RCAT - Research Center for Architecture and Tectonics

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ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY FROM A PERFORMANCE PERSPECTIVE

[2010 - ongoing]

 

RESEARCH LEADER

Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel

 

AHO CORE RESEARCH TEAM

Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Defne Sunguroglu Hensel, Asst. Prof. Søren S. Sørensen, Asst. Prof. Joakim Hoen


The survival of traditional societies over hundreds and thousands of years indicates that they surely possessed knowledge that can still be of great value either in its original form or as the basis for new developments … architects must thoroughly analyse traditional building methods and forms using scientific principles and an understanding of social and cultural requirements before discarding any of them.

Walter Shearer, Foreword to Hassan Fathy, Natural Energy and Vernacular Architecture – Principles and Examples with Reference to Hot Arid Climates, The University of Chicago Press (Chicago), 1986, p xvi + xviii

Our research focuses on the question as to how architectural design can meet increasingly complex sustainability demands and support the bio-physical environment instead of degrading it. To try and meet this goal we undertake extensive analyses of historical case studies of architectures and constructions across a wide range of heritage types, as well as of natural environments and processes with the aim to examine how these might inform location-specific design approaches. In this context we understand the natural and human-managed environment, as well as architectural history, as a vast repository of embedded knowledge that lays dormant unless it is uncovered through sustained research efforts. This knowledge may be part of living traditions in which the specific architectural design and the operational logic of the respective architectures is still known and accessible, or in other cases the particular traditions may no longer be alive and thus a careful analysis must ensue to open up the knowledge embedded in such architectures, constructions, settlement patterns, etc. What underlies this research in all cases is the intent to understand how architectures might interact with their specific setting and circumstances to the inherently correlated benefit of both architecture and environment. The research includes different types of architectures and constructions in different regions of the world. These research projects are part of RCAT's ARCHITECTURE + ENVIRONMENT research area and focuses on architectural history from a performance perspective.


DIFFUSE HERITAGE - TERRACED LANDSCAPES


Grospoli Terrace, Lamole, Toscany, Italy

Research Team:

1. Oslo School of Architecture and Design

Research Center for Architecture and Tectonics + Advanced Computational Design Laboratory

Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Asst. Prof. Søren S. Sørensen, Asst. Prof. Joakim Wiig Hoen, University Lecturer Sofia Martins da Cunha, Research Fellow Sareh Saeidi,

Research Fellow Defne Sunguroğlu Hensel

2. University of Florence

GESAAF - Department of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Systems Department

Prof. Dr. Federico Preti, Asst. Prof. Mauro Agnoletti, Asst. Prof. Dr. Daniele Penna, Research Fellow Andrea Dani, Research Fellow Enrico Guastini

DICEA - Civil and Environmental Engineering Department - GECO - Geomatics for Conservation and Communication of Cultural Heritage Laboratory

Associate Professor Dr. Grazia Tucci; Valentina Bonora, Researcher at Geco University of Florence; Ardjiana Gjinaj, Master student University of Florence;

Niccolò De Ruvo, Master student University of Florence; Reza Alaeifsar, Master student University of Florence

3. Instituto Geografico Militare

Col. ing. Enzo Santaro - IGM survey team Coordinator; Gianni Giovannoni, Survey technician – IGM (Military Geographic Institute);

Vittoria De Vita, Survey technician – IGM  (Military Geographic Institute); Marianna Carroccio, Survey technician - IGM (Military Geographic Institute)

