- Architect: Dr. Upendra Rajapakse
- Location: Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
- Author: Ruksala Siriwansha
The building is located on a west-facing site in a tropical congested urban setting in Colombo City. The design conceptualizes the nuances of the hot humid climate of Colombo, characterized through high mean monthly temperatures of 32 degrees C and RH of 70-80 percent, with no seasonal variations in air temperatures.
This bio-climatic design theme is centered towards an exploration of a daylight sensitive but solar defensive built form and a zero energy building with a low carbon foot print. It generates as much energy as they consume and transferred to the public grid and also it no longer burns up fuel commuting to work.
Both its form and placing on the site achieves a dynamic feel of the ambiance. The significant green design principal of touching the earth lightly is strongly attached in the setting of Nikini by its least disturbance to the terrain. The natural slope of the land has been retained and used to create a sunken courtyard. This creates a shaded microclimate in front of the building which results in less radiation development on the westerly micro-climate close to the ground. The Shading of the story building in front of it is used to shade and cool the building.
The steel skeleton in the building’s exterior supporting the solar panel roof and solar sensitive louvers outside the east and west facades contribute to a light weight effect.
The sensitive sunshades which are placed along the glass windows to create a double skin envelope to reduce heat gain. This thin long horizontal louvers respond to the direction of sun and move with sunshine automatically. So it controls solar radiation from entering the building and light up the internal spaces of this building by daylight during the day without heat gain. There are no light switches but movement sensitive sensors in office and residence.
It’s a four story building with a total floor area of 848 square meters accommodates commercial office functions and the owner’s residence. The Semi basement is allocated for storage area. Office area is in ground floor and internal administration area is in first floor. The top floor houses a personal residence and the covered roof top acts as a solar floor for recreational activities. Interior spaces are coloured in white colour to increase the efficiency and Exterior facades are coloured in earthy colours to reduce the solar reflection.
Rain water harvesting system is another significant feature in this building. The plants in the courtyard are all watered with the rain water collected in four tanks which are placed on the roof of the building, underneath the solar panels. It facilitates other water necessaries of the occupants. Their positioning eliminates the need for pumps
building works as normal even in a power cut in public grid-line. Building automatically isolates itself with preventing any electricity from flowing into the grid. The batteries are kept fully charged on solar energy and it’s only if these run out that the building returns to the grid. Almost all the energy is diverted to the grid during the weekend, when the office is closed. The entire exchange is carried out with the aid of an import-export meter.
Nikini building lovely balances innovative green solutions with architectural design strategies very cleverly.