Row houses in Asia, Europe and America

Park Crescent, London

Row houses of the past and of the future Row houses emerged in Europe in the 16th century. They are used when medium density housing is to be provided. They are also known as terraced houses or linked houses. They are generally identical or rather it would be preferable to say that they are mirror … Read moreRow houses in Asia, Europe and America

Regeneration of Central Business District, Abids | Urban Design

Urban design process

Redesigning Abids, Hyderabad | Urban Design Project

Urban design is complex but fascinating. At least I find it to be exciting and challenging since urban designers get to shape the lifestyles of the people. I would like to discuss one of the urban design projects I did in Architecture college in a group. We were a group of 12 students, all of us skilled in different areas. When we began, we felt the project work was intimidating and that it was too early for us to be working on one. I am going to be writing a series of articles of how we dealt with this project, the design process that we followed and all the survey methods that we used. It was a great experience.

Aim of the Project:

Conservation of the original market character by restricting to various patterns, colours, to create a scenario that invites tourists without disturbing the old and traditional built forms to relate to the original concepts. We are aiming at Sustainability…Sustaining and improving the living standards and reviving the importance of the commercial hub in terms of commercial activity.

We listed out the target issues in terms of Sustainable Development. Listing aims of the project is the first and most important thing to do before beginning any kind of project. This gave us a clear understanding of the direction in which we should be progressing.

Urban design process

This is the design process we followed for redesigning the commercial hub. We had a brainstorming session with our group and came up with all the possible approaches we could take to design the project.

Stage One: Case study of 1,000,000 sq m of area in the centre of commercial hub (studied land use pattern)

Stage Two: Detailed Study and Analysis of the Critical Zone for Redesign

Selection Criteria

Abids is one of the oldest commercial hub in the Hyderabad city. Abids constitutes the dwellings of Upper middle class families. People from all over the city came to shop jewellery and textiles at Abids. With the decentralisation of the commercial markets, the crowd coming to Abids has lessened as compared to what it was earlier. The good thing about Abids is that it still has a unique shopping market which other places don’t have. This is what we identified as the unique selling point for the regeneration of Abids. To regenerate, it is essential to identify issues and come up with solutions that could enhance the functioning of the commercial hub and help restoring it to its original character.

Here are the issues that we identified:

  • Traffic issue
  • Lack of convenient Parking
  • Scope of redesign of facades
  • Organizing and redesigning streetscape
  • Informal activity
  • No recreational area

Stage Three: Major  focused area selected for redesign

Read moreRegeneration of Central Business District, Abids | Urban Design

Retaining Wall design | RCC Structures

How to design a retaining wall? | RCC Design

Main parts of Retaining Wall

The stem and base are the main parts of a cantilever type of retaining wall. The toe is the front portion and heel is the back portion. The stem is supported at the base and the wall tapers towards the top.

Wall Dimensions

Generally the height of the wall known and approximate dimensions are required to be assumed.

The length of the base is between 0.4 to 0.7 times the height of the wall. Toe to base ratio is 1:4. The thickness of the base slab shall be assumed to be little more than the thickness of the stem at the bottom. The minimum thickness of the stem shall be 200mm for construction purposes.

retaining wall

Earth pressure on wall

A length of one metre of the wall is considered for design.

Earth levelled up to the top of wall:

From Rankine’s theory of earth pressure

earth pressure formula - retaining walls

where,

P = total pressure on wall acting at H/3 from the base

H = total height in metres

W = weight or density of earth in kN/m3

Φ  = angle of repose of earth

Stability of retaining wall

The assumed trial section of the wall shall be checked for stability. Stability check is required for (i) overturning and (ii) sliding. In both the cases the factor of safety shall not be less than 1.5.

1. Factor of safety for overturning

(Moment due to load of wall)/(Moment due to force P) ≥ 1.5

2. Factor of safety for sliding

(Total load of wall x μ)/Force P ≥ 1.5

Read moreRetaining Wall design | RCC Structures

Smart Meters | Energy Efficient Systems

Smart Meters | The next generation devices

Smart meters are next generations devices that help you measure the consumption of electricity and gas. It is different from AMR – traditional Automatic Metering reading in a way that it enable two way communication between the meter and the central system. These smart meters are gaining popularity in the west. They are used for monitoring the energy and gas consumption as well as for billing purposes.

Smart Meters
Smart Meters

Europe has introduced smart meters that are based on Open smart grid protocol (OSGP) which has the ability to reduce load, disconnect and reconnect remotely. The research conducted in the UK on the usage of smart meters showed that smart meters were being confused with energy meters. They are being used by 1 in 3 homes in the UK. It has been estimated that £300 million could be saved annually if the smart meters are actively used by the people.1 Although it is also important that people actively pay attention to their lifestyle that demand heavy energy consumption.

Smart meters are being used across the world. The aim of using smart meters is to initiate the creation of Energy-Efficient Economy. A study was conducted which showed that homeowners consumption of electricity was reduced by 3-5%.2

Read moreSmart Meters | Energy Efficient Systems