4. Ileron

Filippo Fiaschi, UAV pilot

This research project addresses questions of environment, economy, productive landscapes and the related role of architectural design and architectures within the context of an expanded sustainability approach to human-dominated environments. It does so by focusing on diffuse heritage and on historical long-practiced means of altering landscapes for improved agricultural production. More specifically the aim is to examine in how far Italian historical terraced landscapes that utilize dry stonewalls result in improved climatic conditions for agricultural production and what this potentially implies for future designs. This research and the collected data are expected to provide some insight into this question, as well as to shed light on why the dry wall constructions that facilitates the terraced landscape are deteriorating. This is of major significance since terraced landscapes are ubiquitous in Italy and have fallen into a condition of disrepair. Terraces in the state of disrepair accelerate soil erosion and landslides, whereas well-maintained terraces prevent soil erosion and landslides and provide favorable local climate modulation that enables enhanced growing of produce, i.e. red grapes for wine production, at altitudes at which it is not normally possible. Terraces are said to help maintain a favorable amount of sand in the soil, which enables uptake of oxygen by the roots. Terraces oriented all plants in a favorable way towards the sun for increased photosynthesis. This is said to be further enhanced by the thermal performance of the dry stonewalls that are assumed to extent the temperature range for effective photosynthesis by up to two hours in the late afternoon when temperatures begin to rapidly fall at higher altitudes. However, since hard data on the costs for maintaining dry stonewalls and their climatic performance is missing, detailed policies have not been established to help maintain terraced landscapes. If required data would be available maintenance efforts and costs could be established and made part of national policies that help develop viable business models for small-scale farmers that rely on terraced landscapes.

When it was realized that data-collection and analyses could help solve several interrelated problems it was possible to configure an interdisciplinary team to pursue this task. We collaborate with GESAAF - Department of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Systems Department at the University of Florence, Italy. For the purpose of advanced documentation the team collaborates with the Laboratory of Geomatics for Conservation and Communication of Cultural Heritage at the University of Florence, as well as the Geographical Institute of the Italian Military. In our group we utilized our master-level study to design speculative projects for a research facility for the site that do not alter the local climate resulting from the terraced landscape and that therefore do not interrupt the agricultural use and productivity of the site. This is with the intention to develop an information-based approach to architectural design that is finely attuned with its specific setting and thus sustainable above and beyond any established sustainable measures that are currently in action. This is pointing towards an approach to design architectures that are finely attuned to favorable local conditions. With the addition of the speculative design projects we were able to mobilize a succinct research by design effort geared towards this purpose.

Terraces Views_lowres

Terraced Landscape in Lamole, Italy: view of a dry stone, wall and two views of a situation of disrepair (top); view of the northern section of the Lamole valley with the Grospoli Terraces (bottom). Photography: Michael U. Hensel

Terraces DataCollection_01

Analysis of Terraced Landscape (Lamole, Italy), top left two right: preparation of GPS markers; establishment of GPS data for markers; preparation of drone; drone flight; bottom: photogrammetry model of the terraces.

Terraces DataCollection_02

Analysis of Terraced Landscape (Lamole, Italy), top: preparation of measure stations with sensors for ambient temperature and humidity, soil temperature and humidity, solar radiation, wind direction and speed, precipitation; one measure-station in the vineyard.


HISTORICAL CASE STUDIES - ARCHITECTURES + ENVIRONMENT


NORWEGIAN CASE STUDIES

Borgund Stave Church, ca. 1180-1250 AD, Borgund, Lærdal, Norway

Research Team: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Joakim Hoen, Senior Lecturer Kolbjørn Nesje Nybø

Research Assistants: Evdokia Karamitzia, Joakim Wassum Imset, Sotiria Kriemadi

Airflow Analysis: Mehran Gharelghi, Amin Sadegy (studiointegrate)

Rapid Prototyping: Prof. Dr. Steinar Killi, Research Fellow William Kempton

Stave churches are medieval wooden churches that once existed across the northwest of Europe. Today the most of the remaining stave churches, 28 in total, are found in Norway. The original number of Norwegian stave churches has been stipulated somewhere between one and two thousand. Excavations at various stave churches (i.e. Hemse and Urnes) indicate that stave churches might have evolved from palisade and post churches. Post churches features posts rammed into the earth, a construction type that can be found in Viking houses, while stave churches feature posts resting on sill frames that are raised on stone foundations. Stave churches are commonly divided into two types [i] structures without freestanding posts, and [ii] structures with a raised roof and internal freestanding posts. The latter type is divided into the Kaupanger group, which features a complete arcade row of posts and intermediary posts, and the Borgund group which features extensive cross-bracing that made the lower parts of intermediary posts redundant. Roofed-over Galleries along the church perimeter offered shelter from the climate and space for processions and the diseased and others that were not admitted into the church. The Borgund stave church is the best preserved of Norway’s stave churches. An environmental performance analysis and an analysis of the management of forest resources to build and maintain a stave church over time is currently underway.


