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IMAGES OF A DAHESHIST CENTER (the thoughts)

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  • IMAGES OF A DAHESHIST CENTER (the thoughts)

    The Daheshist Center Complex is comprised of three primary structures…

    The Daheshist Library Knowledge and growth and teaching
    The Daheshist Museum History and legacy and remembrance
    The Daheshist Temple Prayer and thanks and reflection

    The overall complex has several themes that I have tried to explore…both in terms of individual architectural elements but also symbolically in terms of layout. I wanted the formal layout of the complex to command an order and structure of procession; Knowledge, History, Prayer. (Library, Museum, Temple) As a practicing architect and artist, I have tried to capture two parallel paths in my design.

    Artistically I wanted to capture the feel of something old as well as something of the future. This for me has the timeless feeling of a continuum. I have always admired the sacred ‘sense of place’ of ancient temples. I wanted to capture this feeling. I wanted to imbue significant elements of numbers and form that are of significance to Daheshists…without resorting to anything too literal. Walls angled at 6 and 20 degrees figure prominently throughout the complex. These numbers also figure prominently in dimensional modules throughout as well. The predominant material is poured, pre-tensioned concrete or pre-cast concrete.

    Architecturally, I wanted to design something real. These structures have real structural principals dictating their form…I love fanciful drawings of visionary architecture… however, I wanted to design structures that can or could be built. Several realities have also been thought about relative to this complex as well. These are enumerated here and dealt with in greater detail at the end of this piece:
    •Energy efficiency
    •People / vehicle flow and security
    •Handicapped accessibility
    •Eco-friendly design

    There are no automobiles within the complex. People and services are brought in and out from perimeter parking areas via electric trams that enter the complex underground. There are also above ground pedestrian walkways that overlook gardens and water features. Other than security and basic support staffing, there are no living areas within this complex portion of the complex.

    The Daheshist Library: The library and teaching facility is the symbolic entry of the complex. The library is to reflect the spiritual presence of a temple. The library is the temple of knowledge. True knowledge is perpetual, sacred and holy. The library and teaching facility can be used as a convention center, a small university or just a place of general study. Depending on the location of such a complex, the library could service a small or medium sized town or city. I wanted the form of this structure to whisper ‘temple’ even though its function is a library. The open atrium plan is much like open hands offering up a prayer to heaven. Skylights and atriums figure prominently throughout the designs of the structures. I like what this does during the day for letting controlled natural day light deep in to all floors of the buildings, but also what it does at night creating a glowing canopy in the night sky.


    The Daheshist Museum: This is the most organic of the three primary structures. It is also designed to allow for flexible expansion over time. The primary structure of the Museum is also the gateway to the Temple. The wings of the museum have almost infinite expansion potential as the needs of the complex evolve and expand as the community see fit. The museum can also grow and expand toward the library structure. Underground wings of expansion of the library are also possible. The primary function of the Museum is to house the history and legacy of Dr. Dahesh. His life works, his collections, his manuscripts. There are numerous currating rooms and vaults to house rotating exhibits securely.


    The Daheshist Temple: This is the most precious structure to me. It is also the simplest. I modeled the shape to reflect an altar with an ever lit, eternal burning flame above. It is also the most ‘protected’ structure in the complex. The other buildings and structures surround the Temple. The vocabulary of this form was what I used to derive the other architectural forms in the complex. It is a simple square plan on a raised pediment with a glowing architrave and frieze and dome on top. The plan is open in to all the four axis of the compass as well as the ‘burning dome’ overhead pointing literally and figuratively to the heavens. The amber glass dome is lit as a warm flame: the warm burning of a prayer on an altar.

    Energy Efficiency
    The heating and cooling systems will be a state of the art geothermal heat pump exchange system. The system very efficiently uses the heating and cooling mass of the earth to heat and cool the overall complex. With geoexchange systems, there’s no need to create heat, hence no need for chemical combustion. Instead, the Earth’s natural heat is collected in winter through a series of pipes, called a loop, installed below the surface of the ground or submersed in a pond or lake. Fluid circulating in the loop carries this heat to the complex. An indoor geoexchange system then uses electrically-driven compressors and heat exchangers in a vapor compression cycle--the same principle employed in a refrigerator--to concentrate the Earth’s energy and release it inside the complex at a higher temperature. In typical systems, duct fans distribute the heat to various rooms.
    In summer, the process is reversed in order to cool the complex. Excess heat is drawn from the complex, expelled to the loop, and absorbed by the Earth. Geoexchange systems provide cooling in the same way that a refrigerator keeps its contents cool--by drawing heat from the interior, not by injecting cold air.

    Geoexchange systems can also provide all of the necessary domestic hot water.

    Depending upon the location ( and this is no small mitigating factor! ) wind turbine technology would be wonderful to implement for electrical power. Lower nighttime usages could allow excess power to be sold back to the local power grid.


    Dealing with traffic and people flow
    The goal is to control pedestrian and vehicular traffic with how they can enter and leave the complex. I want to maintain and garden and park setting with no above ground vehicles. Much like parking in Disney, there are trams (electric) that will bring you from your outer perimeter parking location to your underground destination at the library or the museum or service area. This is both for security as well as for minimizing the impact of hydro carbons in the primary complex areas…this is better for quality of life issues for all the living things of the complex. Security is of utmost concern given the world we are a part of today.
    Last edited by Johnson; 05-15-2007, 03:07 PM.
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