Focusing On Natural Elements In The Early Design Process, New Potentials For Architects?
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There is a large body of research on environmental planning, but a shortage of means for architects to implement environmental concerns in the early design process. This paper investigates the potentials of a more elaborated and conscious use of natural elements in the early design process. Natural elements are understood as considerations on the local climatic conditions such as sun, wind, water, soil and vegetation. Based on a case study of two urban scale projects in China, drawn by Danish and Chinese firms respectively, integration of natural elements, and the extent to which natural elements influence the drawn result, have been investigated. The result shows that simple means of environmental integration, as represented by natural elements, played an important role in the development of the design solutions, and had a much larger impact on the drawn result compared to proposed technological solutions. Furthermore the result shows that a more elaborated use of natural elements acts as a means to better implement environmental concerns in the early design process, and reinforces the connection to the local context, of particular importance in China, where rapid transformation processes make social and cultural patterns difficult to interpret. Keywords: environmental planning, natural elements, design process, environmental sustainability. 1 Introduction Since the opening up reforms in the 1980s, China has experienced unprecedented economic growth and has built extensively to accommodate the growing urban population. Such large scale development provides great opportunities, not at
environmental planning, natural elements, design process, environmental sustainability