Global warming like no other topic will have a major impact on how we expect the build environment to perform. While building with the industrial movement in mind always was driven by the idea of an unlimited supply of fossil energy resources, we face today the challenge to achieve more with less.
Building most of the time was geared towards creating the best environment possible. The result can be seen as a compromise between social, economic und individual needs. Change in many instances facilitated by shifting social and economic parameters on one side but also by opportunities which created space for innovation.
The void of renaissance palazzo reads in a figure ground drawing very similar to any other court yard across the world. Interesting enough this space had a different function which to a large degree was possible due to the climate at that given time. In general the court yard typology has a very long tradition and worked in various social den environmental conditions. With climate change in mind we want to explore how a building typology can adapt to different conditions.
The embodied energy of a building is still a major factor when looking at the energy balance of a building. Zero Net Buildings which are not able to adapt will lose their cutting edge once the layout of the building is no longer able to accommodate the needs of the people. Redundancy seems to be one requirement which allows for a well-integrated building. Professor Dr. Michael Braungart, author of the book “Cradle to Cradle” out lined the challenge when he pointed at the way nature works under pretty much the same conditions. He used the term effective versus efficient. A cherry tree would be efficient if it had only as much blossoms as there are cherries thereafter, instead there are many more which he considers effective.
The inherent quality of a building type allows for adaptation. Considering this potential we thrive to explore the possibility to develop a design strategy which allows a building to perform under different climate conditions, to be more precise the one today and the one of the future.
The 2014 summer academy aims to detect those architectural elements in building typology, which have proven to withstand the continuous challenges of our dynamic societies. While architecture magazines elaborate on zero carbon building standards, the public attention starts to address the challenges of global warming and an increasing world population. Trying to adapting to a rapidly changing climate, architecture as a profession is more than ever challenged to create spaces, which cater to ever changing conditions. Demographic changes provide further challenges demanding reuse and reprogramming of building structures.
Architectural space, separated from the external environment, always provided the benefit of physical comfort. The effort of building walls, roofs, doors and openings offered the opportunity to create spaces controlled and manipulated by mankind. Although the human skin, is able to adapt to numerous conditions like no other intelligent device, hot and cold, dry and humid, adapting to a much broader range of conditions and levels of comfort only developed with clothing, buildings and their envelope.
Programming of the building envelope meets new challenges with global warming. As Stephane Hallegatte, a French meteorologist outlined, it is no longer the question to build for one climate zone, instead, with the lifespan of buildings in mind, they need to be able to adapt and relate to two climate conditions: current and future.
Berlin’s urban fabric which developed following changes introduced by energy driven technical innovations like James Watt’s steam machine or Thomas Edison’s light bulb. Its building typology, which developed based on pattern books and best construction practices, is still today able to accommodate multiple shades of live – work scenarios. This outcome was not planned, but it rather means that we are able to value the building’s quality today with different occupancy patterns and can start to evaluate, which of their typological components might be suited as standards for sustainable buildings of the future.
Aldo Rossi outlined in L'architettura della città that the form of a city depends on the impact its buildings have on public spaces. Especially when the original program is outdated, good buildings live on and get adapted to new conditions. The boundary of the building reflects its position within the urban context and is determined by circulation and excluded spaces. This Janus faced phenomena of the building envelope, at the same time oriented towards the inside and the outside and providing separation as well as connection, offers a unique field of research to explore the in-between.
Today, more than 20 years after reunification, Berlin faces problems of gentrification and social segregation in its central districts. The development of the area along Köpenickerstrasse in Berlin Mitte has stalled for quite some time. The recent real estate push leads to a variety of different projects which all in general seek to benefit from the “creative neighborhood”.
Before we begin our workshop in Berlin, we will explore building typologies, which have been developed in a warmer climate in Florence, Italy. According to Hallegatte’s maps, Berlin will experience a similar climate as Florence in 2040-2070. Thus we will investigate the possibility of synergies between building types in Berlin and Florence. In approach to the issue, we will use simulation tools to study the impact of climate conditions, and thermal comfort on architectural typology and vice versa. We will start by looking at simple spatial proportions and geometries to understand the relationship between the building envelope and the quality of adjacent spaces. Climate affects the usability of indoor and outdoor spaces to a large degree. The inside and outside relationship expresses itself in the organization of circulation, window to wall ratio and shading devices.