SYSTEMS IN A NEW YORK CITY BEEKEEPING MONASTERY
In my current studio project, what I find to be the most compelling part of my NYC Highline monastery is the greenhouse and chapel area on the southern end of the building. Also accompanied by a 5 story stairwell that leads to the rooftop, the greenhouse and chapel work together to create their own unique system through a series of relationships both functional and aesthetic. From the congregation, monks will be able to look out towards a 4 story vertical alter that backs up to a stained glass wall which separates the chapel from an elaborate beekeeping vertical greenhouse full of beautiful flowers and honey-filled beehives. The honey in these hives will then be sold to the public by the monks to finance the monastery. To portray these systems I chose to analyze the overall greater southern section of my monastery and the vertical greenhouse.
GREATER SOUTHERN SECTION (1/16″=1′)
The first section features the greenhouse, the chapel, the stairwell, and a westward facing balcony. These rooms are connected through both a sunlight and ventilation system.
Facing the south-east, the vertical greenhouse receives the majority of its sunlight from the south in the morning hours. Southern light is ideal for plant growth in the greenhouse. Sun received in the greenhouse acts as a heating device which will be discussed further in the next section. The light that filters through the greenhouse then passes into the chapel through the shared glass wall on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors. This light reflects off the back wall of the vertical component of the chapel onto the alter. Additional light is then reflected off the stained glass into the congregation which is completely under the Highline. This sunlight also acts as a heat source for the chapel.
Wind in New York City typically travels in the north-west direction during the winter and south-west during the summer. Average wind speeds are usually between 8 and 9 mph but can reach up to 15 mph during the harsher winter months. In order for the monastery, which stands 10 stories above ground level, to withstand the wind, horizontal guards were added to the upper stairwell. These guards extend from the windows on each side to weaken the strength of wind generated by cross ventilation on the top 5 floors. The guards create an additional vertical wind stream which calms the horizontal stream generated when facing sets of windows are open. The greenhouse and balcony also allow for cross ventilation. Vents on the 6th and 5th floor of the greenhouse connect with the balcony on the 5th floor to allow air to pass completely through the structure. This cross ventilation is controlled by causing wind to shift down a floor before passing through thus weakening the air flow.
The most crucial system devised between the greenhouse and the chapel is the distribution of warm and cold air. The 4 story vertical alter makes it possible to keep the chapel at a comfortable temperature. Warm air given off by the masses in the congregation travels up the alter and is absorbed into the greenhouse while cool air from the ground regulates the temperature. The greenhouse happily receives the warmth transferred from the chapel and adds it into its own heating system. Warm air also rises throughout the upper stories of the greenhouse while the bottom floor is kept cool by the concrete firewall, lower amounts of sunlight, and the cold air exuded from the ground. Any excess heat can be released through the vents on the 5th and 6th floors.
GREENHOUSE SECTION (1/4″=1′)
The greenhouse of my monastery isn’t your typical space for growing luscious plants. At 6 stories tall, the greenhouse doubles as a beekeeping space and chapel alter backdrop. The first floor is home to a series of hanging beehives while the upper 5 floors accommodate flowers for pollination. Here the monks care for both the most common honeybee, the Apis Mellifera, and beautiful hanging Fuschia flowers. Fuschia flowers are ideal because they prefer both temperate and tropical climates which the greenhouse will experience throughout the seasons of the year. Each floor of the greenhouse has a walkway for the monks to access the flowers and hives. The edge of the walkways also feature water channels that collect fallen leaves and petals from the Fuschia flowers for the bees to drink from. The plant debris that the channels catch will please the bees because they prefer aged-water with foliage. It is also prefered that the water be with the flowers on the upper levels to keep it away from the hives. The cooler atmosphere of the first floor accommodates the honey-making behavior of the bees.
As mentioned earlier, the greenhouse receives sunlight from the south in the morning. The upper 5 floors are completely exposed to the sun for maximum plant growth while the bottom floor is shielded by an 18.5 foot tall firewall adjacent with the neighboring building. The hives are located on the bottom floor because of its lack of sunlight. Honeybees prefer their hives in cooler, shady places that are protected from the wind. They also are attracted to bright lights so placing their homes away from the windows will keep them calmer and easier to maintain at night. The greenhouse also receives indirect sunlight from the west in the afternoon through the 5th floor balcony.
Circulation in the greenhouse is generated by the flow of warm and cool air. Cool air enters from the ground through the floor and through the firewall at the bottom of the greenhouse. In addition to accommodating the beehives, the exchange between this cool air and the warm air in the upper portion of the space creates airflow. Warm air travels to the upper floors of the greenhouse. Circulation is complete through vents on the 5th and 6th floors for the escape of carbon dioxide. Cross ventilation can also be created through the vents if temperatures become too high.
The floor and firewall are both made of concrete. To meet regulation, the firewall is 10 inches thick. The greenhouse is made up of a steel frame and polycarbonate horticulture glass. Standard in greenhouses, horticulture glass is slightly translucent to retain maximum heat and relatively affordable. The average greenhouse glass is .12 inches (3 mm) thick. My greenhouse will use .2 inch (5 mm) thick glass due to it’s larger size.
The greenhouse acts as a self-sustaining heating system. The polycarbonate glass traps in the warmth of the sun. Short wave infrared radiation from the sun is allowed to travel through the glass into the greenhouse. The heat given off from these waves is absorbed by the plants for energy, which in exchange release long wave infrared radiation as a cooling mechanism. The long wave radiation however cannot escape the polycarbonate glass and becomes trapped inside the greenhouse. In other words, the nature of the greenhouse glass acts as a heat envelope. This causes both temperature and water vapor percentage to rise. Heat is then transferred throughout the greenhouse through convection. However, because my greenhouse is unusually tall the temperature at ground level will greatly vary with the temperature on the top floor. As seen in the igloo from assignment 4, the bottom floor acts as a cold trap. The maintenance of both ranges of temperature allows for successful beekeeping in one complete space.