WIT Press


High Performance Masonry Wall Systems: Principles Derived From Natural Analogues

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/DN080251

Volume

114

Pages

10

Page Range

243 - 252

Published

2008

Size

3,275 kb

Author(s)

J. Laver, D. Clifford & J. Vollen

Abstract

Flora and fauna have developed strategies to flourish in response to the climatic conditions of a specific place. These strategies are reexamined as a masonry wall system in response to local environment. Two natural systems are studied as models for architectural propositions that mimic nature’s ability of adaptive response to fluctuating environmental conditions. Specifically, the design of masonry building envelope systems is based on the structure of the barrel cactus, and the thermodynamic design of termite mounds. Keywords: ceramic wall system, arid climate, barrel cacti, termites, passive systems, thermal control, radiation control. 1 Introduction The American Southwest is a fragile ecosystem with finite energy and water resources. It is also the region of the United States experiencing the highest rate of population growth. Homes built to meet this demand rely on tightly constructed, highly insulated envelopes to lower energy consumption. Air conditioning using evaporators, condensers and compressors as the primary mode of thermal control, further strains the coal powered energy grid. In order to implement design strategies for building envelopes that rely on a direct relationship with the environment, our team studied the passive and active thermal control systems of barrel cacti and termite mounds. These natural systems have a direct relationship to their surroundings. The built environment can benefit from the continual tuning of passive systems to environmental conditions.

Keywords

ceramic wall system, arid climate, barrel cacti, termites, passive systems, thermal control, radiation control.