Sustainable Building Typologies: Free Flow Open Space as a Climate Technology

By Ulrike Passe.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A holistic approach to sustainability taking into consideration environmental, economic, cultural and social issues manifests itself in the built environment. Integrative design leading to architecture, well-tempered in light, colour, materiality and space has for centuries been able to bring up qualities to make the daily life comfortable. My research investigates the complex relationship between spatial composition and building typology on one hand and thermal and climatic conditions within and between buildings on the other hand.

This research started with House Marxen a project in which the spatially interconnected volumes support the air flow to such a degree that the temperature is kept within an acceptable range. The aim is to achieve greater energy efficiency in buildings as a key factor to a sustainable environment with spatial means while considering the diversity of climates.

This paper asks, how spatial typology as a cultural phenomenon can contribute to and enrich the development of sustainability and the reduction of energy consumption in architecture and building. Natural ventilation has been an integral part of the development of architectural typology. With the development of mechanical air conditioning in the course if mechanization, building typology and the devices for heating and cooling have been separated in the design process.

With the aim to reunite these essential means for a sustainable built environment this paper studies the development of free flow open spaces in the courtyard house typology with a re-reading of selected architectural icons of Modernism focusing in this paper on architectural works by Alvar Aalto and Charles Correa. Analytical drawings and further computational methods are proposed to gain greater sustainability in buildings through architectural design and spatial composition thinking space itself as a climate technology.

Keywords: Free-flow Open Space, Architectural Typology, Energy Efficiency, Natural Air-flow and Ventilation, Alvar Aalto, Sustainable Architecture

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.15-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.022MB).

Ulrike Passe

Lecturer, Department of Architecture, College of Design, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA

Ulrike Passe is currently a Lecturer of Architecture at Iowa State University. She studied at the Technical University Berlin and at UCL, The Bartlett London, received a Diplom-Ingenieur in Architecture degree (German equivalent of MS degree) from the Technical University in Berlin in 1990, is a licensed architect in Germany since 1993 and a member of the Bund Deutscher Architekten (BDA) since 2005. She has more than 15 years of experience in professional practice and is founding partner of Passe-Kaelber Architects (Berlin, Germany) a firm specializing in passive design means for energy efficient buildings using space as technology. She taught architectural design and building technology from 1993 until 1999 at the Technical University (Berlin) where she also worked on a research project on flexible typologies in systematic steel construction and from 2004-2005 she obtained a research faculty position at the University of Applied Science in Potsdam, Germany. Her architectural work has been published in German, Italian and English speaking journals and books. Her research focuses on free flow open space and airflow intertwined between culture, climate and nature for energy efficiency and sustainability. She presented papers on her research on architecture, ‘indoor air quality’ and sustainability conferences and recently won one of eight 2007 Architecture Research Awards from the Boston Society of Architecture (BSA).


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