Another Design Experiment . February 12, 2016

Research Collaborations With The Kansas Project

This week we took steps to finalize exciting collaboration plans with two different university research teams on The Kansas Project. With Kansas State University we will be working to incorporate Barber County’s first mesonet station on site and into the The Kansas Project; and with The University of Western Ontario, researchers from the WindEEE Research Institute will be kicking off Phase I of detailed site-specific environmental analysis on Tuesday!

Mesonet at The Kansas Project: A collaboration with Kansas State University

Mesonet is a state-wide network of weather monitoring stations that transmit real-time environmental readings back to the university’s Weather Data Library. An instrumental tower measures and probes all kinds of environmental data points, for example, barometric pressure or soil moisture content, then rapidly verifies and makes the data publicly accessible at the KSU Kansas Mesonet website.

Mesonet paints meteorologists and scientists a picture of the current state of the regional environment. This information is useful in everyday decision making and forecasting, but can be crucial in the hours leading up to a major severe weather event.

Kansas Mesonet Tower 2

In the coming weeks, we’ll be working with KSU’s Weather Data Library and Mesonet Manager to select a specific location for the station at The Kansas Project site.

WindEEE research commences this week: A collaboration with The University of Western Ontario

Following is an outline of how we will move through our collaboration with the team at the WindEEE Research Institute:

  • PHASE I: The team at WindEEE will be spending the next six weeks conducting detailed weather-centric research specific to The Kansas Project site. This will yield some of the most thorough and precise environmental site analysis that an architect could ever hope to work with.
  • PHASE II: We at Another Design Experiment will be using the analysis gleaned from Phase I to work on and inform our design. We will produce a schematic set which will be used to create a physical model of the building(s). Working with the WindEEE team in their wind simulator, we will explore that building’s performance under different wind conditions and stresses, manipulating it as we go. This will be an iterative design process that will literally reshape the spaces and forms of the building.
  • PHASE III: We will revise our schematic design based on the explorations and findings of Phase II. We will produce a new schematic set that will again be used to create a physical model of the building(s). We will work with the WindEEE team in their simulator to validate and test our design assumptions, and these will be used to tweak the design for completion. Then, we will commence production of a full drawing set for construction!

To give you an idea of what’s coming our way, here’s an outline of some of the data points around which Phase I will focus:

Research on the site’s atmospheric boundary layer winds will include:

  • Mean monthly and annual wind speeds
  • Wind speed distribution
  • Wind direction distribution, i.e. wind roses on annual and seasonal bases
  • Daily wind variability
  • Vertical wind profile; annual, seasonal and daily variation
  • Long-term wind speed trends
  • Extreme winds and risk analysis

Research on tornadic winds in the region of the site will include:

  • Number of tornadoes in the vicinity of the project site per month and per annum
  • Distribution of tornados by intensity and their occurrence
  • Prevailing direction of tornados’ tracks
  • Number of fatalities and injuries caused by tornadoes which occurred in a vicinity of the project site
  • Long-term trends in tornado occurrence

Research of the site’s solar climatology will include:

  • Mean monthly and annual temperatures
  • Wet bulb temperature and humidity
  • Diurnal variability of temperature and humidity
  • Vertical profile of temperature and humidity per month
  • Heat waves and heat index
  • Estimation of cooling and heating degree days
  • Solar altitude and azimuth angle
  • Sun path and visualization
  • Solar radiation during equinoxes and solstices
  • Direct and diffuse radiation and albedo
  • Cloud atlas of the site
  • Precipitation (type, distributions and frequency)

Of course, all of this exciting ground work has been undertaken as we’ve continued to push the design charette forward, so stay tuned for our latest iteration in next week’s update!


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