Beyond housing: Active House principles applied to a museum

The Wetland Museum of Guanting is a museum in Zhang JiaKou, China designed by Ren Jun and Jiang Nan for the Forestry Bureau of Huailai. The project won an Active House Award at the 2018 Active House Symposium. Below Ren Jun answers a few questions on behalf of the Wetland Museum of Guanting project.
Your project won an award at the Active House Awards this year, congratulations. Why did you submit your project for the Active House Awards?

首先祝贺您的项目在今年的Active House大奖中获奖。您为什么要提交这个项目去参加Active House大奖?


Two or three years ago, I had an intuitive experience of Active House by assisting the office building of VELUX LangFang. I agreed with the concept of sustainable development of comfort, energy and environment advocated by Active House. Just last month, I passed the Active House Certification and I now have a deeper understanding of it. The project I submitted which is in a natural wetland has been pursuing high-performance goals for the environment, energy and health from the beginning of its design, so I had no hesitation to participate in the Active House competition.


What does winning the Active House Award mean for your project/organisation? What would you say are some of the key features that make Active Houses better buildings?

这次获得Active House大奖对您的项目/团队意味着什么?你认为使主动式建筑成为更好的建筑的一些关键特征是什么?


Acquiring the Active House Award is a tribute to the sustainability of the project. Although the project is still under construction, customers and architects have high expectations for the future completion of the project. The core advantage of the Active House is that it seeks to balance environment, energy and comfort by focusing on the people in the building.  Therefore, Active House covers a wider range of sustainable fields and is more comprehensive in its evaluation.


At this year’s symposium there was a lot of talk about digitalisation and technology changing our buildings. How does your project use these?



Digital technology allows us to more accurately analyse the suitability of green technologies. The application of digital technology in the Guanting Wetland Museum serves to improve the directionality of green technology from the perspective of the environment and the people. For example, the folded metal skin can filter the light incident into the building. The circular staircase floating in the outdoor courtyard will reduce the impact on the wetland environment.


How do you think we can convince more people of the importance of healthy buildings? How does your project address this important aspect?



People spend most of their time in the indoor environment of buildings, so the indoor health performance is very important. The health and comfort of the interior is reflected in natural light, natural ventilation, good thermal comfort and fresh air quality. In this building, high-quality natural daylighting is provided for public spaces and exhibition halls — curtain wall and skylight are used for public area and the wetland landscape area to ensures a good landscape view as well as natural daylighting.


Active House is all about comfort, energy and environment. How does your project incorporate these aspects?



The museum is located in National Wetland Park, and the objective is low emission, micro impact and full circulation. Natural ventilation is enhanced by means of the annular yard and elevated bottom, and fresh air is introduced from the wetland park by means of a fresh air system as well as natural ventilation, so that the indoor CO2 concentration is lower than 1000ppm. In terms of energy saving, considering the features of the cold area where the museum is located, a ring form which has a low shape coefficient was chosen, and high-insulation enclosure system and curtain wall system are used to minimize energy use. As electricity is the only energy source in the wetland park, suitable VRV system is used for heat and cold supply. In terms of solar energy utilization, coloured film PV corridor and roof solar water heating system are set. An elevated overall structure is designed for the building to reduce the impact on the wetland ecosystem. The ultra-low energy consumption design and operation strategy of the building reduce carbon emission throughout its life cycle. The low illumination nightscape lamps and the patterned glass curtain wall can prevent bird strikes. The Low Impact Development (LID) designs such as the rainwater garden and constructed wetlands as well the high-efficiency sewage treatment system helps to reduce water discharge.


One of this year’s speakers at the symposium suggested that as prices go up, so do the expectations of homebuyers. Do you think the Active House label can help purchasers identify good projects?



In my opinion, with the improvement of homebuyers’ understanding of health, environment and energy, the Active House Label will become an important reference for buyers to choose their homes.


If you were to give one piece of advice to next year’s contestants, what would it be?



Firstly, Active House is a comprehensive technical solution, and it will be perfect if the technology is showed in an artistic way.

Read more about the Wetland Museum of Guanting here

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