Cultural Centre - Ruins of San Francisco, Santo Domingo 2014
Santo Domingo, is the capital of Dominican Republic, a colonial city considered World Heritage of UNESCO because of its archaeological value. The historic center has an incalculable value that every year brings hundreds of tourists to visit it. However some ruins need to be restored and refurbished to prosper its history and ensure its solidity during the frequent natural disasters.
This project covers different areas of the historic center. In the zone of the old Convent of San Francisco, there are the ruins of the ancient church of San Francisco, the Third Order chapel and the adjacent cloisters. The program consists on creating an archaeological park to visit the ancient ruins, an event center, a theatre, exhibition areas, restaurant and all the requisite administrative and technical areas. In the area of the former convent the project is developed on two levels: on the ground floor is located the arrival and distribution areas and on the top level is the park with the ruins. The Plaza de España houses the outdoor amphitheater and the San Antón Plazoleta an underground parking.
The proposal aims at the good functioning of the building to ensure occupants’ comfort, without increasing the use of energy. For this, firstly the climate of Santo Domingo is studied. This area has a tropical climate, with dry winters and average annual temperatures of around 25 °C - 35 °C. In winter, the temperatures in January turn out to be just below the comfort zone and just above it the summer, especially in August. Solar radiation is very high throughout the year due to its geographical location. The wind blows moderately and predominantly from Northwest.
After the climate analysis the passive strategies for comfort levels throughout the complex are drawn. The use of shading combined with natural ventilation, proved to be effective to lower the physiological temperatures, while eliminating excess humidity. For indoor comfort, elements to shade the glazing are provided, allowing natural daylighting at the same time. The use of materials with low thermal inertia and the high ceilings also show to be beneficial on heat dissipation. Due to high levels of precipitation, water harvesting is recommended. For greater energy efficiency of the entire complex, appliances and lights should have a high efficiency rating.
Gonçalo Byrne Arquitectos