Indigenous design integrated design across multiple disciplines for sustainable holistic ecological human well-being.
Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue mayor Bill Tierney made an inquiry among citizens about what to do with the old Water Tower a cement cylinder 36.58 Metres (120 feet) tall and 12.04 Metres (39.5 feet) in diameter which was retired in the 1970s.  Eventually the Sustainable Development Association  became involved and with partial support of SEED research funding from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation CMHC, Marcus Macdonald (Architecture) and Douglas Jack (Funding and Design) developed a feasibility study for converting the building to a community of multi-home cohousing.  Dag Radicevic an engineer gave an estimation of the structure's worthiness considering its bedrock foundation.  Marcus conceived the architecture with support by Douglas to convert the the original cylinder to an oblate sphere with wrap-around porches on 12 floors, a green roof with auditorium, passive solar design as a slightly inverted cone with step up floor design.
We consider human interaction within the cohousing structure as important as the converted building structure, so the report models an economy of human interaction across a lifetime.  Modular interchangeable functional design with lightweight fire-resistant cement panels of both the exterior structure and interior dwelling panel walls anticipates change across human lifetimes.  Age appropropriate design, spatial needs.and priorities as well as common area facilities such as a community kitchen and a host of resident interactions are facilitated through a web-based Catalogue of Human Resources and a Community Investment and Exchange System.
Total interactive elemental Sun/energy, Water, Air/wind, Soil/compost, Life/plants and ecological designs complements design for:
1. Rain and Snow collection and plant filtration of collected waters on the oversized Green Roof with auditorium. Estimate of one metre per year of precipitation is adequate for most building domestic needs.  Precipitation water is soft (low-mineralisation) held in cisterns just below roof for gravity fed uses throughout the building filtered through carbon-filters for drinking and washing needs.  Soft water needs less soap and special bio-degradable soaps are compatible with plants and other secondary or tertiary uses within the building.  Specially formulated soaps act as fertilizers for plants.
2. Recycling of grey water through plant systems for multiple secondary and tertiary reuse.
3. Green plant and bush filled south, east and west wrap-around porch absorbs surplus solar energy and humidifies and purifies air within building.
4. Vines and Ivy along north, west and east walls cleans air and quiets sounds.
5. Green Plant led Bio-digestion (Sun, Mutliple-kingdom; plants, vermi-composting, crawling insects, bacteria, molds etc) of fecal materials coming from urine-fecal separating toilets.  Bidet water cleaning toilets use and process minimal water through plant system and eliminate or reduce embodied water for toilet paper.  Harvested reed (eg. Papyrus) and leaf material from solarium (plant filled chambre) provide paper-making material and mulch for other plants.
6. Solar photovoltaic panels are mounted on protected verticle southern exterior wall spaces such as on the waist high 76.2 cm (30 inch) space below the passive solar windows or on spaces beside.
7. Building Mounted linear-axis (long and narrow) helical wind turbines capturing the concentrated wind on building shear surfaces mounted on the north and south sides as well as the roof.  Buildings concentrate wind by a factor of 15 meaning that even relatively calm (2 - 10 km/hr) winds can be harvested for electrical energy and water pumping needs.  The wind-turbines calm air on the ground and recreation space on the roof.
8. Solar Hot Water Heaters are building mounted in protected verticle unused exterior wall spaces below and between windows for hot-water needs and stored in insulated water tanks on each floor.
9. Relational Economy within building and surrounding community provides employment with minimal transportation.  Eg. Community Kitchen / Restaurant on tenth floor beside pool (part of old water tank) sends one truck out to purchase for the building's 100 residents instead of 35 cars.  Bulk buying saves 100,000$ / year off of a total bill of 300,000$ / year.  Service provision within building and enhanced in community allows for most residents to live without cars.  Bicycle garages with Ergonomic bicycle design allows residents to reach most destinations summer and winter.  Train Station (100 metre, 5 minute walk) and STM bus routes (5 minute walk), Car Sharing (eg. Commune-Auto) allows for minimal car parking and ecological footprint.
10. Electricity generated by the Building Mounted Wind Generators and Solar Photovoltaic panels is fed into the Hydro based community grid system acting as a steady-state, storage process (instead of batteries) and income generator for the buildings residents during four seasons.

Question and Comments

Douglas Jack,
Jun 7, 2010, 2:12 PM