Borgund photo_combi_lowres

Photography: Michael U. Hensel

Borgund rp_combi

Borgund Stave Church: sectional rapid prototype model scale 1/50

Borgund AirflowAnalysis_combi_lowres

Borgund Stave Church: airflow analysis, longitudinal section (left), planar sections 1m, 3m, 5m, 7m, 9m, and 11m (right)


ITALIAN CASE STUDIES

Trulli, Apulia

Research Team: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Prof. Søren Sørensen, Joakim Hoen, Prof. Steinar Killi

Computational Modeling and VR Visualisation: ACDL Advanced Computational Design Laboratory / Studio

Magdalena Georgieva Alfredova, Eva-Liiisa Lepik, Elena Krasteva, Eskil Ravnanger Landet

Rapid Prototyping: AHO Rapid Prototyping Laboratory - Prof. Dr. Steinar Killi, Research Fellow William Kempton

A trullo (plural trulli) is a dry stone structure with a corbelled dome roof made from stone. The use of these buildings included dwellings, stables, storehouses, various forms of wine and food production, etc. While trulli are typical for the Murgia dei Trulli in Apulia, Italy, similar forms exist in other arid regions of the Mediterranean wherever suitable stone was present. The Murgia is a dry karst plateau with little permanent surface water. Rainwater needs to be collected in basins and cisterns. The construction of cisterns and trulli were frequently interrelated as the stone that was excavated in the process of building cisterns were used to built trulli either directly on top of the cisterns or in direct vicinity. As Edward Allen pointed out ‘very old trullo shelters are hard to find. The structures had to fitted together in a planned sequence from bottom to top, and damage in the middle of the construction could be very difficult to repair. In most cases it was simpler and safer to tear down and rebuild the entire shelter, taking advantage of the occasion to incorporate the latest innovation from one’s neighbour’s house’. (1) Moreover Edward Allen stated that ‘the trullo is a rural building type. With its immensely thick walls and its inability to form multi-story structures, it is extremely wasteful of ground space, and in its way is ill-suited to high-density settlement, although being constructed of small stones it has a flexibility and adaptability of form which are extremely useful in tight urban situations’. (2) Three questions arise from here: [i] Can the spatial organisation of trulli be translated into dense urban arrangements? [ii] Taking into consideration the continuous roof-scape of dense trulli clusters, can these serve to negotiate dense settlement patterns with the need for an extensive public surface? [iii] Can the trulli inform experiments with similarly adaptable construction systems for dense urban settings?

(1) Allen, E. 1969. Stone Shelters. Cambridge Mass: The MIT Press, p. 21.


Trulli combi_low res

Trulli: sectional rapid prototype model scale 1/50

Trulli drawings_lowres

Trulli: sectional axonometric, plan, section


SCOTTISH CASE STUDIES

Skara Brae Neolithic Settlement, Orkney

Research Team: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Prof. Søren Sørensen, Joakim Hoen, Prof. Steinar Killi

Computational Modeling and VR Visualisation: ACDL Advanced Computational Design Laboratory / Studio

Sirgurd Gjeste Berge, Elena Krasteva, Eskil Ravnanger Landet, Kristoffer Sekkelsten

Rapid Prototyping: AHO Rapid Prototyping Laboratory - Prof. Dr. Steinar Killi, Research Fellow William Kempton

Supported by: Historic Scotland, Scottish Government

Skara Brae is Europe’s most complete Neolithic settlement and enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status. The stone-built settlement consisted of eight houses and was occupied from ca. 3180 to 2500 BC. Today it seems certain that more structures were located at the site that were lost to the sea over time. The earth-sheltered houses were sunk into the ground and built into so-called middens (Norwegian: mødding), mounds of pre-existing domestic waste products consisting of artefacts and ecofacts associated with human habitation, which might have acted as insulation. Seven of the houses were clustered and connected by a circulation system, while the eighth house was separated. Each of the seven clustered house measures approximately 40 square meters and contained a hearth for cooking and heating, as well as stone made furniture such as cupboards, storage, dressers, seats, etc. In addition the cluster featured a drainage system and a simple form of toilet in each dwelling. The stand-alone eighth house was not built into a midden and is instead protected by an over two meters thick wall. Findings indicate that this house may have been used as some form of workshop for making tools and artefacts. As for the no longer existing roofs there exist several rival theories, which include a wooden dome, a dome made from whale jawbones, and perhaps some form of corbelled stone dome. The organic compactness of the settlement and its relation to the landform can offer an interesting model for contemporary dense settlement and dwelling models.

