SSB November 4, 2010

Ventilation incorporated into wall systems (stack effect, wall systems that leverage trapped heat)

Commerzbank building, Frankfurt

Pioneer, transition building

Moved the environmental control systems out of the mechanical room and into the building’s fabric in an unprecedented manner.

Driven by urban as much as a technical idea. Triangle with “trays.” As the building climbs, only two trays are filled, a third is a garden. Interior offices look across garden to the outside. Like a series of buildings within a building.

Can’t employ air-conditioning and natural ventilation at the same time (otherwise cooling the outdoors)







Square building (minimal pressure gradient)

Barrel vault (intermediary pressure gradient)

Parabolic paraboloid (high pressure gradient)

Old cars vs. New Cars: in past, car windows could be opened without tremendous turbulence. Modern cars are designed to be sealed.

(see: Daniels, “Design of Ecological Buildings”).

Thomes Herzog, (German architect)

Hall 26 Warehouse Project

Cool just the floor (only occupied space). Hot air at the top, ventilated flow beneath canopies, cool air at the base. Night lighting uses the same sources (coming off canopies), lighting the canopies and generating an even light.




Common architectural mistake: more light is better light.

Cult of transparency associated with modern architecture and its rise is build around a culture of light. Reduces our relationship and understanding of light to a unidimensional one.

How do we construct a luminous environment?

Play with idea of how our bodies deal with contrast. Interesting play between dimness and point sources of light (sparkle?).

Le Corbusier working with how to dematerialize the wall, Chapel at Longchamps, Notre Dame du Haut takes a much different approach to light. Deep consideration of relationship between light and mass. Plays very carefully with our perception. In the south wall, plays with thickness such that it recalls side chapels in earlier churches but also allows gradient from deep shadow to light.

Similarly played with by Tadao Ando, barely lighting the space but lighting the entire wall. Koshino. Soft glows created.

James Turrell. Works with light as a phenomenon of the eye. Mendota Stoppages: Began playing with blocking windows, how light would enter and eyes would adapt. Manipulate the space to construct three dimensional geometries with light as it moved across the space. Later, with artificial light, expect something in the corner that may not be there.

Light window reduces edge to a blade. Surface of the sky becomes a “moving screen.” See flatness of line drawn across the plane, but our eye pushes it into a dome form. Highlights how our eyes tend to perceive things.


Roden Crater

Steven Holl’s Bloch Building addition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City would likely qualify as a luminous design:


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