Building Site Location by Body of Water

Comments

30 comments

  • Official comment
    Avatar
    Michelle NCARB

    Hi all -

    This post has been active for some time now, but it's now reached its limit on being productive.  Thanks Erica and Sean for your helpful comments.  Erica is right that there's no way for candidates to know that a particular question is causing them to fail, or for that matter if it's even contributing to their score.

    The various comments on here are also getting very close to revealing exam content.  I'll emphasize that no content has been revealed, but NCARB takes exam security very seriously, so I want to eliminate the possibility that a violation might occur.

    This thread is now closed for further comments.  Please continue to ask other questions and engage with NCARB and each other on new threads.

     

    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Joy Newberry

    I believe this content is usually discussed in Site Planning materials.  Have you read Kevin Lynch? I'd have to review my resources to recall where it is covered. 

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Carlos Nunez

    I have not read Kevin Lynch book. Will look into it. I saw an similar post from an earlier date, and the NCARB rep recommended to look into Sun, Wind and Light. I did but I couldn't find anything clear and specific their either. 

    2
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Thomas Cook

    Check out Chapter 1 of Building Construction Illustrated by Ching. I remember it specifically covers the climate regions, site placement and building shapes.

    2
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Carlos Nunez

    Thank you Thomas. Building Construction Ilustrated only has a very small 2 inch by 4" size paragraph that mentions what we already know, that the water is warmer than the land at in winter and cooler in summer. But with this information I see a lot of people confused because we would need more information regarding winds, size of body of water, etc, to be comfortable and know where NCARB would want us to locate it

    1
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Jamie Stephens

    I'd love the answer to this question as well. There seems to be a great deal of time spent in the various resources on siting on a hill in the different climates, and even 'where to leave your open space' for the various climates in "site planning and design handbook" by Thomas Russ, but I'm finding nothing relating back to best strategies for where to site your building to optimize climate response if there is water onsite. 

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Jamie Stephens

    Lynch seems to only refer to adding water to your city imaging because people find it comforting to have a private oasis... and other sources discuss water features (like fountains) for adding acoustic privacy while in an outdoor space like a garden... 

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Jamie Stephens (Edited )

    Sun, wind and light is not an intuitive resource either--I'm finding it challenging to navigate, especially when searching/skimming for a specific topic'area of interest--but there's supposedly a searchable version available online that may be worth looking into.

    EDIT: the section that refers to this specific microclimate response in Sun wind and light is NOT IN THE PRINTED BOOK. It's part of Wiley's online additional component/study lessons for students that requires an original code from the back of the book to access-which means, if you rented the book, borrowed the book, etc--the code has likely been used and will not work for you. (This is where I'm at currently... having reviewed the entire book, and sometimes confusing way of categorizing chunks of information via icons in matrix form, to realize I cannot find the one answer I need). 

    1
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Rosanne Lynch

    Chiming in here --  I am also looking through S, W + L and Lynch's Site Planning for a definitive answer to this question, but striking out so far. I'm going to re-check out Design with Climate by Victor Olglay, which I read a few months ago for SPD,  as I believe it may have more information about designing to microclimates (this book was very useful in understanding microclimate and building design). I also read Russ for SPD although I don't recall it addressing the topic of water.

    I took PPD a couple weeks ago and had at least three questions that asked me to place a building--using the correct building shape for a specific climate--on a site that had a body of water on it. I was given the cardinal directions but no information about the direction of wind, which I believe is necessary in order to answer the question. 

    Assuming winter winds come from the North in a cold climate, I would be inclined to place the building to the North of the body of water so that cold winds are blocked by the building/ trees. Assuming night winds come from the South/SE in a dry/hot climate, I would also place my building to the North of the body of water to allow the cooled air to enter the building. 

    I failed this section of the exam, so presumably I didn't answer these questions correctly. But, I also agree that NCARB did not provide enough information to confidently answer the questions. Hoping for some insight on this thread...

    3
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Amy Trim

    i'm also looking for direction on finding the answer to this question. any luck?

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Amy Trim

    rosanne, here's what i tracked down in MEEB... still not sure that it would answer the question:

