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DETAIL English 4/2017 - Bioclimatic Construction

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Sun, Wind and Climate Zones

When we speak of the “context” of architecture, the term usually refers to the built environment or the historical background of a building. But the climatic conditions of a building site are also contextually determined. These require specific concepts that respond to factors such as heat and cold, fluctuations in temperature, and snow loads. Not only elaborate technical solutions are needed in this regard, but also design approaches that integrate climate considerations into the planning and construction process. 

The issue focuses on bioclimatic construction and introduces projects that have developed strategies for dealing with climatic conditions in order to improve the quality of indoor and outdoor spaces. Instead of costly high-tech solutions, we compiled examples that approach regional conditions with carefully planned, low-tech measures to great effect – from the subtropics in Malawi to the glacier region of Norway and Mediterranean Europe. In Hanoi, a tube-style house by Vo Trong Nghia Architects filters strong sunlight through concrete slats, and allows air to circulate between the floors to ventilate its deep, narrow spaces. To protect from monsoon rains, the Dutch firm SchilderScholte developed a prototypical concept for a community center in Bangladesh, that makes use of local bamboo and drains rainwater off wide roof overhangs, which also provide shade. 

Our documentation and technology articles in this issue take you to a variety of climatic regions and countries, from Lebanon to the Alps, Ecuador, and the United States. They present convincing concepts for climate-­responsive building, addressing an important aspect of sustainability that is often overlooked.