Wind Pressures, SSB November 2, 2010

Wind Pressures

If you understand prevailing winds and how buildings react to prevailing winds, you begin to understand where you’ll have positive and negative pressure and manipulate the building shape accordingly

Air always moves from positive pressure to negative pressure in an attempt to equalize
Wind speed lower near the ground and higher as it rises

Jeanne Gang, Aqua Skyscraper, Chicago

Responds to winds, terraces counteract wind and create outdoor space.
Understanding forces as wind wraps around building to figure out where you can put balconies, finding pools of calm air
Most intense winds will be at the corners.

Link to a Paul Goldberger review of the structure:
Special categories: Bio-climatic towers, Wind energizers

Big buildings: Vertical movement

Smaller buildings: cross ventilation. See: Glenn Murcutt in Australia; windows letting in high light. On the inside: projected window related to kitchen so that a set of vents draws air from one side to the other while louvers shade.

Broken Hill Mining Museum (unbuilt): Dealing with above ground and below ground. Underneath: grotto like space. Above space: display machinery and architecture that reflects the aesthetic of mine construction. Garden space conceived to cool and humidify the air that is captured beneath the soffit.

What’s going on is just as important as the building.

Link to a revealing essay on the museum’s conception, published in Perspecta by MIT Press:

Salt Chamber

Sauerbruch & Hutton, GSW Building in Berlin, (Early to mid-90s, paved way for generation of buildings)

Program: large addition that radically reduced energy costs. Result of competition.

Intended to set up an east-west dialogue in the newly reunited Berlin

West face rather than south face, hence the vertical louvers. West gets significant exposure given its geography.

Holds two edges of block structure, urban fabric. Creating the two primary streets. Ground floor creates a through passage.

East side: weaving or mosaic of blank panels, window panels, floor panels to draw air into the room, across the floor and out.

As the winds are carried across (much thought given to breezes in relation to ground), strove to get air flow beneath the wing. Series of principles: maximization of natural light with opening on east and west walls; buffer zones on both sides: one thick, one thin, acting as thermal buffers; significant heat recovery system, thermal mass of building becomes main stabilizing force.

“Cult of standardization that characterized much of modern architecture and building design has been altered by computer’s ability to run straight from a set of digital drawings to digital fabrication: standardization doesn’t matter any more. Just as easy to construct different modules as similar modules.”

Renzo Piano, Mercedes Benz Headquarters

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