Monday, April 29, 2019

Can architecture help beat the heat?

With heat wave already making Indians uncomfortable in many parts of the country, one questions arise that can architecture help beat the heat? Also, can we keep cool without air-conditioners? Architecture can play a big role in temperature reduction. With the help of the combination of right materials, direction and lot of windows and open spaces, the interiors can be kept cooler. Using bamboo and natural foliage to cover the facade and windows prevents heat penetration. Beating the heat with the help of architecture is not expensive but surely needs expertise!

Architects often quote examples of Pol Houses, some dating back nearly two centuries — weathered many a summers because of their unique architecture. A pol in India is a housing cluster which comprises many families of a particular group, linked by caste, profession, or religion. Pols are typical of urban centres in Gujarat especially of Old Ahmedabad.

The pol houses have grilled front door which is always open so that air enters inside the house. The scientifically designed air circulation system ensures that the hotter air gets upward movement through open courtyard which is later replaced by cooler air via smaller openings. Narrow lanes of the pols trap air to cool it.

The green cooling system recommends that home should have stone flooring, high ceiling and extensive cross-ventilation. This makes home at least 7-10° cooler than the ambient temperature.

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