Concrete practice of environmental and healthy architecture

The “science” of architecture (physical factors / healthy architecture)

What conditions does a good house have to meet? Safe structure, sound disaster prevention system, etc. In terms of the scope of environmental control, a good residential building should be able to effectively control the adverse impacts or burdens of physical factors, i.e. “sound, light, heat, air, water”, on man or the environment. In brief, it must conform to the core measures of “green architecture” and “healthy architecture”.

1. Green architecture

Professor Xian-Zhong Lin, Ph. D., Department of Architecture, National Cheng Kung University

The average service life of residences in Taiwan is less than 40 years, which is not even half of England’s 140 years and America’s 103 years. The life cycle of buildings in Europe and America is usually longer than the lifespan of a man. In fact, many European countries consider land and above-ground objects as one. For example, the German Civil Code explicitly states: buildings are essential components of land. Houses should not be consumables; they are not just investment materials but important elements of the environment, and ecology is exactly the basic science of environmental science. The nine indicators of green building: greenery of the site, water content of the site, biodiversity, daily energy conservation, CO2 emission reduction, water conservation, construction waste reduction, sewage and waste disposal facility improvement, and indoor environment; the purpose is to restore the living state of life forms in the environment, restore the water cycle, and reduce the consumption of energy and resources.

2.Healthy construction

Healthy construction is preventive medicine; Professor Zhe-Ming Jiang, Ph. D., Department of Architecture, National Cheng Kung University

Though most people in Taiwan spend 90% of time every day moving about in various types of buildings, they don’t know that there is a very close relation between architectural environment and human health. After the 1970s, the “sick building syndrome (SBS)” that spread among countries worldwide from European and American nations was caused by poor indoor air quality in buildings with glass curtain walls. Employees working in this kind of buildings would have a series of symptoms, such as dry throat, eye and nose allergies, headache, fatigue, cough, itchy skin, etc., but the symptoms would reduce or disappear once they get off work, especially during weekends or holidays. Viewing from the angle of “health”, many construction materials and furniture would add various kinds of chemical substances during decorating or production to satisfy certain needs, such as hardening, bonding or preservation, and these substances would be released into air with time and temperature changes. After finding that asbestos can cause lung cancer, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also declared the formaldehyde that often remains in construction materials, e.g. plywood, carpet, etc., can induce cancer when its content in air reaches a certain concentration. The most effective method for eliminating all kinds of “toxic” gas is “ventilation”.

The three major points of study on “healthy architecture”:

  1. The physical properties of buildings are the influences brought by climate; how does a building adapt to local conditions through designs of ventilation, day lighting, sun shading, energy saving, etc.
  2. The chemical property is to avoid indoor construction materials and furniture from spreading hazardous compounds.
  3. The biological property is the biological pollution in indoor environment, e.g. mold, avian influenza, SARS virus, etc. Adjustments in living habits can also bring different living styles. For instance, open the windows facing north or south more often to gradually improve the habit of relying on air conditioning; before leaving for work, open the curtains to let the warm sun sterilize the interior, and open the windows for air to flow…

Applied science and technology

Under the commercial logic of technology leadership, green architecture is rejected by the field of construction due to cost increment on the one hand, and promoted as the savior of technology by business and industry on the other. Viewing from the nine indicators, green architecture is absolutely not expensive construction. Designing buildings from new perspectives may temporarily require a little more money, but it can reduce greatly endless disasters, diseases, energy and resource consumption, and vicious climate changes in the future; our cities can be beautified, and the service life of houses can be extended. Starting from designing, conditions of site location and position, climate features of the environment and various aspects are considered for harmony of architecture and nature. In addition, design methods for appropriate window openings are used to introduce large amounts of health factors from nature. Under the premises of not having blind faith in equipment and not using new technology to show off, we carry out the thinking of green architecture, and practice the idea of co-existence with the environment and harmony with nature.

Ming Sen Architects’ concrete practice of the “skill” of architecture (construction / structural safety)

We adopt complete proprietor, design, construction, sale… full guarantee, full responsibility, strong construction, and establish project resume.

The “skill” of architecture (construction / structural safety)

Centennial structure / Build safe and relieving immortal architecture

Disaster prevention systems – earthquake resistance, fireproof, waterproof, anti-theft

Taking “The White” as an example

Earthquakes cause damages in buildings; excessive aspect ratio and weak layer usually cause the beam-columns of lower levels to break and fall, leading to the fact that casualty issues are all caused by the collapse of buildings. How can it be avoided?

  1. Diaphragm wall method is not adopted for potential areas of soil liquefaction; downtown Kaohsiung is mostly comprised of potential liquefaction areas and methods, such as diaphragm walls, can be adopted to prevent buildings from collapsing; in addition, diaphragm walls reach deep into the ground to the hard horizon, which reduces the force of earthquake on buildings (giving rise to shock absorption effects) in liquefaction areas.
  2. Taiwan is in a seismic zone; the structures adopted are mainly frame-type strong columns and weak beams, and the structural system uses ductile designs for the structural stress to be distributed evenly and absorb earthquake force.
  3. Ming Sen Architects insists 100% on making sure that “beam sleeves” are not located at the two folds depth of a beam (where structural stress is concentrated); most construction companies are still not placing beam sleeves in the correct positions Note 1, which would cause breakage in the cross sectional area of beam structures. Even the through-beam actions of the general public after completion could cause reinforcing steel to break and damage the structure Note 2.
  4. The White’s solution for irregular planes: 1. Avoid the short beam effect at the area where structural stress is concentrated; 2. Strengthen rigidity of beams and column at turning points of planes, strengthen the reinforcing steel from the basement to second floor, carry out tight stirrup at joints of beams and columns, and avoid weak layers of structure. 

    Note 1: Before completion of structure, the through-beam of sleeves must conform to relevant regulations and cannot be carried out at two folds depth of the beam, any violation is a violation of established rules of construction. (Most construction companies have not carried out this rule)

    Note 2: After completion of structure, if people conduct through-beam at will and break the main rebar, it would severely reduce and damage the effective section of beam-column structure.