    Surface water can be used to advantage in thermal, acoustic, and daylighting roles. Hot, dry breezes that pass over water surfaces (and especially through misty sprays above ponds) gain substantial moisture while undergoing a drop in dry-bulb temperature, as a result of the evaporative cooling process. Such conditioned air can provide improved comfort in hot, dry conditions. If a water feature also provides the sound of running water, it can serve to mask noises such as traffic or conversations in adjacent rooms. Surface water plays a more complex role in daylighting due to the reflection characteristics of water. The surface of water is highly reflective to light striking at low angles of incidence; for example, the reflections of the setting sun from the small pond will illuminate the ceiling and east wall of the chapel in Fig. 3.32. On the coast, reflected sunlight from an infinitely huge surface can throw a blinding sheet of light across buildings on the shore. Conversely, sunlight near noon in summer strikes a water body at high angles of incidence—nearly perpendicular at southern U.S. latitudes. Water is highly absorptive and transmissive to radiation at these angles, thereby reflecting relatively little light. Therefore, water bodies east, south, and west of buildings can provide increased reflected light on sunny winter days and somewhat decreased reflected light in summer, relative to alternative grass surfaces. On heavily overcast days, however, when the sky is uniformly gray (and the least amount, but most glare-free quality, of daylight is available), water surfaces will not be particularly helpful. The reflection of sunlight off water tends to be in sparkling patches of always-changing patterns. This can provide a fascinating design feature or it can be annoying (either as glare or as a distraction from a visual task). Reflected off a matte-finish ceiling, such dancing light might be welcome; reflected directly into eyes or onto a work surface, it easily becomes a problem. Sparkle for one viewer may be glare for another.

    3
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Carlos Nunez

    No definite response yet. This has become a quest. I have asked multiple architects and none have the answer without enough information.

    I was hoping NCARB would step in and shed some light

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Rosanne Lynch

    Amy: To quote your source: "Hot, dry breezes that pass over water surfaces (and especially through misty sprays above ponds) gain substantial moisture while undergoing a drop in dry-bulb temperature, as a result of the evaporative cooling process." Yes, this is correct, but my point is, without knowing from what direction the 'hot, dry breezes' are coming from with respect to the body of water, we can't answer the question of where to locate the building. And then, "...water bodies east, south, and west of buildings can provide increased reflected light on sunny winter days." Assuming that solar heat gain is desirable in a cold climate, MEEB is indicating that there could be more than one reasonable location for the body of water in relationship to the building. 

    Carlos: Good luck, but I doubt we will get a response from NCARB. 

    I've never been one to complain about the ARE exams, it is what it is. But given the fact that I got 4 questions on my test regarding this question (with variations) and was found to have minor deficiencies in the Environmental category, which cost me a PASS on the PPD exam, I can't help but feel a little jaded. 

    2
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Michelle NCARB

    Hi all -

    You've all shared great information about site planning generally, but keep in mind one key aspect of questions on the ARE: you only need to answer the specific question you're being asked.  If the question doesn't mention wind, then assume you don't need to consider wind.  If the question only mentions daylighting, then focus on that.

    You're on the right track in understanding the many factors that could be considered, so that you can confidently evaluate a specific factor presented in a question.  Just stick with what you're being asked and don't read more into it.  Hope this helps.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Rosanne Lynch

    Michelle NCARB, thanks for responding to this thread. What study source do you recommend regarding the topic of where a building should be located with respect to a body of water? So far my colleagues on this thread and I are coming up short...understood that as a test taker should not read too much into any question... but where should we reference this specific topic?

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Rosanne,

    I'm afraid I don't have much to add - all the sources discussed above in this thread sound good to me.  I doubt any source would provide you with a specific way to resolve every situation you might encounter.  There can be a range of factors in any site planning situation, so it's better to understand the general concepts and know how to apply them.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Carlos Nunez (Edited )

    Michelle, thank you for your communication. What if the question does not ask for best location for daylighting, and merely asks for the best location (only data provided is if its cold, temperate, hot humid, hot dry)?  I believe many have found vague questions like this in the exam.  NCARB being so vague, is frustrating.  I have spent a lot of time in ARE forums and have noticed that many of the test takers with years of experience, are having a lot of problem with 5.0, just like me.  I wonder what this says about the exam, and if it's properly assess the individual. 

    As you will notice in this forum and various other forums online,  there are many possible solutions being share, and all of them believe they have the 'RIGHT' answer, however because it seems none has find the right source with the answer, then we are in 'limbo'. 

    Because I like to learn, diversify and challenge myself to know other fields, I have ventured off to get licensure in other fields.  When I have taken their exams (and passed), I had not felt as lost and frustrated as while taking these ARE exams.  The information for other professions have been there, and the exams have been straightforward.  Yet, I have worked in the field of architecture for almost 16 years, and can get around this 5.0 exams (Did pass 4 of the 4.0 already). 

    Sorry for venting, but I have hope that with feedback, NCARB will improve their system.

    2
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Sean Ragudo

    Where do you locate a building in respect to a body of water based on climate?  The answer is, if you have a site where with you can locate a building next to a body of water, in ANY climate, then locate it NEXT to the body of water.  If the only information you're given is climate, the answer is definitely, "next to" Why? well underwater would be prohibitively expensive and difficult to detail.  Over the water and you're most likely not getting on any AHJ's Christmas Card list soon.

     

    -2
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Carlos Nunez

    You are a smart man Sean. 

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Carlos,

    I'll start with your first question - what if you're merely asked for the best location for a building?  Questions on the ARE are written to have only one correct answer.  There will always be enough information provided so you can make an appropriate judgment in answering the question.  A question that asks for a "best" whatever will also give you at least one criterion on which to make that judgment.

