The newly interest for wind catchers have a lot to learn from the heritage, but purely traditional solutions seems rather hard to apply and to be accepted by contemporary architects. However, it seems that combining traditional knowledge and advanced technology is therefore necessary. The value of the architecture of the past as well as the architects’ aspiration of realizing architecture that is environmentally relevant to its region can provide an inspiration for future innovative approaches.
The ‘Windcatcher Tower’ is an expressive example of futuristic, energy-conscious building. It is a schematic design presented in a skyscraper architectural competition in 2008, by Tassilo Hager, Germany. It used the same concept of the traditional windcatcher by employing the buildings’ envelope to catch the wind and funnel it to the whole building.
Image credit: The windcatcher Tower, 2008, by Tassilo Hager
The Shower Tower, in Australia represents another impressive and realized project in the 21st architecture, which would move the history into the future. The design concept of the energy systems behind the heating/cooling and fresh air system is innovative and extensive. As shown in, the shower towers ventilate the retail space below the office levels. Outside air is drawn in from high levels, (eight meters or more above street level), and induce into the space. As this air falls within the shower tower, it is cooled through the evaporation of water.
Image credit:The Shower Tower, Australia
The ‘Eco Cybernetic City’, designed by Orlando De Urrutia, exhibits a futuristic design for capturing the prevailing wind to provide a fresh and cool air. It represents a new interpretation to the principles of the traditional windcatcher. The building Features a two-tower structure, which is equipped with aero-generators that take advantage of the airflows between the towers to generate wind energy.
Image credit: ‘Eco Cybernetic City’, designed by Orlando De Urrutia
The preceding discussion over the previous four parts (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4) raised the awareness of the importance of the traditional wind-catcher and helped opens possibilities for improving the performance and widening the applicability of wind catchers. This will bring new opportunities for using this old heritage passive cooling system in today world. The lack of real world model development is one of the factors that currently inhibit the wide application of the windcatcher technology. The existence of such built examples in different parts of the world provides a starting point for the research necessary to develop practical guidelines for the design of windcatchers for all types of buildings. There is no doubt that if the leading architects of contemporary architecture realized buildings with windcatchers, it would have attracted the attention of a much wider public and this valued architectural device would have found a new dimension in the 21st century architecture.
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- Abdel-Mohsen Saleh Mito, Hassan Fathy and Balkrishna Doshi: Two Regional Architects in the Context of Modern Architecture. Thesis (Ph.D.) - University of Georgia. 1990, pp. 86,104.
- Gut Paul and Ackerknecht Dieter. Climate Responsive Building. SKAT, 1993.
- Main picture: http://www.ecofriend.com/entry/self-powered-eco-cybernetic-city-interacts-with-the-surrounding-environment/