INTERGRATED BIO-CLIMATIC DESIGN

Climate change is an on-going global debate with the building industry currently contributing to about 50% of the green house gases that
cause global warming. Since the Industrial Revolution, high-rise buildings have been a growing typology in cities around the world even
though they are considered to be the most un-ecological building typology. This is because they use the most energy to operate and
therefore emit the largest amounts of green house gases.
Opinions differ on this building typology. While some architects and designers have embraced it, others have expressed their
reservations. Similarly, while some cities like New York have embraced the high-rise building as is seen in its highly dynamic skyline,
others like Paris enforced laws that have limited building heights resulting in a fairly untouched skyline. Despite these differences in
opinion, it is undisputable from current building trends that high-rise buildings are here to stay. This is especially true in cities in an
effort to deal with large growing populations.
Since this typology did not begin or develop in the tropics, it is necessary to modify it so it responds to the tropical climate. The warmhumid
climate is especially difficult to design for due to the high humidity levels that prevent evaporative cooling. But while bio-climatic
principles for low-rise buildings in this climate are well developed, this is not the case with high-rise buildings due to lack of precedence
in terms of size and complexity.
However, bio-climatic design principles for high-rise buildings are modifications of bio-climatic design principles for low-rise buildings.
Due to their size and complexity, integrated design is required to ensure that the building functions as efficiently as possible.
Though both integrated and bio-climatic design are quite broad, for purposes of this research the author was able to narrow down on the
similarities by focusing on the building elements. A definition of ‘integrated bio-climatic design’ was then formed and the similarities, that
is, the integrated bio-climatic design principles for warm-humid climate discussed. These formed the variables that were used for the
research and against which both the international and local case studies level of successful design were measured against.
The case study method and the experimental method were chosen to analyse the local case studies located in Mombasa New Town to
determine the design principles used in our local context and their level of success base on internal comfort levels. The two nonresidential
buildings were different in terms of building designs and principles so as to make unbiased conclusions. Though both case
studies had their pros and cons, one was found to perform better than the other. Based on these findings and those of literature review,
conclusions and recommendations were made on which integrated bio-climatic design strategies for warm-humid climate are best suited
for our local context.
 

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