This research focused specifically on questions of data-translation from advanced scans (point clouds) into architectural modelling software (Rhino/Grasshopper) and the linking of an associative model (Grasshopper) into a Virtual Reality visualization (Unity). In one series of VR-visualizations a portion of the overall model was completed with different variants of roof constructions that could be modified through the associative model setup. A second series of VR-visualizations of the overall model focused on the current state of the site.

SkaraBrae gray_01

Skara Brae: rapid prototype model scale 1/100

SkaraBrae-drawings lowres

Trulli: sectional axonometric, sections, plan

SkaraBrae VR_constructiontype_02_lowres

Skara Brae: VR-visualization of speculative roof construction variation 2


CHINESE CASE STUDIES

Yao Dong Pit Cave Dwelling Settlement, Loess-belt China

Research Team: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Prof. Søren Sørensen, Joakim Hoen, Prof. Steinar Killi

Computational Modeling and VR Visualisation: ACDL Advanced Computational Design Laboratory / Studio

Xin Guo, Elena Krasteva, Eskil Ravnanger Landet, Li Zhang

Rapid Prototyping: AHO Rapid Prototyping Laboratory - Prof. Dr. Steinar Killi, Research Fellow William Kempton

Northern China’s semi-arid Loess plateau (Gansu, Henan, Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces and the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region) features various types of underground dwellings. An estimated 40 million people still live in underground dwellings known as Yao Dong (house cave), which can be divided into three types: [i] dwellings dug into loess cliffs on the side of valleys (cliff cave dwelling), which date from ca. 2000 BC; [ii] dwellings dug into a flat plain and organized around a sunken courtyard (pit cave dwelling), [iii] vaulted dwellings made from stone or brick with one or two floors above ground that are covered with loess (earth sheltered dwelling). Of particular interest are the pit cave dwellings that are organized around sunken courtyards as these maximize the thermal mass of the ground that keeps the interior spaces cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The pits are square or rectangular in plan and 8 to 10 meters deep. L-shaped stairways lead to the sunken courtyard from which the interior spaces are accessed. The latter are up to 10 meters long, up to 5 meters wide and feature up to 5 meters high vaulted ceilings. Each sunken courtyard has a well for freshwater and a drainage well. Trees often mark the L-shaped stairways, perhaps to use the roots to stabilize the ground and to prevent airborne silt to clog up the stairways. Trees in the courtyards provide shading during the summer. This dwelling type offers an alternative to architecture as freestanding objects as settlement morphologies based on figure-ground arrangements.

Chinese PitCaveDwelling_combi

Yao Dong: sectional rapid prototype model scale 1/200

YaoDong drawings_lowres

Trulli: sectional axonometric, sections, ground plan and below ground plan


TURKISH CASE STUDIES

Serander, Black Sea Coast

Research Team: Prof. Dr. Şengül Öymen Gür, Defne Sunguroglu Hensel, Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Dr. Pavel Hladik

Rapid Prototyping: AHO Rapid Prototyping Laboratory - Prof. Dr. Steinar Killi, Research Fellow William Kempton


Serander combi_lowres

Serander: sectional rapid prototype model scale 1/100


Baghdad Kiosk, ca. 1638 AD, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

Research Team: Defne Sunguroglu Hensel, Prof. Dr. Hasan Firat Diker, Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel

Rapid Prototyping: AHO Rapid Prototyping Laboratory - Prof. Dr. Steinar Killi

Thermal Analysis: RadTherm

A prime example of Ottoman kiosks is the Bagdad Kiosk (1638-39) in Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, the official residence of the Ottoman sultans from 1465 to 1853. This kiosk served different purposes over time ranging from summerhouse, to celebratory space, to library. The double story building is accessed at the lower floor from the lower level garden and at the upper level from the raised level of the Forth Courtyard. The use of the basements has not been established beyond doubt. The plan is organized on an octagonal footprint with four of the faces recessed and an additional enclosed space added into one recessed space. The meandering outline of the envelope of the pavilion organizes the interior into four apses that are occupied by divans – a type of low and wide matrass with leaning cushions. The windows feature glass elements, as well as opaque timber shutters in the interior that both serve to regulating the amount of light, thermal impact and ventilation. The meandering outline creates setback spaces in the arcades below the protruding roof overhang and creates pockets of different climatic exposure, both on the exterior of the envelope, as well as in the interior of the kiosk. The arcades could either be open or covered with textile draping, to provide a more exposed or more sheltered and private space. In addition to the spatial organization of the kiosk a series of gardens and open spaces surround the complex at the mid- and lower level, and water basins and fountains at the upper level, which all contribute to its climatic modulation.

