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Wind tunnel office concept pitched at tropical climes


February 7, 2012

The wind-inducing anabatic office concept from architectural practice Betillin/Dorval-Bory...

The wind-inducing anabatic office concept from architectural practice Betillin/Dorval-Bory seeks to cool office workers in hot and humid climates without a killer energy footprint (Image: Betillon / Dorval Bory)

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By embracing wind "as an architectural element", architectural practice Betillon/Dorval-Bory believes its anabatic office concept is ideally suited to hot and humid climes. But rather than relying on natural air movement, the anabatic office seeks to create its own wind, so that energy-efficient cooling can occur where little natural wind occurs. Anabatic is a word that describes an uphill wind generated by a localized heat source.

"To regulate our internal temperature in hot climates, our body produces sweat, which by its evaporation cools the skin," the architects explain. "Alas, humid climates generally prevent the rapid evaporation, due to the saturation of air with water vapor. ... As a result it is common to use ceiling fans in tropical countries, helping to maintain air movement and thus generate the cooling."

The anabatic office adopts a different approach to wind production, by creating a temperature differential inducing the air to move. A large dark south-facing surface captures heat energy from the sun, remaining warm throughout the day. Air near to the wall warms and rises, creating a thermal that draws in air near to the ground.

The dark surface required to create the thermal current can be put to use as a parking lot...

By building the office to one side of this thermal, and restricting air flow on the other sides with walls, the architects hope to channel air flow through the office as it is the only route for air being sucked into the the thermal. The office needs to be built at a lower level than the thermal to avoid the reflux of hot air into the space. To maximize this airflow, the building is designed to fit within a completely enclosed tube - effectively a wind tunnel.

The concept demonstrates particular attention to detail in proposing an alternative use for the dark surface as a parking lot, with tar, as any child will tell you, particularly suited as a store of thermal energy.

The office is specifically envisaged as an office for Costa Rican environmental protection NGO, FundeCoR.

Source: Betillon/Dorval-Bory via designboom

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway

All that to replace a ceiling fan?

7th February, 2012 @ 09:03 am PST

So does it work? How well?

Carlos Grados
7th February, 2012 @ 05:16 pm PST

n3r0, build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door. At least until they realize that it isn't as cheap, reliable or efficient as the old mouse trap.

7th February, 2012 @ 11:27 pm PST

how possible?

Okechukwu D Odinaka
8th February, 2012 @ 11:51 am PST

I would build a solar powered absorption refrigeration air conditioning system.

8th February, 2012 @ 07:57 pm PST

A perfect example of non-frugal innovation. With that budget, you could build a whole business park of bamboo buildings cooled by ceiling fans and thermostatic fresh-air systems.

12th February, 2013 @ 01:42 pm PST
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