A Slight yet Reliable Breeze

by Aaron Mendonca (MDes ’17), Sarah Kantrowitz (MArch ’17), and Jerónimo van Schendel Erice (MArch ’16)

Tuning thermal mass with daily temperature cycles to drive buoyancy ventilation, we propose a thermally resonant interior architecture that lightly conditions exterior space. Scaling from house to palace, an allometric balance between mass surface area, thermal exchange rate, interior volume and aperture all works together to drive a gentle breeze.

Courtyard Breeze by Day

While comfort is codified, experience may be characterized through sensation. Ventilation, inside of a building, is fresh air changes but at the boundary it is a breeze. Characteristic ventilation is a function of stack height and temperature differential. Generating a sensible breeze involves clustering apertures at two ends of a maximum stack. Sufficient air changes requires a morphology that wraps a large mass surface over a tight interior volume. At the same time, the morphology must funnel breeze into a spatial experience without losing it to the vastness of an exterior sink.The courtyard satisfies these requirements encouraging a resonating architecture that goes beyond the comfort consensus so as to afford experience. During the hot afternoon hours, the interior thermal mass leaks a cool gentle breeze into the courtyard.

Courtyard Breeze

Balcony Breeze By Night

Scaling up to a palace grants a greater stack and stronger characteristic ventilation. However, leveraging the full power of the stack imposes a spatial program that arranges, in series, along the ventilation stream. Walls as well as structural floors act as thermal mass allowing for a high rate of exchange within a narrow volume. Floors are punctured in a staggered manner, at the center and then the periphery, causing the ventilation stream to weave around them. During the day, a cool downdraft descends into the building’s porch, much like the courtyard turned inside out. At night, the thermal mass drives a warm updraft that blows into the highest balcony.

Balcony Breeze