Articles:

Hensel, M. and Sunguroğlu Hensel, D. (2010). 'Extended Thresholds II: The Articulated Threshold’. Turkey: At the Threshold, AD Architectural Design Vol. 80, 1: pp. 20-25.

Hensel, M. and Sunguroğlu Hensel, D. (2015) ‘Architectural History from a Performance Perspective – The latent Potential of Knowledge embedded in the Built Environment’. Proceedings: Heritage and Technology – Mind, Knowledge, Experience, Le Vie dei Mercanti XIII International Forum, 794-802. online

BagdadKiosk 1

Bagdad Kisok: plans and sections (left and centre), and airflow analysis (right)

BagdadKiosk 2

Bagdad Kiosk: 24h Cycyle thermal analysis, sectional axonometric (top) and axonometric view (bottom)


IRANIAN CASE STUDIES

Fin Garden Kiosk (Bagh-e Fin Kashan) ca. 1629 AD, Kashan

Research Team: Mehran Gharleghi, Amin Sadeghi, Dr. Nasrin Faghih

Rapid Prototyping: AHO Rapid Prototyping Laboratory - Prof. Dr. Steinar Killi

Thermal Analysis: RadTherm

The Desert Garden’s of Persia can be found on the edge of cities, or in the middle of the desert. These walled enclaves were built at the point where the underground irrigation system surfaces. These gardens embody the Chahar bagh principle for laying out water regulation, soil and plant treatment and building in an integrated manner. Its main elements are a pavilion, alleys, waterways, pools and planted parterres. The water is collected and channeled across the gardens. When the garden is built on a strong slope, terraces are provided and the watercourse runs in a sequence of cascades. However, commonly the garden is built on a slight slope and is crossed by a main boulevard in the middle of which runs a watercourse. The desert garden follows a strict geometry, and the size of each plot reflects the need to create shadow or to grow flowers. These gardens at the foot of bare mountains along the roads in Iran still have an enchanting effect today, providing a cool atmosphere and the light breeze.

Fin is a large walled enclave (about a kilometer square) with four control towers. The garden is crossed by two main walkways with a pavilion open to four views at the cross-section. Fin Garden combines a clear geometry of wide walkways with the intimacy of shadowed enclosures. The original garden comprises a two-story portal, and the central kiosk that faces a pool. A winter pavilion, a ladies’ building and a bathhouse were added in the early 18th century. Later, in the 19th century, the addition of a residence and other buildings framed the garden on its two lateral sides. The kiosk is square shaped in plan and transected by exterior space and waterways along its central axis. Enclosed spaces are located at its four corners and shaded by arcaded recesses from the main façade. Thermal inertia, self-shading, shading by plants, effective ventilation and evaporative cooling are combined in the passive environmental modulation of the spaces of the kiosk.

Articles:

Faghih, N. and Sadeghy, A. (2012). ‘Persian Gardens and Landscapes’. Iran – Past, Present and Futures. AD Architectural Design Vol. 82 (3): pp. 38-51.

Hensel, M. and Sunguroğlu Hensel, D. (2015) ‘Architectural History from a Performance Perspective – The latent Potential of Knowledge embedded in the Built Environment’. Proceedings: Heritage and Technology – Mind, Knowledge, Experience, Le Vie dei Mercanti XIII International Forum, 794-802. online

FinKiosk rp_combi

Fin Kiosk: sectional rapid prototype model scale 1/100

sea web_finkiosk_airflow

Fin Kiosk: seasonal wind exposure (left), airflow analyses (center and right)

FinKiosk Analyses_4

Fin Kiosk: shading (left) and solar gain analysis (right) including the impact of the surrounding vegetation of the Fin Garden.

