Although the sun is almost 150 million kilometers away, this star has had the most impact on our planet. But while some are busy chasing the sun for sun-kissed skin, architects are all about creating sun-kissed spaces.
Architects are increasingly aware of our influence on the well-being and good health of the users of our projects. Natural lighting –and how it should be complemented with artificial lighting– is an essential factor to consider for the visual comfort of interior spaces. But, do we know how to handle it correctly?
The dramatic improvement in recent decades in our understanding of sustainable design has shown that designing sustainably doesn't have to be a compromise—it can instead be a benefit. When done correctly, sustainable design results in higher-performing, healthier buildings which contribute to their inhabitants' physical and mental well-being.
When we think of energy from renewable sources, the first that probably come to mind are solar and wind. And decentralizing power generation is something that has inspired engineers and inventors from all over the world.
So what about turning the mechanical energy generated when people walk into electrical energy? It can be done thanks to technology developed by Laurence Kemball-Cook,founder of Pavegen. Using platforms inserted within sidewalks Pavegen converts steps into electric power (while also generating data and even rewards). But before you go out there feeling like Michael Jackson in Billie Jean, you should understand how this system works.
More than half the world’s population lives in dense urban areas. Uncomfortably loud restaurants, stores, hotels, or offices are enough to keep patrons away. When planning a meeting or even a night out with friends, we are conscious of selecting a location where we can focus and hear one another. The noisier our world gets, the more difficulty we have focusing on the sounds we actually want to hear.
Have you ever found yourself losing a good night’s sleep due to an overly warm room? Or wearing four jackets and a scarf just to tolerate your office’s frigid air conditioning? Truth be told, you can’t please everyone when it comes to adjusting an indoor climate, and there is always that one unfortunate individual who ends up sacrificing their own comfort for the sake of others.
If asked about comfort, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Luxurious finishes, plush chairs and sleek interiors? Few would think of their office, and the likely culprit is a fundamental ignorance of an alternative definition of comfort. When defined as a state of physical well-being derived from the provisions that are necessary for occupants to perform space-specific tasks, it’s apparent that architects play a key role--and that comfort is not just about spaces that are comfortable for leisure activities.
Nothing is more rational than using the wind, a natural, free, renewable and healthy resource, to improve the thermal comfort of our projects. The awareness of the finiteness of the resources and the demand for the reduction in the energy consumption has removed air-conditioning systems as the protagonist of any project. Architects and engineers are turning to this more passive system to improve thermal comfort. It is evident that there are extreme climates in which there is no escape, or else the use of artificial systems, but in a large part of the terrestrial surface it is possible to provide a pleasant flow of air through the environments by means of passive systems, especially if the actions are considered during the project stage.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the massive production of architecture today. Scroll through ArchDaily for more than a minute and even we'd forgive you for losing track of it all. But what seems like an endless scroll of architectural production doesn't quite fit with the popular movements surrounding resource sharing and community.
Home automation, or Domotics, is a set of technologies applied to a residence to control lighting, climate, entertainment systems, and appliances. Its systems allow for efficient management of energy consumption, security, accessibility, and the general comfort of the building, becoming an important issue to consider when designing, building, and living.