In this blog I’m going to share with you what my thesis topic is, why I chose it, and the information I gathered from my site visit last week. I chose to design a Gold LEED certified assisted living facility in Nashville, Illinois. My thesis topic will also focus on the psychological well-being of the residents at this facility. This will be done by looking at acoustics, lighting, and the natural environment.
The reason I chose to do an assisted living facility was actually based on the choice of my site. Deciding upon a thesis topic in the fall semester was very stressful. It was hard to decide on a topic knowing that you would have to spend three full semesters researching it. At that time I was working at Eggemeyer Architects in Carbondale. My co-workers told me several topics, but the only one that interested me was an assisted living facility. Once I was heavily set on doing an assisted living facility for my thesis, it was time to choose a site.
Growing up in Southern Illinois, I wanted my site to be local. I knew that my home town didn’t have an assisted living facility, so I looked there first. I called my former boss at DBG Construction in Nashville, Illinois for advice. It turns out that he knew of a site that was actually a proposed site for an assisted living facility. The site currently contains four duplex’s intended for retired couples. The plan was to build an assisted living facility on the same site, but building plans were never developed. There is approximately a 188,000 square foot lot on the site I chose for my thesis, and my building program is currently 62,000 square feet excluding outdoor spaces (parking, courtyard, overhead entrance).
When I visited the site I noticed the topography wasn’t the best to work with. I decided to survey the site with a laser level, and with that information I could easily model it on computer and work with it from there. It only took an hour and a half to survey 126 points on the site. With that information I created a point cloud (XYZ coordinate system) to import into Civil 3D Cad. This created a three-dimensional mesh that I can use to find any elevation on the site. The next step is to create the entire site (streets, buildings, trees, etc.) so I can perform sun studies and also place building concepts on the topography.
The image below shows the contours on top of the existing site. (Click image to enlarge)
The image below shows the different levels on the site (Red = lowest, Purple = highest)