FinKiosk Analyses_2

Fin Kiosk: 24h Cycyle thermal analysis, sectional axonometric (top) and axonometric view (bottom)


Boroujerdi’s House (Khāné-ye Borūjerdīhā) ca. 1857 AD, Kashan

Research Team: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Mehran Gharleghi, Amin Sadeghi, Dr. Salmaan Craig

Rapid Prototyping: AHO Rapid Prototyping Laboratory - Prof. Dr. Steinar Killi, Research Fellow William Kempton

During the 19th century the architect Ostad Ali Maryam Kashani designed among other projects a number of highly sophisticated houses for wealthy clients in the city of Kashan. These include Tabatabaeis' House (ca. 1850) and Borujerdi’s House (Khāné-ye Borūjerdīhā) (1857). Surrounded by densely built fabric, Borujerdi’s House is introverted and organised around a rectangular courtyard with its long axis stretching roughly from north-north-east to south-south-west. A compact volume constitutes the entrance to the building from the North and leads into the courtyard, which is flanked by a series of linked narrow spaces and terminated by the main part of the house to the south. The main building is organized as a matrix of interconnected spaces. This kind of plan organization facilitates the correlation between climatic modulation, in this case passive ventilation and cooling, and the use of space. A pool in the courtyard facilitates heat loss through evaporation and the plantation provided increase of humidity and shading for the courtyard and building surfaces to prevent thermal gain. The arched and domed roof-scape serves the purpose of self-shading and thus the reduction of thermal impact. The house features three bâdgir-type windcatchers and a sophisticated khishkhan-type dome-shaped windcatcher. Interestingly the placement of the openings and the internal geometric articulation and adornment of the dome are intricately related, and coordinate geometry with indirect light sources, thus demonstrating a highly coherent design down to the detail. In some areas ventilated interstitial spaces are used between the outer roof surface and the inner ceilings, which serve the purpose of further reducing the impact of thermal gain.

Articles:

Hensel, M., Sunguroğlu Hensel, D., Gharleghi, M. and Craig, S. (2012). ‘Towards an Architectural History of Performance: Auxiliarity, Performance and Provision in Historical Persian Architectures’. Iran – Past, Present and Futures. AD Architectural Design Vol. 82 (3): pp. 26-37.

Borujedri rp_combi

Boroujerdi's House: sectional rapid prototype model scale 1/100

borujerdishouse analysis_1

Boroujerdi's House: seasonal wind exposure (left), airflow analyses (center and right)


Fahadan Water Cistern (āb anbār), Yazd

Research Team: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Mehran Gharleghi, Amin Sadeghi

Rapid Prototyping: AHO Rapid Prototyping Laboratory - Prof. Dr. Steinar Killi, Research Fellow William Kempton

Thermal Analysis: RadTherm

Subterranean Water Cisterns (āb anbār) for the storage of drinking water were built either to collect water from qanats, or, alternatively, by collecting the water of sporadic torrential rainfall in the arid desert areas of the Iranian plateau. To enable proper cooling, resistance to water pressure and the impact of earthquakes, cisterns were built underground. The storage capacity of historical water cisterns ranged from 300 to 3.000 cubic meters. The cisterns were typically enclosed by a vault or dome to maintain the water at a desired temperature and to protect it from dust and pollution. For access and maintenance purposes stairs were provided to the underground cistern. The cisterns were filled during the winter with cold water just above freezing temperature. To keep the water cool throughout the year the cisterns were in some regions equipped with multiple windcatchers. The airflow across the water surface generated by the windcatchers removes evaporating water and prevents the warming up of the deeper layers of the water in the cistern as the heat from the air is almost entirely spent in evaporating the water at the surface.

The Fahadan Water Cistern was built around 1115 AD by Mohammad Amin and can be accessed by way of a staircase that leads to the tap located at the east side of the water pit. The cistern includes four windcatchers located at the corners of the water pit. Two of these symmetrically arranged windcatchers are 4-sided and built from bricks, while the other two are single-sided and built from clay. These two different types of windcatchers utilize the local winds for cooling, while preventing dust and pollutants from entering into the water cistern. Fresh air enters into the cistern through the four-sided windcatchers and exits through the single-sided ones. The use of wind towers made it possible to water temperature circa 10 0C lower than the temperature of the surrounding ground.

