the site more sustainable and self-sufficient, a large edible garden is planned on the south side of the road to provide food for the artists and surrounding community members.


Site Plan

The 4500 square foot project consists of six artist studios. Two studios are located within the main building which also houses the kitchen, meeting space, bathroom facilities, and two administration offices. The main structure of the building is comprised mostly of sustainable materials. The loadbearing walls are CrossLam panels, a composite building component made from recycled timber. The insulation is comprised of 75% recycled material which provides an affordable and environmentally responsible alternative to plastic and foam insulators.


Main Building


Main Building – Typical Wall Sections

Four vacant shipping containers which currently occupy the site are retrofitted to house four individual studios, reducing the need for new construction on the site. Each unit is rotated and carefully placed beneath the existing trees to take advantage of sun angles and wind direction through the site. The resulting spaces between modules create communal outdoor areas which provide a connection between modules, as well as to the main building. Ventilation needs are served by pitched roofs which encourage rising hot air to move towards the crest of the roof. There, operable windows can be used in summer months to allow the hot air to escape.


Adapted Shipping Containers

Various shading devices were utilized based on the site’s exposure to sun. South facing facades employ horizontal louvres to diffuse the light and provide shade. In the summer months, these louvers provide shading against a high, hot sun, and in the winter months, enable light to penetrate the studios before setting behind the mountains. Similarly, on the east and west facades, vertical louvres enable early morning and afternoon light to deflect into the interior, but block the hot midday sun.


Adapted Shipping Container Building Section

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s