Project AURA's mission is to foster and encourage awareness of the environmental issues we will be facing in the future as a result of our off-balanced natural resource consumption. It provides a platform which allows for people to participate in a new way of receiving energy into their homes and everyday way of life.
_alternative energy exchange laboratory
_design completed 2013
By incorporating energy harvesting systems into both the form and the structure of project AURA, the complex offers an alternative approach; where the building itself becomes an instrument for harnessing different forms of energy, while still offering unique inhabitable spaces.
Ground Level Plan
1. hell's kitchen
2. kitchen office
6. kitchen freezer
9. bike kitchen
14.public research lab
23.rapid prototyping studio
Upper Level Plan
32.public plaza deck
35.advanced research lab
36.energy exchange workshop
39.community service center
The roof structure of the building supports the green roof and the pathways for visitors. Native species are planted in 4' planter boxes in order to share loads as the roof curves
In the U.S., 8% of the electricity generation loss occurs during transmission & distribution. The design concept of the building is to move away from the traditional electrical grid model.
There are a total of six AURAs dedicated to passively maintaining the building at a comfortable temperature range by using chimney effect along with earth tube system. Out of these six AURAs, the three lower ones intake cool air. Then the fresh air gets channeled through a series of earth tubes. The earth tubes act as a heat exchanger underground, which can capture heat from and/or dissipate heat to the ground before distributing fresh air back into the building at a more desirable temperature. The other three AURAs are located at the highest points of the building. The height difference between these and the intake AURAs creates a negative pressure which forces air to circulate through the building.
A set of three AURAs are wind energy generators which are constantly capturing the intense northwest wind all year long. The underground turbines which connect to the three energy generating AURAs are located towards the back of the lot to minimize vibration and sound pollution during the energy conversion process.
The topography of the "living roof" is optimized to funnel the wind toward the three energy generating AURAs. On the other hand, at the two lowest areas of the roof topography, two AURAs are built to collect and remediate rainwater and to recycle used grey water.
The remaining four hybrid AURAs have the built-in geothermal utilities working along side with the earth tube system. These AURAs connect to the radiant heating network that is embedded in the floor plates to warm the building at a minimized cost.
In the spirit of community and volunteer services that is very pertinent in the Presidio, people are welcome to take home charged batteries. Rather than requiring a paid membership, members can acquire them by donating their time to the various volunteer groups in the Presidio.
The open source alternative energy exchange laboratory and open-access incubator studio space have the potential to build a future energy community in which those who participate come not only to receive energy, but to gain knowledge and tools to build their own sustainable energy device