Cistern Fahadan_gray_01

Fahadan Cistern: sectional rapid prototype model scale 1/100

sea web_fahadan_cistern_airflow

Fahadan Cistern: seasonal wind exposure (left), airflow analyses (center and right)

Fahadan Thermal_h_combi_lowres

Fahadan Cistern: thermal analysis


Icehouse (yakh-chal), Meybod

Research Team: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Mehran Gharleghi, Amin Sadeghi, Dr. Salmaan Craig

Rapid Prototyping: AHO Rapid Prototyping Laboratory - Prof. Dr. Steinar Killi

Thermal Analysis: RadTherm

Articles:

Hensel, M., Sunguroğlu Hensel, D., Gharleghi, M. and Craig, S. (2012). ‘Towards an Architectural History of Performance: Auxiliarity, Performance and Provision in Historical Persian Architectures’. Iran – Past, Present and Futures. AD Architectural Design Vol. 82 (3): pp. 26-37.

The purpose of the Iranian Ice Houses (yakh-chāl) was the storage and often also the production of ice for human consumption. These structures commonly featured subterranean chambers covered by a large dome made from mud-brick that often reached 20 meters in height. Ice and snow could be brought from nearby mountains or harvested from frozen lakes in the winter, or could be produced next to the Ice Houses in east-west oriented shallow pools that measure up to a length of 100 meters and widths between 10 to 20 meters. These pools were backed on their southern side by a tall adobe wall that shaded the pool during the ice-making period in the winter and to protect the pools from the impact of the sun and wind-induced convective heat gain to reduce melting during the daytime (Fig. 5, Fig. 6). The accurate height of the east-west wall was of vital importance as it had to be high enough to shield the pool, but not so high that it would reduce the exposure of the water surface to the visible sky. The latter was essential to maintain maximum heat-loss of the water through radiation. Additionally each pool was flanked in the east and west by lower walls for the same purpose. During the cold winter nights the pools were filled with a shallow layer of water that would freeze over night and could be harvested as ice in the morning. A comparison between weekly and daily build-up and harvesting of ice showed a distinct slowing of ice build-up with increasing thickness of the ice. For this reason the daily harvesting of ice over a period of seven days would yield more than double the amount of ice compared with weekly harvesting. Such analyses can indicate an operational logic for this and other types of special purpose architectures when this knowledge may no longer be available as part of a living tradition. In suitable cases preservation efforts should therefore include not only the physical structure of architectures, but also their use and operation.

sea web_icehouse_meybod_rp

Meybod Icehouse: rapid prototype model scale 1/200

sea web_icehouse_meybod_airflow

Meybod Icehouse: seasonal wind exposure (left), airflow analyses (center and right)

sea web_icehouse_meybod_solarthermal

Meybod Icehouse: solar gain (left), thermal analysis (right)


Pigeon Tower, Isfahan

Research Team: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Mehran Gharleghi, Amin Sadeghi, Dr. Salmaan Craig, Defne Sunguroglu Hensel

Rapid Prototyping: AHO Rapid Prototyping Laboratory - Prof. Dr. Steinar Killi

Thermal Analysis: RadTherm

Constructions for different species of animals are abundant in historical vernacular architecture. Intriguing examples of a refined vernacular type are the Pigeon Towers of Isfahan, which were built in great numbers during the Safavid Empire. The purpose of these up to 20-meter tall buildings was to provide shelter for a large number of wild pigeons. This was done with the purpose to collect the pigeon dung as fertilizer for agriculture in a region where soil lacks nitrogen. Circular or rectangular in plan with internally buttressed walls, pigeon towers could either be freestanding as single structures, or be integrated into other structures, such as the perimeter walls of gardens. The larger towers could house ten thousand pigeons. Such towers consisted either of a single hollow space or, alternatively, of an inner drum enclosed by an outer one. Some large towers were organized in plan as eight smaller and connected drums around a central and larger drum. This particular spatial organization resulted in increased interior surface area and number of pigeon nests. Turrets atop of the towers provided access for the pigeons, as well as ventilation. Humans accessed the tower once a year to harvest the dung. A long vernacular tradition underlies the knowledge necessary to design such buildings, which involves modulation of the interior climate based on a well-calibrated relation between thermal inertia and natural ventilation so as to keep the interior at a steady temperature throughout the day in spite of a steep exterior temperature gradient over the course of the day.

