Within building design, the most important question that architects have to ask themselves, is whether their project is habitable? Because, no matter how astonishing a building may appear, if it can’t meet the needs of people, which are their primary purpose than the whole structure will go to waste. When we talk about habitable, we’re talking about comfort and the most important requirement that a building has to have is that comfortable controlled inner climate.
So, how do architects accommodate this requirement in their structures? With so many different building styles and designs, one solution will not encompass all structures. In this article, we’ll take a look at the measures that architects take to regulate the internal temperature of a building.
Old school designing
A while ago, the majority of our temperature control was restricted to how the building was designed. For example, deep overhangs and smaller windows could help reduce the amount of heat gained in a house’s interior. Of course, this wouldn’t work in every climate.
Another element that was commonly considered for temperature regulations was the exterior. If the roof or the entire outside of the building was painted white, this allowed light and heat to reflect off the structure, which made it suitable for countries that gain higher temperatures. Some sources suggest this could lower extreme temperatures by up to 2 or 3°C. Could this become more widespread if temperatures continue to rise globally?
There was also consideration for natural elements too, but this was depending on the location of the project. For example, a large tree close to a building would shade it in the summer and lose its leaves in the winter. But again, this wouldn’t work for all buildings, and certainly not for larger buildings and skyscrapers!
In today’s world
Within the recent years, there have been so many astonishing buildings constructed across the world. The bubble-wrap look of the Eden Project’s domes in the UK, the Giant Bookshelf façade of the Kansas City Public Library in the US, The Crooked House in Poland springs to mind when thinking about such strange structures. It seems as if architects are trying to outdo each other when it comes to weird and wonderful modern buildings!
There are still traditional buildings being built, yet all of these structures share the same challenge, and that is adequate ventilation. According to Daikin, ventilation can pose as a problem in many modern buildings as heightened environmental regulations require the use of elements such as double glazing and airtightness to help reduce the need for heating and cooling processes. This results in a building becoming poorly ventilated with no natural air flow through the structure.
This issue was addressed M by Montcalm Shoreditch London Tech City hotel, who installed a central air conditioning unit feeding ducted fan coil units, with the return flow via bathroom vents for the guest rooms. In public areas, a number of Daikin Heat Reclaim Ventilation Units are used to provide fresh air, balance temperature, and maintain humidity levels.
Out of all the modern buildings, it’s understandable that skyscrapers are the most demanding when it comes to temperature regulations. In layman’s terms, it wouldn’t be efficient to have the temperature control system start at the bottom and work its way up, nor start at the top and work its way down — in either scenario, one area is left under-serviced.
Industry Tap recommends when planning to deal with tall structures, it’s best to divide it into zones, and then further divide into stories. Each of these zones would then have its own system, which is responsible for controlling the temperature for just that section.
Accommodating for heatwaves and global warming
Across the globe, the temperatures are rising. Seeing the prolonged heatwave of 2018, it indicates just how important a comfortable temperature really is. The UK saw temperatures hitting highs of 35°C, with the top temperature recorded in Heathrow on 27th July, and over in Japan, Kumagaya sweltered in 41°C temperatures on 16th July.
For architects to continue to build around these temperature regulations, they need to adapt their designs to suit.
But, how will architects continue to design buildings if the world is indeed becoming warmer? Comfort will always be a priority, and as seen above, there are plenty of options being explored and developed upon, both old and new.