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Natural Ventilation: The Latest Architecture and News

Back to Basics: Natural Ventilation and its Use in Different Contexts

Automation is everywhere around us - our homes, furniture, offices, cars, and even our clothing; we have become so accustomed to being surrounded by automated systems that we have forgotten what life was like without them. And while automation has noticeably improved the quality of interior spaces with solutions like purified air and temperature control, nothing compares to the natural cool breeze of mother nature.

But just like everything else in architecture, there is no one size fits all; what works in Tanzania cannot work in Switzerland or Colombia. This is due to several reasons, such as the difference in wind direction, average temperature, spatial needs, and environmental restrictions (or lack thereof). In this article, we take a look at natural ventilation in all its forms, and how architects have employed this passive solution in different contexts. 

Obafemi University. Image via Prof. Dr. Zvi Efrat's Documentary© Dilanka BandaraFarming Kindergarten . Image © Hiroyuki Oki© Fernando Alda+ 30

How to Ensure Comfort and Well-Being in Small Spaces?

While some aspects of comfort and well-being in an indoor environment are related to external factors, such as natural lighting and ventilation, others are directly associated with the interior layout and the sensations created by architecture in the people living in that space.

It is always challenging to balance all of the elements that can provide greater comfort and well-being in interior design, particularly in small environments that must be fully optimized since it is not always possible to create large openings to the outside or even to accommodate the whole architectural program in a conventional manner.

Apartment in Saint Andreu / Oriol Garcia Muñoz. Image: © Aitor EstévezAppartement Spectral / BETILLON / DORVAL‐BORY. Courtesy of BETILLON / DORVAL‐BORYYojigen Poketto / elii. Image: © Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero | ImagenSubliminalU-shape room / Atelier tao+c. Image: © Fangfang Tian+ 15

Tube Houses: 15 Projects Reinterpreting the Narrow Vietnamese Residences

Walking down the streets of cities like Hanoi and Saigon in Vietnam, you might encounter houses with surprisingly narrow facades in contrast to the stacking of three to five floors, with windows for ventilation and natural light only on the front facade. These are the famous traditional Tube Houses. According to ancient popular culture, this type of housing emerged due to property taxes being based on the width of the facade, but the true reason is to optimize land use, allowing a larger number of plots in the same square.

However, this legacy is now being recreated in contemporary designs by Vietnamese architects. Old facades give way to innovative solutions featuring atriums for natural lighting and ventilation, courtyards and interior gardens, greenery incorporated into different environments, split-levels, etc., allowing for high-quality spaces. With that in mind, we have put together a selection of Tube Houses, together with their respective section drawings. Check out below:

Monkey House / Atelier Marko Brajovic

© Rafael Medeiros
© Rafael Medeiros

© Gustavo Uemura© Gustavo Uemura© Rafael Medeiros© Rafael Medeiros+ 25

  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  86
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2020
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: Docol, Mekal

Design Before Air Conditioning: A New Book Surveys Early Experiments in Climate Control

It’s easy to think of Modernism as inseparable from air conditioning, simply because we are surrounded by so much of it that is. A valuable reminder that this wasn’t always the case is provided in University of Pennsylvania architecture professor Daniel A. Barber’s Modern Architecture and Climate: Design Before Air Conditioning (Princeton University Press), which outlines the story of the febrile, flexible, and often-forgotten early experiments in climate control.

Cross Ventilation, the Chimney Effect and Other Concepts of Natural Ventilation

Sarah Kubitschek Hospital Salvador / João Filgueiras Lima. Image © Nelson Kon
Sarah Kubitschek Hospital Salvador / João Filgueiras Lima. Image © Nelson Kon

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.

This is a highly complex theme, but we have approached some of the concepts exemplifying them with built projects. A series of ventilation systems can help in the projects: natural cross ventilation, natural induced ventilation, chimney effect and evaporative cooling, which combined with the correct use of constructive elements allows improvement in thermal comfort and decrease in energy consumption.