As the University of Minnesota expands into the residential districts of Stadium Village, the urban conditions, and use of space will undergo massive transformations. It is essential that these transformations be sustainable, and that they prioritize sustainable use. Currently at the intersection of Essex and Huron, the entry-way to campus seems to be disregarded. The bustle from I-94 permeates into the residential zone, and the place itself has little if any identifying features. By siting the Center for Healing and Wellness on this intersection, the newly developed gateway can promote green public space as well as reflect sustainable attitudes of the future for the university – to live simply, healthily, and sustainably.
On a flat site with direct southern exposure, the sun becomes the strongest influence on qualities of a space. Three zones are established based on general qualities of solar exposure, and specific treatment of the exposure through apertures and shading devices. The circulation zone is located in the center, and serves as a mixing chamber for the multi functioning building. Informal spaces for social gathering are threaded to the task spaces through the atrium, as light filters through partitions and pours from the skylight controlled by dynamic shading devices.
The final building form is a result of site influences to create a healthily, welcoming campus environment. The spaces are arranged according to intended lighting qualities. The tree zones created house gathering, circulation, and task spaces. The places of light from brilliant to diffuse can then be achieved according to the program within. The three general lighting qualities identify the zones. In the gathering spaces, direct south light is filtered, and views are provided by large boxes that reach out into the site. The circulation zone is identified by the large atrium skylight glazing. Dynamic shades control the solar gains, but the dramatic top light and borrowed light from the gathering spaces mix to create dynamic qualities where people constantly flow through the building. The tasks spaces are lit with purely indirect north light from clerestory windows. Glare is eliminated, and activities requiring extensive focus can be achieved.
The meditation room allows for ideal solar and thermal conditions to aid in the harsh seasonal climate. In the summer, the louvers block most of the sun, the shades diffuse any light, and the air is cooled from above. In the winter the direct sun is welcome, warming the thermal mass floor aided by radiant tubes. The graph represents the moments throughout the year where glare would be experienced as in the perspective. When occupants can connect with nature and the sun in a calm, focused state of meditation.
The daylight analysis reflect the intent of dynamic conditions between the three zones. However, it also indicates a finer grain of specificity in how orientation at a micro scale creates unique instances of more intense light around the periphery of the circulation and gathering zones. The envelope responds to this allowing higher levels of daylight in open public spaces, and reduces it in less public spaces like the pharmacy and the cafe prep room.