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Station Y

by Ruth Oh — Alternate to Winner

RenderingSite Plan and StrategiesFloor Plans and ConceptSection and Sustainable Strategies


Description
The design philosophy is to derive an architecture shaped by its context, function, and experience of its users. The driving forces for design were to create a harmonious relationship between nature and people, as well as nature and structure. Simplicity of traditional and “low-tech” sustainable strategies aid to achieve comfort and safety in this remote site and weather condition.

The site was chosen to maximize southern exposure to the building’s longest façade. Avoiding the avalanche zone and proximity to existing road and hiking trail were other factors. The scenic view to the ski resort is opened up on the south façade. The building is inspired by the rocks that jut out vertically and horizontally in the mountain valleys. The stilt structure with pile foundations lift up the building, allowing the natural flow of water to continue down the sloping site.

The parti consists of three 30 foot wide rectangular volumes, each containing a major function – 1. avalanche control, 2. ski patrol offices, and 3. emergency services. The plan takes on a pinwheel form with a centralized organization with the building’s core where these three programs intersect. The core is structurally and functionally the organizing center of this radial scheme. This is where the interactive activities are heightened. The kitchen, lunch area, staff lounge, and vertical circulation which takes one up to the roof terrace and down to the emergency service levels are located here. It is also literally the warm zone where fire places are provided on all three levels. This is a great traditional method of heating and could become useful in the event of power loss. Vehicle storage and helipad are located on higher elevation level to avoid stilt structure and close proximity to existing road. And the helipad connects directly to emergency services by an entrance remote from the main entry.

The building’s sustainable strategies do not rely on highly mechanical systems. Simple, basic, and traditional solutions are utilized. Ventilation is increased by narrow building volumes and operable windows. Water conservation is encouraged by graywater irrigation and plumbing systems. Heat use is mitigated by using a low pitched roof designed to accommodate snow accumulation which acts as a “thermal blanket.” Daylighting is better with narrow width of building volumes in the south-north direction. Furthermore, materials used for the building are local, modular by design, and sustainable. They are zinc metal roofing, regionally harvested timber for interior and exterior finishes, and steel and concrete for structure. With extremely cold weathers, insulating glass is used at operable window locations.

Sustainable design connects man with nature not necessarily by utilizing high-tech green technologies, but with simple architectural gestures and ecological awareness. Station-Y takes on its name from its recognizable shape from above, but its shape was derived by context, function, and experience. User experience is enhanced by comfortable and enlightening spaces like the viewing roof terrace with a cozy fire place and the “breeze” viewing area overlooking the mountains. Interaction is encouraged in interior spaces and practical solutions are provided where needed. Station Y is both a working environment and mountain refuge nestled comfortably in nature.


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