Articles:

Hensel, M., Sunguroğlu Hensel, D., Gharleghi, M. and Craig, S. (2012). ‘Towards an Architectural History of Performance: Auxiliarity, Performance and Provision in Historical Persian Architectures’. Iran – Past, Present and Futures. AD Architectural Design Vol. 82 (3): pp. 26-37.

Hensel, M. and Sunguroğlu Hensel, D. (2015) ‘Architectural History from a Performance Perspective – The latent Potential of Knowledge embedded in the Built Environment’. Proceedings: Heritage and Technology – Mind, Knowledge, Experience, Le Vie dei Mercanti XIII International Forum, 794-802. online

PigeonTower rp_combi

Pigeon Tower: sectional rapid prototype model scale 1/100

sea web_pigeontower_isfahan_airflow

Pigeon Tower: seasonal wind exposure (left), airflow analyses (center and right)

sea web_pigeontower_thermal

Pigeon Tower: thermal analysis


Khaju Bridge (pol-e khajoo) ca. 1650 AD, Isfahan

Research Team: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Mehran Gharleghi, Amin Sadeghi, Dr. Salmaan Craig, Defne Sunguroglu Hensel, Joakim Hoen

Rapid Prototyping: AHO Rapid Prototyping Laboratory - Prof. Dr. Steinar Killi

Thermal Analysis: RadTherm

The Khaju Bridge (pol-e khajoo) in Isfahan is a prime example of a complex multifunctional civic architecture that emerged in the context of the convergence of knowledge and skills in Isfahan the new capital of Safavid Persia, where different cultures met. The bridge was built around 1650 AD under Shah Abbas II on the foundations of an older bridge and spans across the Zayandeh River, the largest river on the central Iranian plateau. The water level of the river varies seasonally and can dry out entirely during severe draughts. The two-level masonry weir-bridge is 132 metres long and 14 meters wide. Located on its upper level is a 7.5 metre wide roadway that is framed on both sides by arched arcades. The lower level, which is accessible only to pedestrians, comprises of 21 arches that are connected by a vaulted space along the length of the bridge. 18 of the lower level arches span over low-flow deep canal intakes equipped with sluice gates that can raise the water level upstream up to 6 metres. The bed of the canal intakes are stepped cascades that dissipate hydraulic energy during large flood flows. The sluice gates served to regulate the water level of the Zayandeh River for the purpose of irrigation of upstream gardens and fields. The stepped chutes on the bridges downstream side and the arches and vaulted space of the lower level double up as spaces for public use. On the lower level the design accomplishes a comfortable microclimate by way of utilising airflow in conjunction with evaporative cooling. In order to gain insight as to how this comfortable microclimate is generated we conducted solar, thermal and airflow analysis in order to understand their interrelated calibration while taking advantage of the water body of the river. The laminar airflow along the river becomes turbulent and is slowed down in the arched and vaulted space of the lower level of the bridge and streams over the water surface of the river, thus benefitting from evaporative cooling. Effective self-shading of the masonry arches and vaults entails little thermal gain during the daytime. Airflow that streams along these surfaces also benefits from the cooling effect of the thermal mass of the bridge. Overall it is of interest to observe that while the different elements and performative capacities of the bridge have precursors, their integration into an integrated project is unique.

Articles:

Hensel, M., Sunguroğlu Hensel, D., Gharleghi, M. and Craig, S. (2012). ‘Towards an Architectural History of Performance: Auxiliarity, Performance and Provision in Historical Persian Architectures’. Iran – Past, Present and Futures. AD Architectural Design Vol. 82 (3): pp. 26-37.

Hensel, M. and Sunguroğlu Hensel, D. (2015) ‘Architectural History from a Performance Perspective – The latent Potential of Knowledge embedded in the Built Environment’. Proceedings: Heritage and Technology – Mind, Knowledge, Experience, Le Vie dei Mercanti XIII International Forum, 794-802. online

Khaju rp_combi

Khaju Bridge: partial sectional rapid prototype model scale 1/100

Khajubridge airflow

Khaju Bridge: seasonal wind exposure (left), airflow analyses (center and right)

Khajubridge solarthermal

Khaju Bridge: solar gain (left), thermal analysis (right)