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Energy & Architecture

Part 2 Project 2008
James Silvester
Newcastle University Newcastle-Upon-Tyne UK
Progression and Resonance - A solar thermal power station for Gibraltar

My aim in this project is to design with honesty and beauty, creating simple forms and allowing nature to produce elegance and excitement.

Globally, total energy demand is set to increase by 62% by the year 2030 as rapid economic growth continues to expand urban boundaries around the world. Carbon dioxide and smog-causing emissions from fossil fuel-based energy consumption threaten the health of the planet and feed the intensifying environmental devastation caused by global warming. Neutralising the harmful affects of such energy use and moving towards a low carbon economy appears to be a daunting task.

This project challenges the ideas on how we relate to energy and power in a modern consumer society. The proposed development will demonstrate a new relationship between energy consumption and the local community, whilst providing a source of renewable power.

The building will use active solar thermal technology to create energy for the historic urban core of Gibraltar. The by-product heat from the energy process will be used to warm community recreation pools designed within the core of the city. In this way the energy process directly benefits the community.

The building fabric is designed using historic passive technology based around Moorish vernacular architecture to alleviate the need for unsustainable active systems. Within the building, community areas are designed to manipulate natural light into kaleidoscopic shafts. Intensely bright courtyard spaces and dark dramatic internal spaces are reminiscent of a traditional architectural vocabulary. The project addresses a futuristic concept but is fundamentally based on a traditional climatic architecture.

James Silvester


James has in his project managed to combine renewable energy and with modern building architecture. With a site location in Gibraltar he illustrated a convincing site analysis and demonstrated a need.

His interest and technical understanding on the subject of alternative energy sources combined with a fine sense of space, rewards him with creative design process. James' final building design reflects the site and location on an island with an art history, and the choice of materials and beautiful control of light is formed and influenced by the harsh climate on the island.

This project is a strong evidence of an independent and confident work process. Additionally James has through the design process showed capacity to reflect on critique and the ability to change position in order to harmonize location, theme and architecture without compromising the functionality or design.

Tutor(s)

2008
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