My studio project for this semester is to design a Pod Hotel.  The site is located adjacent to the High Line Park and West of the Hudson River in New York City (19th St and 10th Ave).  The hotel is made up of small pods that are meant to serve solely as sleeping areas rather than destinations, as a way to house those who come for a short amount of time to view and experience what the city.  The public spaces, however, are located within the pods and at the height of the High Line to attract both New Yorkers and tourists.  This studio has been primarily a computer-less studio, so all renderings were developed through tonal storyboards.  Through drawing and modeling, I have been able to integrate various systems of lighting, ventilation and thermal mass throughout my building.

Cross Section, Program Diagram, 1/16″ = 1′-0″

Cross Section, Systems Diagram, 1/16″ = 1′-0″

The High Line, as I have mentioned in several posts before, is a kind of urban renewal project.  It integrates natural systems to provide green space within a busy, industrial and grey city.  This section represents the large atrium space that people can walk along and gather a full view of the High Line.  I have diagrammed the summer and winter sun penetrating at the atrium, illuminating the right side of the building and letting the light fade out to the left. At the same time, it provides for a space for people to circulate and/or gather in an area that is naturally lit and provides for great, open ventilation.   The large window allows people to be awakened by the natural beauty of the city, with the High Line in the foreground.  Through these systems, the visitor can be visually stimulated through the manifestation of the natural surroundings.  As they walk away from the atrium, back into their pods, it parallels with the idea of retreating to a place to sleep for the night, until they are once again stimulated by the city.  The light fades back into a private corridor that is line with bathrooms and a faster and more private route to the pods.  Here, the corridor is lined with concrete, benefiting from its thermal mass.  This thermal mass helps to regulate the temperature inside.  I have also diagrammed the wind flow coming in from the Hudson from the east.  This breeze helps to keep the rooftop garden cool, which then helps to cool the building.  The pods use a stacking affect, carrying air up and into the halls.  This process works when the outside air is warmer than the inside.  The warm air then naturally rises to the top of the building and is then replaced by cooler air at the bottom.  The stack effect helps to regulate ventilation and the natural airflow through the spaces, moderating the building temperature.

Longitudinal Section, Program Diagram, 1/16" = 1'-0"

Longitudinal Section, Systems Diagram, 1/16" = 1'-0"

I decided to also look at the longitudinal section of my building, because it was very important to how systems work in my building as well.   In this section you can see the different light wells that divide my building.  These light wells puncture my building to provide natural lighting and ventilation to the pod spaces.  The pods purposely do not have a view of the High Line, because they are meant to be place to just rest for the night, making the atrium spaces important to see the city.  In doing so, I was forced to place my pods in the middle of my building, away from exterior walls.  These light wells provide the perfect amount of controlled ventilation and comfortable lighting that can help one peacefully wake up or fall asleep at night.   These light wells are an important part of my building because they keep the systems flowing in the longitudinal section.  Light is able to penetrate through the building and air is able to circulate within.

Wind Diagram

Here is a prevailing winds diagram for New York City I have overlayed on top of a typical plan of my building.  During the summer, wind most frequently comes from the south.  In the winter, wind comes most frequently from the northwest as well as the south.

Solar Positioning, 40 degrees altitude

Here is a solar diagram I did for my building to understand how light is entering through my building at different times of the day.  In the morning, the sun is able to penetrate through the large east glass facade and into the light wells in order to wake those sleeping in the pods.  The light then never hits too harshly into the light wells and instead provides a comfortable illumination into the pods.  Additionally, the rooftop garden is able to gain a a large amount of sunlight during the day.

Pod Perspective Drawing

Here is a perspective drawing of my pod.  The area is around 80 square feet is adapts to the human body.  The inhabitor enters in and is directed into a sleeping corridor.  The corridor is adjacent to the window that leads out into the light well.  The inhabitor is then able to control the air flow and sunlight coming in through window manipulations.  However, not much needs to be done because the light is so comfortable and not too harsh coming down into the wells.

Sleeping Pod Lighting

In order to best understand how light was entering into the pods, I created a sectional model of the sleeping area.  I then manipulated the light to reflect the summer and winter azimuths.   As you can see, the light gently enters in to the pod to awaken the sleeper.

Pod Materials

In order to create the most comfortable and sustainable environment it was also important to study the materials being used. The primary materials used in the pod are wood and concrete. The concrete makes up the exterior walls and guides you to the back sleeping area.  Concrete’s properties create a thermal zone that helps maintain a suitable temperature.  Concrete’s dense property allows it to not heat or cool up too much, providing a comfortable atmosphere.  Concrete’s inherent thermal mass helps it to absorb and retain heat, cutting costs on heating and cooling all year round.  The wood is situated along the sleeping area to create a slightly warmer environment, because the wood can retain the heat. These materials together provide a sustainable systems that is also a comfortable sleeping environment that adjusts to the surrounding atmosphere.


Light is a huge part of my project.  It helps to direct people through my building and out into the city.  Through these series of diagrams I am able to better understand the surround site and how my building is interacting with it.  This assignment has been a great way to think about sustainable designs in our studio projects and I plan on utilizing these ways of studying the site in future projects as well.

Look forward to more diagrams as I develop my project further!