Meet a Prize Winning Team

This year, the Graduate Student Research Symposium had their first team win! Eric Goldman, Christoph Konradi, and Matteo Rapallini took the first-place award in the Humanities and Design category for their poster presentation, Dynamic Building Facades: A Study on the Mediation Between Double Skin Construction, Daylighting, and Design.

The trio are from all parts of the world. Originally from Yonkers, New York, Goldman began his college studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He decided to pursue a career in architecture because it ". . . seemed like the best way to effect change in society, even if only bettering a single individual's life at a time. I also enjoyed how architecture encompassed a vast body of knowledge that spans all fields." Goldman moved to Western North Carolina as a fellow with Design Corps, a non-profit group that focuses on community development through design, so it was almost a natural move to Raleigh and NC State. He will graduate in May 2011 with a Masters in Architecture.

While a teenager, Matteo Rapallini moved from his hometown of LaSpezia, Italy. After four years with the U.S. Air Force as a metal fabricator, he began his college career at the Pennsylvania State School of Arts and Architecture in State College. He chose to pursue his graduate degree at NC State because of our solid tradition within the School of Architecture, as well as the chance to work with professors ". . . who significantly contributed to the profession of architecture via written or built work." He cites George Matsumoto, Matthew Nowicki (Dorton Arena), and Curtis Fentress (Marine Corps Memorial, Denver International Airport, new Raleigh-Durham International Airport Terminal) as his inspirations. Rapallini will graduate in December 2011 with a Master's of Architecture.

He says that growing up, he had a very inquisitive nature and was ". . . always interested in mechanics and construction, how things went together." His mother is an artist, and Rapallini believes that he inherited her artistic nature. He says that architecture is the perfect career choice because it combines art, construction, and mechanics. And Rapallini says: "I always believed and still believe someday my work as an architect will help people live a better life through my design."

Meanwhile, Christoph Konradi left his native Cologne, Germany, for the United States to study architecture. He completed his undergraduate studies at Goucher College in Maryland. But Konradi says that he came to NC State ". . . [b]ecause of the tradition in craft and research within the College of Design and the potential for interdisciplinary studies." He has a particular interest in the ". . . richness that occurs at the intersection of art/science and humanities, in the field of architecture." Konradi will receive his Master's of Architecture in June 2011.

Eventually, Goldman, Konradi, and Rapallini met at NC State's College of Design. And despite their various backgrounds, they found a common thread in daylighting and its use for conservation in design.

The team began their study based on the belief that, as Goldman says, "One does not have to sacrifice good design for the sake of low energy costs but both are integral to each other's success." They created a model that used the Matsumoto Wing of the College of Design as a logical sustainable site for development. The new wing was designed to incorporate a future Daylighting Research Center, and the team gives credit to Dr. Wayne Place and Dr. Jianxin Hu, who have developed the daylighting research tools now available to NC State students.

Goldman, Konradi, and Rapallini began their study by developing a two-fold strategy. First, the team needed to preserve the original building, while integrating the new wing in such a way that the building and addition read as one. Rapallini says that since the new building would function as a daylight research center, they ". . . could not ignore the nature of its nomenclature." Konradi adds that not only was it important to upgrade the building's performace to meet modern standards, but the endeavor helps ". . . to nourish the important research on day-lighting in today's field of architecture."

Second, they explored incorporating lower energy needs/costs into a good building design. The result was an all-glass façade that encompasses the entire building, both old and new. Goldman says that although an all-glass façade may seem the antithesis of sustainable design ". . . properly designed envelopes can function equal to or better to standard baseline energy code designed spaces." The two-layer glass skin has an air cavity that allows for cooling in the summer and insulation in the winter to keep the building warmer. Rapallini adds that their energy analysis testing demonstrated results that were not only up to par, but in some instances outperformed traditional building construction ("all brick envelope with small windows").

The team hopes that the impact of their research will further empirical research in design technology. With few daylighting research centers in the United States, this study should contribute detailed local data that will make building design respond to realistic local conditions. Rapallini says that the current belief is that state projects need to conservative and usually go out to the lowest bidder. And he reinforces the notion that NOT testing new technology, research ideas, and/or discoveries may result in higher investment in the future: "Flexible new technology on the other hand can be designed to adapt over time, or be designed to function via natural systems and intelligent design which now can be pre-tested to check the performance of all of its components."

Konradi says that an additional result of this project was that students in their studio were ". . . able to stretch [themselves] in the field of research of graduate level. And teaching them how research on a quantitative level can inform form and function of a building."

When not engaged in designing and building for the future, Rapallini says that he uses his own house ". . . as a research subject to test new design ideas, work on cars, and always enjoy watching soccer." He also is encouraged that this project is an important step toward more research in the architecture program.


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