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Thermal Comfort: The Latest Architecture and News

Reimagining The Mashrabiya: Functionality and Symbolism in Contemporary Architecture

For centuries, arid environments have solved the problem of light, privacy, and heat through a statement architectural feature of Islamic and Arab architecture, the mashrabiya. Crafted from geometric patterns traditionally made from short lengths of turned wood, the mashrabiya features lattice-like patterns that form large areas. Traditionally, it was used to catch wind and offer passive cooling in the dry Middle Eastern desert heat. Frequently used on the side street of a built structure, water jars, and basins were placed inside it to activate evaporative cooling. The cool air from the street would pass through the wooden screen, providing air movement for the occupants.

Similar to the Indian jali, the vernacular language also offers a playful experience with daylight while still maintaining a certain degree of privacy. Traced back to Ottoman origins, the perforated screens protected occupants’ from the sun while simultaneously letting daylight through in calculated doses. Although the mashrabiya was a statement in arab and Islamic architecture languages, it wasn’t until 1987 that the archetypal element began appearing with a revised contemporary application.

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What Is an Urban Oasis? Combating the Excessive Heat of Cities

We are on the brink of concluding the hottest year in the past 125,000 years. Recently, elevated temperatures have adversely impacted the daily routines of a significant portion of the population, particularly those who spend most of their day outdoors without access to air-conditioned environments. Excessive heat stems from various sources, both natural and human-induced. Given the grim outlook on this matter, it becomes imperative to explore structural measures to address and mitigate the potential deterioration of public health caused by escalating temperatures.

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Arctic Architecture: 17 Projects that Explore Different Heating Techniques in Interior Spaces

Some of the most picturesque projects are those built in the mountains; the rustic cabin wrapped with a floor-to-ceiling glass panel that overlooks the snow-covered trees. Visually, the architecture exudes an enchanting feeling, but is it truly a habitable space? When houses are built on an elevation of 3,000 meters, installing a fire element alone is not efficient or sustainable. Spaces on such altitudes or particular geographic locations require to be treated thoroughly, beginning with the architecture itself. Whether it's through hydronic in-floor heating systems or wall-mounted chimneys, this interior focus explores how even the most extreme winter conditions did not get in the way of ensuring optimum thermal comfort.

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What is a Good Interior Design?

The world's recent shift towards prioritizing wellness has influenced people to seek healthier lifestyles by understanding the body and the mind collectively. External factors such as the geographic location, the environment, the community, financial status, and the relationships with friends and family have all shown to have considerable impacts on an individual's health. However, it became evident that ensuring physical and mental health was not limited to having access to medical facilities and professional treatments, but was also determined by several factors related to the quality of the built environment. 

Architects have a choice to design better and consequently, help people make better choices. So what is considered a good interior design, and what are the factors that make any interior space a good one? In this interior focus, we will explore this "good" side of design, looking at how architects ensured the needs of users by acknowledging accessibility, demographic diversity, economy, and the environment, regardless of aesthetic.

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The W Macau, Zaha Hadid's Newest Addition to Studio City, Opens to the Public

One of the two hotels Zaha Hadid Architects designed in their Hollywood-Inspired “Studio City” Resorts has just opened to the public. Located in the Cotai district of Macau, the resort features leisure, entertainment, and hospitality facilities, including one of Asia’s largest indoor & outdoor water parks. The resort also features 557 rooms and suites spread across 40 floors. Inspired by Hollywood, ZHA was commissioned in 2018 to expand the resort, resulting in Studio City Phase 2.

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Fortyseven Thermal Wellness Spa: A Contemporary Sanctuary Designed by Mario Botta and Captured by Paul Clemence

Fortyseven is a novel thermal wellness spa designed by the architect Mario Botta, nestled alongside the Limmat River in Baden, Switzerland. Baden, renowned for its rich cultural and wellness offerings, boasts a spa heritage that extends over thousands of years. The Fortyseven Thermal Wellness Spa has revitalized this historical legacy by presenting wellness culture through a modern lens. Designed by Mario Botta, this project offers an immersive encounter for the body, mind, and soul. The essence of the site and its design is captured by the lens of architectural photographer Paul Clemence, in his latest series.

