Site Location: Allegheny, PA
Designer: Javier Villarroel
Instructor: Thomas Kirchner, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C
Exhibited : 2016 Philadelphia Center for Architecture Gallery
2015-17 Philadelphia University SEE Gallery
Weaving Space is an adaptive reuse of the A. Theo Abbott textiles factory. In order to retain importance of the building’s original purpose the new manufacturing facility improves the conditions rather than replaces them and incorporates high-tech photovoltaic textiles, comprised of photosensitive fibers. The building does not only create an environment for production, but also hosts pods above the manufacturing floor dedicated to research to improve continued experimentation with the textiles and education pods to educate students and potential future workers about the sustainable factors of production as well as the growing industry. On top of the working spaces are residential apartments that accommodate 1-2 people and grant access to green roofs and a light well to be used as a large community space. To increase efficiency of the building’s electrical energy consumption, the vegetation from the light wells and green roofs utilize a system called Plant-e Technology, which generates electricity from plants photosynthetic process.
As an standard industrial building with repetitive concrete structure, we realized how simple and efficient our program could be laid out by having the grid close off and connect adjacent program, allowing for the structure to be strategically exposed and aesthetically scale the space in the opened up communal spaces. The same existing structure defines the size of the residences, open spaces, fabrication space and office spaces while they nestle along a grand public atrium. The few instances that break the grid are the luxury residential units on the east facade and the stair wells on the west facade, balancing the offset.
Conceptual Program Diagram
Private and public space determine
materiality of the facade, utilizing either triple glazed argon windows or concrete shells containing PCMs to optimize thermal comfort within
both large and small spaces
Private spaces are individually arranged like pods in order to optimize use of the existing structural grid
Excess heat that is undesired from mechanical systems as well as the underfloor air distribution system channel their way up to the skylight, dispersing the air throughout, resulting in more mixture of conditioned air
Direct sunlight entering light well permits increased surface area for Plant E Technology to take place and ultimately increases surface area with solar heat gain
Direct sunlight increases production of photosynthesis and therefore increases the rate in which electricity is generated using
Plant E Technology
Spacing of residential spaces creates a bris-soleil by restricting the sun's rays from reaching the facade in the summer, but permitting them to strike the thermal mass facade in the winter
Section perspective of building
Creating an Energy Ecosystem
The arrangement of the program and masses intends to set up an energy ecosystem, where
Roll to roll processing technique
Nano Imprint Lithography
Work stations on the first floor will be a continuing part of the textile generating tradition, with novel machines that take up a fraction of the space that would be necessary to produce textiles. Not only that, but the textile itself will have solar cells embedded, using a process called nano imprint lithography for the production of solar cells. With this technique large scale solar cell embedded textiles will be able to be produced in bulk.
Because of the existing structure's prominently concrete interior, the accompanying materials must be warm and inviting in order to create a beautifully textured and acoustically effective interior.