Emilis Prelgauskas - interests

Emergent Systems

This Practice

When you cruise around this web site, you will see how much of this architect's work is based on new emergent thinking of its time. Where ideas which are at the prototype or experimental stage, or where trends suggest a future with particular inclusions, this architect makes provision for these in buildings being developed now.

Why

The approach taken by this practice is that -
  • - the buildings being put on the ground now will be around for the next 60 years
  • - these buildings will need to be capable of being relevant in those future times
  • - and thus 'futureproofing' is part of the design ethic
  • - where trends emergent now are anticipated and allowed for.

How

The ways this is done can be many fold. Buildings can be 'loose fit'. That is, duct spaces and connections and provisions can be made for systems not yet envisaged, to be added later. Such as water storages by systems such as bladders which were not thought of until early this century. Or buildings can be pre-configured. Such as anticipating that photovoltaic arrays may be added in the future, or data transfer between building components (BIM - building information management).*

* see Clipsal's internal magazine 'Intensify' issue no.10 on an article about how this practice approaches these things.

Past emergences

Inevitably, what is emergent thinking at one point in time, becomes mainstream at a later time, and can no longer be considered new. As a result, this practice is continually interested in other new, as past prototypes blend into mainstream standard.

1970s

Early in this practice's life, we were interested in 'exoskeleton' building typology. That is, a building where the roof is erected first, and widely variant infill floor/wall/ceiling systems can be built in underneath.
The gains included -
  • - this construction is more resilient in reactive soils locations, and brittle materials like aerated concrete can be used while minimising building movement and cracking because the infill doesn't carry roof loads
  • - there are production advantages: an undercover material and work area during construction, owners can contribute sweat equity to non structural parts, a mix of materials including non standard recycled stuff can be integrated without adverse effect on the structure
  • - and so on
You will find a lot of 'exoskeletons' in the 'project' section of this web site.

Early this century other practitioners also began work with such approaches, and adopted the name 'agricultural baroque'.
Whatever.

1980s to end of century

This practice writes a lot about 'climate response' design elements in buildings in hot dry climates. This has been this practice's exploration together with other architects in Adelaide over that time. This thinking about cooling by passive means is fully explained in sections of this web site, and every project shown gives representation to that design approach.
Since now much is published, it can no longer be considered emergent thinking.

Enough post occupancy measurement of this practice's built work has shown that 5kwhr/day energy use (ie 25 Star when linked to on-site renewable energy supply) places such building designs distinct from normal 'compliant' buildings at less than 10 Stars.

current

With this practice experience of about 10 years of driving a hybrid car, 40 years flying sailplanes; this practice's interest has stepped toward efficient vehicles. Such as full electric cars, planes, and so on.
And inevitably then further to the role these might play in powering buildings, or beyond.

It is obvious that full electric vehicles would draw their recharge from buildings, either from mains power supply, or on -building renewables generation.
Early hybrids (HEV) are self contained, and don't utilise such connection. But now with production electric (EV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles in production and soon to be mainstream; that connection to buildings is becoming 'emergent'.

And this practice is interested.

Through the offer by Simon Hackett (MD Internode) I was co-driver in his Tesla Roadster driving from Darwin to Adelaide in the October 2009 'Global Green Challenge'. The Tesla is an open road production full EV. Including in setting the world record for production EV distance on a single charge to over 500km.

Production by large manufacturers of urban EVs (Miev, Leaf, etc.) and plug-in hybrid (Toyota) and generator backed EV (GM Volt) is imminent.

So this is the time to be thinking about car recharge from buildings. But the cabling runs both ways.
There are already individual situations, where hybrid owners have powered parts of their homes during mains power outages (snowstorm, Hurricane Katrina) periods in their particular location. Emergent further thinking is about utilising the base load capacity of numbers of hooked up EVs to help balance the mains transmission system, thereby reducing reliance on coal fired power station. That is, to have smart electronics feeding power to and from EVs, buildings and mains to suit changing circumstances during the day.
With the car and building owners reaping 'bonus' payment as currently 'Green Power export' from on-building renewables receives for such export to the mains.

This is not yet real. But parts of the equation exist. And so it is in this practice's approach to anticipate such building systems during the expected operating life of buildings being built now.


The photos below are -
  • - the media record of Telsa no.186 at the end of its 501km, run on a single charge south from Alice Springs
      (see also Internode blog for video of the record drive)
  • - the Ramsay ReBuild housing by Dr. Paul Downton and this practice where EV:building:grid prewiring was installed in 2007
  • - this practice's (HEV) Prius now achieving 4.2 l/100km and 1000km per tank.

    5010km record endpoint

    Ramsey rebuild

    Prius

  • End of section