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Empowering Thermal Comfort Through Smartphone Technology in HVAC Systems

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Heating and cooling buildings have always been two of the most important challenges in ensuring indoor user comfort. At a biological level, our bodies generate heat through metabolism, a physicochemical process. And although the human body has temperature regulation mechanisms, such as sweating and vasodilation, sometimes we need additional help to achieve thermal comfort. Therefore, since ancient times, traditional strategies have been sought to help achieve this, and many have been adapted to their historical and material contexts.

Heating Outdoor Areas Without Compromising on Visual Appeal

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Outdoor dining and activities have gained increasing appreciation in recent years. We value the sense of freedom and adventure, and the possibility of socialization that they provide, as well as the connection with nature. As a result, outdoor spaces are becoming more popular in residential and commercial designs, as new features made specifically for these types of spaces can enhance the comfort and well-being of occupants. This is because when dealing with nature there can be a variety of inconveniences related to weather, such as wind, rain, or cold temperatures. In order to properly enjoy these areas all year-round, solutions can usually include outdoor heating. However, typical heaters tend to have clumsy and old-fashioned designs, detracting from the careful design of the rest of the environment.

Climate Ceilings: Combining Thermal, Acoustic and Visual Comfort

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Every day, architects and designers tackle an ambitious task: crafting spaces that not only captivate the eye but that also nurture the health and well-being of those who inhabit them. A key part of this mission involves implementing design strategies that foster a pleasant indoor climate, as temperature, humidity and air quality all have a significant impact on users’ mood, productivity and overall health. Humans simply operate better if they are comfortable and content in their home or working environment. Although air-conditioning, ventilation and heating systems have conventionally served as popular solutions to regulate indoor climate, they often carry with them undesirable consequences –the presence of dust and bacteria, the need for regular maintenance and a cluttered, unappealing look. There is, however, an alternative solution.

What Are Ecological Fireplaces and How Do They Work?

What Are Ecological Fireplaces and How Do They Work? - Featured Image
Apartamento LR / nmdarq. Image: © nmdarq

Bringing fire indoors is something many people want during winter. In addition to warming the environment, fire creates a unique sensation that goes back to the beginnings of human habitation, leading us to a certain emotional comfort. Before, a chimney and a stock of firewood were needed to guarantee this, nowadays there are ecological fireplaces, which can be built-in or portable: a great choice for those who live in apartments or do not like the smoke generated by the fire.

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Balancing Energy-Efficiency and Aesthetics: Large-Scale Thermal Fenestration Systems

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The total energy demand from buildings has risen dramatically in recent years. Driven by improved access in developing countries, greater ownership of energy-consuming devices and increasing urban densities, today it accounts for over one-third of global energy consumption and nearly 15% of direct CO2 emissions. As the climate crisis aggravates and its consequences are more visible than ever, the architecture and construction industry must respond accordingly. It must take responsibility for its environmental impact and give priority to reducing energy consumption, whether through design decisions, construction techniques or innovative products. The key lies, however, in not sacrificing aesthetics and comfort in the process.

Mapping Shadows in Cities: The Solar Trajectory in Digital and Interactive Tools

Mapping Shadows in Cities: The Solar Trajectory in Digital and Interactive Tools - Featured Image
Photo by Joao Tzanno on Unsplash

Understanding how shadows will act in and around an area is a necessary understanding to ensure greater spatial quality. Shadows can influence natural lighting - therefore, the perception of space - and also issues of thermal comfort. Thus, mapping your projections and visualizing their movements during each season of the year can be fundamental to improve your project. The good news is that there are simple tools that help you visualize this in your city and in natural environments.

What Can We Learn About Zero Carbon From Lelé’s Work?

The Zero Carbon policy is intended to create a kind of ecological balance to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions. Several studies report that the construction sector is one of the main responsible for the unbalance in which we find ourselves today, after all, it consumes natural resources on a gigantic scale and still builds buildings that do not collaborate with the maintenance of the environment. Therefore, searching for paths towards a carbon neutral architecture has become fundamental and one of them is learning from past masters, such as the Brazilian architect João Filgueiras Lima, known as Lelé.

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5 Things to Consider When Designing a High-Performance Façade

Façade is one of the most important factors in certain building types, that can completely transform the occupant experience and the energy performance of the building. The Whole Building Design Guide showcases that the facade can have up to 40% impact on the total energy use of the building. In addition to the energy use, the facades also significantly impact the occupant productivity withing a building and, of course, the appearance of the building. There are many factors that go into creating a high-performance façade. In this article, we outline the top 5 things a design team should consider.