    Consider PA Sample Item 5 in the ARE 5.0 Handbook (pp. 62-63).  That question asks you to locate a building, and there's a lake nearby, and there's also a bunch of other factors you need to consider.  But the climate isn't provided, and there's no information on prevailing winds or acoustic issues.  So it's entirely safe to assume that those issues are not relevant for this question.  The only impact of the lake on the site selection is that it helps maximize the required view.  Reading anything more into this question unnecessarily complicates it.

    Sean, I appreciate your sarcasm!  But you're also correct.  Sometimes the right answer is also the simplest answer.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Carlos Nunez

    Michelle, I appreciate your (NCARB) effort to be more accessible. This will be my third time taking the test, and I hope I find questions as your are describing it, instead of how I remember them. Maybe because we are having to race through the exam, and don't time to think.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Rosanne Lynch

    Michelle NCARB, thanks for responding. I do feel comfortable with the general concepts. What I am struggling with -- and perhaps Carlos and other test takers are too -- are the vaguely worded questions that we encountered regarding the placement of a building near a body of water. If wind is not a factor, which it was not indicated to be on my exam, then simply placing a building 'near' a body of water will help mitigate weather extremes. Design with Climate only mentions this once: 'the proximity of bodies of water moderates extreme temperature variations...and are more effective along the lee side."  To me this suggests that placing the building anywhere 'near' the water, assuming no other factors/considerations (wind, views, etc) are given, would be an acceptable answer to the question. We are asked to consider the type of climate, so the shape of the building and the orientation is relevant. Assuming you choose the correct building shape and orientation, there could still be more than one 'correct' answer--for example, a building in a cold climate (think square shape with no dominant axis) could theoretically be placed on any side of a lake? But because the question format is a graphic vignette, the test taker must decide on which side of the water (North, South, East or West) the building should be placed. This seems ambiguous to me, which is why I find these questions so frustrating. 

    1
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Carlos Nunez

    Still trying to find an adequate response to this.  

     

    I find it interesting that the people with the longest time in the field are having the hardest time passing this exams. Of course, I am one of them.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Rosanne Lynch

    I am so incredibly frustrated at this question. At this point I have given up finding an answer that is adequate, so when I retake PPD on Friday I am hoping that I don't get this one again -- and I am focusing my studying on all the other content areas in the hopes that my overall score will be high enough to pass the exam despite the absurdity of these body of water questions. 

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Sean Ragudo (Edited )

    @Carlos,

    The reason you're not finding an answer to the question above is the question does not give adequate information to answer.  In other words, this question is too vague.  The ARE; however, is not vague at all.  The question on the ARE to which everyone is alluding gives parameters on which you can base an (the) appropriate answer.  Furthermore, depending on client preference these parameters could change the answer.  The question is what's your givens?  Information on Topography, Climate, Views, Prevailing Winds, Systems Integration among a few others will all skew the answer to a different location.  (Hence why above, my answer of near the body of water is correct, albeit seemingly sarcastic.)

    See below how adding even one more parameter to your question gives you the ability to answer correctly.

    Prevailing Winds given:  Place Building leeward of prevailing wind in Arid, Cold or Temperate Climates but windward in Humid.

    Hemisphere given:  Place Building North to take advantage of solar gain in Cold or Temperate Climates, but South in Arid and Humid (assuming N hemisphere)

    Client preference given:  Place Building where ever the heck they want if money is not an obstacle.

    Since the ARE is geared for North America, the answer to your question above is most likely the second example given above.

    2
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Nicholas Mueller

    I just tested for the 2nd time on this and just got results with failing in only this section, Section 1 material...yes frustrating to say the least.  And I've been in the field for 15 years.  I had 4-5 of this type of pond and house placement question which is weird. -Nick

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Nicholas Mueller

    Additionally, the only givens were Hemisphere and Client preference.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Carlos Nunez

    @Sean, I did place it in what you also believe is right, but I got a low score on that section. Because of the format used by NCARB, how the heck can we know if those I got wrong or not, and how to correct them to score better next time.  In my mind, and to my knowledge, I should place them where I have done it in the past (I don't want to give to much info to make sure I don't get in trouble), but what if NCARB has a completely different idea?  I don't know, and probably won't find out what NCARB wants. 

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Erica Spayd (Edited )

    Carlos, you are making a huge assumption that you actually got the body of water questions wrong. While you may not have scored well in the content area that covers that question type, it is not the only question type that falls into that category. There is no way for you to know, ultimately, what caused you to do poorly in that content area, but it seems like you should give it another look in the Handbook and revisit it entirely with fresh eyes and a clear mind. 

    Sean and others have given great advice above on the body of water questions - evaluate the information given, and make no assumptions. That's really all there is to it.

    Good luck with the retake. I'm sure you can get through it.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink

Post is closed for comments.

Powered by Zendesk