Proper climatic types in low-height residential contexts A comparative study of cities with temperate climate temperatures: Washington D.C , Richmond, Virginia Beach, Antalya, Rasht, Seoul, and Niigata

Document Type : Research Article



Climate is one of the most important factors in sustainable architecture and urban design. Climatic conditions have become a strong factor in architectural design process and designers must consider certain principles in that field. An appropriate urban environment has to take the factor of climate into consideration in an efficient way. This will lead to the creation of a better living environment with open, naturally-lit spaces and fresh air movement. An efficient climatic design can have a specific impact on reducing the operating costs of an urban environment.  This is specifically significant when considering hat the climatic design principles will help reduce electricity consumption in buildings and improve the environment and strengthen the economy by cutting down the need for fossil fuels and nuclear energy.  Using principles of climatic design in urban environmental structures and residential contexts results in better living conditions for residents. The present article specially addresses this issue.  It focuses on low-height residential contexts and the solutions for climate conditions in urban environments. This article’s hypothesis declares that climatic architectural design guidelines and solutions in low-height residential contexts are closely interrelated in such a way that an efficient climate design could lead to a proper climatic conditions in the environment.   “Temperate” climate has been emphasized in the present article because it has two important elements that affect architecture: the amount of humidity and the amount of rain. In temperate climates the traditional architecture has found methods to be adopted based on climate conditions throughout history. To reduce the humidity effects, buildings have been scattered all around and empty spaces have been accommodated around them.  This is meant to help the wind spiral through - what will accordingly provide a better air movement in the environment. Also buildings have been built upper than the ground to avoid the soil humidity. To receive the sunlight, buildings have found a proper orient to the south axes, and the best proportion for the forms is considered as 1:1/6 in east-west direction. In order to choose cities in temperate climate with very similar climate conditions, 37 degrees north latitude has been chosen as a basic line. And the cities beside it all around the world with similar conditions have been selected on the basis of most important climatic factors including angle of the sunshine, temperature, humidity, wind conditions and the amount of rain. The selected cities include Washington D.C, Richmond and Virginia Beach in the USA, Antalya in Turkey, Rasht in Iran, Seoul in South Korea and Niigata in Japan. The present research is meant to find answers to the following questions:  •What are the main characteristics of residential contexts in selected cities with temperate climate? •What are climate considerations for designing residential contexts in these areas? •How much are architectural designs in line with the city’s climate? •What are proper climatic design patterns in low height residential contexts? This article follows a comparative analysis method. Therefore, by analyzing the samples of the contexts of residential areas, the principles on proper climatic types for low-height residential contexts have been identified.  A comparative analysis of samples in the research shows that the principles necessary to achieve a suitable climate model in residential contexts include the following guidelines and solutions with specific relations to each other: Decentralized organization of buildings can be considered a necessary solution to obtain a suitable model of climatic design. This can largely lead to other solutions. Scattered buildings help provide better conditions to use natural winds to enhance the quality of the environment. The blowing of wind through empty spaces between blocks reduces the high humidity of the environment. The use of natural light in the building as a fundamental element of a climatic design can be accommodated in low density environments. In high density environments, natural light can be accommodated by organizing east-west axis linear blocks.  In compressed urban neighborhood contexts, it is more difficult to organize blocks in east-west axis and that leads to a disadvantaged condition. Landscaping can be used as another design tool. Planting trees at the southern part of the building yard provides shade against sunlight and helps reduce heat in summers. Also trees can act as obstacles in front of cold winter winds. Furthermore, steep roofs beside their application for rainy weather can be a cultural element in architecture.