Architecture Publications

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International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability





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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.


This article is from The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability 3 (2008): 15–8. Posted with permission.

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Common Ground, Ulrike Passe



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