Dylan Meaghan
Liverpool John Moores University, Faculty of Media, Arts and Social Science Liverpool
United Kingdom

Project idea

Situated on the Wirral peninsula, the deflated maritime economy of Birkenhead has experienced widespread dilapidation under managed decline. The proposed Solution to the Hamilton dilemma is rooted in the psychology of place and validified with Pre-existing local infrastructure and skill.

The metaphysical implications of altering the typological fabric of an established setting must be carefully analysed before the design; especially if the site sits within a conservation area such as Hamilton Square.

Studies From Bartlet show that an Abstraction of a familiar shape can return to its original unabstracted form through the shared mental conscious of a group’s evaluation. With this idea
considered the design must not disrupt the cognitive map or schemata of the local community but instead extend what is already there with slight alterations of the familiar architectural typology.

Facing into the square , The duality of the maritime backbone against the aspirative civic architecture of Hamilton square has manifested through postmodern twists on the pastiche. Looking The irregular contrapuntal rhythm of the placed windows give a glimpse into the modular Prefab innards which are built from reclaimed ships, making this an economically viable solution to building in Birkenhead

The kit of parts approach to pod building allows for the architecture to metabolically change in accordance with needs of the Birkenhead school of art , this idea of growth can be metaphorically found through the detailing of the building.

This approach to design can be adapted from city to city to utilise the infrastructure and skill of local populations to the double the effect of the architecture via the imitation of typology and economic symbology.

Project description

The building strives to find an aesthetic economical solution to building in deprived areas. The project utilises the local material and skill to arrive at a modular pre fabricated structure. The historic yet modernised façade respects the cultural landscape ahead of it however conceals a vibrant and colourful structural technology within

Technical information

“Neo-Nautical” expresses through form and material the essence of prefabricated design. The Georgian facade is built with Precast concrete with store ton stone facings (local sandstone). The concrete is mixed with reclaimed store ton stone and local aggregates to give exposed areas a tonality that aligns with local materiality. The modular pod structure is made from reclaimed steel that is processed at camel lairds shipping yard using local infrastructure and local expertise. The Prefab system for the building structure means that savings on material, fuel for Plant and energy for construction mean that more money can be used for building in the future. If you refer to the site map on the top of the page, you can see that the transportation distance is approximately 1 mile or 3 minutes to site which means that streamlining of the operation is of great proportions bringing emissions and price right down. The Fact that the pods are built in this proximity means that connection between the locals and the site is heightened which increases the chance the building will become beloved and therefor more chance that the building will stand the test of time. Modular construction is faster, safer smarter, and has higher quality overall with reduced waste being at the heart of the decision to use this approach in the financial state of Birkenhead. The reduced levels of embodied carbon mean that this build can meet RIBAS 2030 climate challenge standards.

This approach incorporates the local community by adding an extra revenue stream to the struggling economy of Birkenhead. The pods can be sold across the world having direct shipping access docking storage and manpower to carry out the job. The nature of the concrete facade means that the system can be a permanent feature of Birkenhead for many years meaning that longevity can be achieved from a cultural perspective because continuity of areas character can be maintained freeing the innards of the building to be maintained and if not the foundations are strong enough for future developments to use.

The metabolic design means that when the school is in its early years it doesn’t have to have more space than it needs and can add levels and rooms in accordance with demand. The roof Lights are also modularised and have been fitted with manoeuvrable louvres to allow for optimal lighting for the occupants. The Roof lights are reversable and can be switched 180 degrees with the use of permanent cranes. With natural light being is the best for student performance and mental health natural light needs to priority. This action can be done to further lighting optimisation but was intended to be used primarily at the equinoxes to maximise the lighting that can infiltrate the building. The savings this could have on artificial lighting will be substantial to help fund the expanding of the building. The building is north facing which means diffuse light can be used to give optimal lighting levels throughout the year. the Zenith is measured at 59 degrees in summer and 37 at the equinoxes while the winter nadir is 16 degrees meaning at this time of year it will be appropriate to switch the roof lighting to south.

The Gutters founds on the top of the building have vertical drainage that can carry water to an underground water tank The storage tank holds 15000litres .(749m2x900x0.5xo.9=303,345 x0.05 =15000 litres) for grey water usage.
The building water source will be tapped into the main water supply of Birkenhead and electricity will be connected to main power supply

Ground source heat pump is used to save costs in the winter as a passive way to heat the building amenities and underfloor heating. The concrete slab boxed basement is lined with underfloor heating under a screed on both basement level and ground. This Heating system will create heat currents that travel through the building in a convection current circulating around the atrium that acts as a warm centre that is then kept warm because of the passive Haus seal that is insulated round the perimeter of the building. A Mechanical ventilation heat recovery system will harness the excess heat that comes from the extraction fans that are used in the computer rooms and toxic ventilation room. this system will reduce energy demand for the mechanical ventilation. The front facades act
as a double skin facade which will trap solar energy in the winter via sealing of the openings and the summer cool wind currents are allowed in colling the preliminary space in between the facades to avoid overheating also acting as a shaded winter garden offering respite from the harsh summer heat. The louvres also can used to protect against solar radiation while still allowing for heat and air to pass through. Portions of the pod windows will be openable, but the majority will be double glazed and filled with argon gas as it does not conduct heat as well as air so its an excellent insulator. I have selected polyurethane to insulation as it can be sprayed against the curved elements of the pods, acts a barrier against moisture air and mould as well as having a 3.6 R value per inch.

The pods exterior is made from steel but to protect it from weathering we will coat them in powder and paint to make it harder for water and air to reach the structure. this will require maintenance every 10 years.The connections between pods are sealed with SMP forming a waterproof bond. This waterproofing can remain flexible and paintable which is important to the design.

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