water//shed - project for a research centre

Gillam, a small community of 1200 people, is situated at the energetic threshold between land and ocean – its physical elevation is high enough above sea level to avoid the rise and fall of the tides, but close enough to sea level as to harness the maximum amount of available energy. A series of generating stations on the Nelson River and an endless network of power lines connect the small town to a vast southern population that unknowingly depends on this humble community.

This project investigates the relationship between two steadfast forces: the force of gravity acting on water and the human driven force of energy consumption. The architectural proposition examines the complexities of a specific site that is constantly manipulated by human hands in order to meet the general needs of a distant population. The design of this research centre seeks to develop itself from pre-existing materials assembled in accordance with natural forces acting upon them.

http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_water-shed-elevation_v2.jpg
Hudson Bay watershed (Central Canada), elevation
The Canadian Shield collects rainwater and channels it towards Hudson Bay. Gillam is situated just above sea-level, the energetic maximum of the watershed.
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Limestone Dam
ManitobaHydro has constructed three major hydroelectric dams near Gillam: Kettle Rapids (1973, 1228 MW); Longspruce (1979, 1008 MW); and Limestone (1990, 1349 MW). Future developments include Waskwatim (200 MW) and Conawapa (1485 MW) generating stations.
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3300+ abandoned concrete blocks
Initially used to stabilize the shoreline during construction of the dams, these interlocking blocks are stacked on the site and cover 53 200 sf.
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concrete memories
Each block measures 10'x5'x4' and weighs about 30 000 lbs.
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_cranes_v2.jpg
blocks are moved by crane and distributed across the site
[36"x22"] drawn at 1/32" to 1' [graphite + ink on paper]
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_plan-collage_v2.jpg
plan, model-drawing hybrid
[48"x24"] drawn-built at 1/8" to 1' [ink, paper, graphite, wood, plaster]
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_dsc0060_v2.jpg
water//shed model
[48"x24"x8"] built at 1/8" to 1' [basswood, plaster, aluminum, concrete, sand, paper]
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_elevation-rendering_v2.jpg
south elevation
[34"x12"] drawn at 1/16" to 1' [graphite, paper]
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_spacewater_v2.jpg
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_blocks-and-river_v2.jpg
river acting on blocks
[36"x22"] drawn at 1/64" to 1' [graphite, ink, paper]
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_dsc0030_v2.jpg
water//circulation
Roof planes collect water from extremities, directing it towards the cistern.
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_dsc0085_v2.jpg
water//circulation
Converging streams of water [black] pierce the roof plane and enter the research centre.
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_dsc0019_v2.jpg
water//circulation
A fresh water conduit from the Nelson River.
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water//circulation
The conduit carves a long, linear void through the stack of blocks. People and water enter the building simultaneously.
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_construction_v2.jpg
water//circulation
construction of cistern
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_concrete-flow2.jpg
water//circulation
cistern, holding tanks, testing beds and overflow outlet
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_dsc01121_v2.jpg
water//circulation
The cistern, viewed from office platforms. Water entering from the roof spills into cistern.
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daylighting
The roof line admits and reflects daylight into the offices, where most of the work is done using computer models.
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http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_plan-and-elevation-office-rendered_v2.jpg
office plan and section
[12"x18"] drawn at 1/8" to 1' [graphite, canary paper, vellum]
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_sdc13710_v2.jpg
calculating sun angles
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daylighting
Light is reflected into the transition area between laboratory and office spaces.
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_dsc00811_v2.jpg
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_spacesolar_v2.jpg
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_solar-calculations_v2.jpg
analyzing solar potential of concrete blocks
[22"x18"] drawn at various scales [graphite, vellum]
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_dsc00212_v2.jpg
linear solar collector
Concrete blocks are arranged in the laboratory space to maximize their available thermal mass. This energy is used to radiantly heat the laboratory and office spaces.
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_workroom-section-and-plan_v2.jpg
Laboratory plan and section
[12"x18"] drawn at 1/8" to 1' [graphite, canary paper, vellum]
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_heating_v2.jpg
modular floor platforms
[22"x18"] drawn at 1" to 1 and 1/32" to 1' [graphite, pencil crayon, vellum]
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_dsc00901a.jpg
modular floor platforms
The office space is composed of modular platforms that are mounted directly to the concrete blocks. Each platform has a self-contained, underfloor radiant heating system that connects with other platforms, permitting a flexible office arrangment.
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_spacefoundation_v2.jpg
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_south-elevation1_v2.jpg
assessing angular loads
[22"x18"] drawn at 1/8" to 1' [graphite, vellum]
http://www.stephenfaust.ca/files/gimgs/4_dsc0100_v2.jpg
applying angular loads to foundation