Architecture Excercise Earth, Wind & Fire (1)

The Earth, Wind & Fire concept links climate design, building physics, and systems to an architectural assignment. Through this holistic approach to the design, the distance of understanding between architect and engineer is reduced which is a primary objective of the study. The architect will be given, by axiom, a major role in the design of the climate system and energy efficiency of buildings. By designing climate facilities as elements for architectural expression, air conditioning technology is no longer subordinate to architecture but is itself part of architecture. Designing a building as a climate machine also makes it the responsibility of the architect who, thereby, also becomes partly responsible for indoor climate and energy management.

According to Professor Cees van Beers of TU Delft, it is logical that existing companies do not produce great innovations. “An innovation that overthrows existing structures undermines their position, and existing organizations don’t have any need for that. Radical changes must come from new companies.”  Such new companies do not yet exist for the Earth, Wind & Fire concept, of course, however, hopefully, encouragement from the faculties of Architecture at TU Delft and TU Eindhoven will assist in this endeavour.

The first phase in this exercise is an architectural exercise for master’s degree students that will begin in the second half of 2013. The purpose is to give the E,W & F concept, as developed from a climate-technical perspective, shape as architecture and construction in order to test and validate it.

In the curriculum of Architecture, the development of students is, of course, the first matter of importance. The goal of the exercise is then to be formulated as follows:

•             Development of the student.

•             Testing the E,W & F concept in various situations and building typologies.

•             Testing the computer programs for the solar chimney and climate cascade.

•             Showcase and PR of the E,W & F concept for the building industry.

In mid-2013, partly due to obtaining my PhD, there is a significant amount of interest in the Earth, Wind & Fire concept, and it is, therefore, a good time to create momentum and make the construction industry enthusiastic about the concept.

A new development is probably the most interesting for students. A program could be drawn up for an office building of, for instance, a 10,000 m2 gfa example of 10 stories. Students are free to choose the typology such as single and double corridor, atrium building, etc. In this design, a specific infrastructure for air distribution could be designed, which is very interesting for an architect. The choice of location for such a building is rather difficult. Moreover, a new development is rather unrealistic in these times as evidenced by the many vacant office buildings.

Revitalization of an existing office building seems more realistic and is, therefore, in principle, preferred. The location is fixed in this case as is, grosso modo, the program. Moreover, it is interesting and useful to connect universities with real-world construction in this manner.

In order to generate PR for the E,W & F concept, it would be nice to make a competition of this exercise complete with jury and awards. In the first round, both in Delft and Eindhoven, an exhibition of the designs will be held and the best/most beautiful design will be given an award. In the second round, all designs, models and drawings will be exhibited, for example, in the NAI, and the first prize will be announced. All of this, of course, will be surrounded by much publicity.

For further information about the architecture exercise of EW & F, see ….