Architecture Related

Living Walls


Living walls (also called bio walls, ìmurî vegetal, or vertical gardens) are composed of pre-vegetated panels or integrated fabric systems that are affixed to a structural wall or frame. Modular panels can be comprised of polypropylene plastic containers, geo textiles, irrigation, and growing medium and vegetation. This system supports a great diversity of plant species, including a mixture of ground covers, ferns, low shrubs, perennial flowers, and edible plants. Living walls perform well in full sun, shade, and interior applications, and can be used in both tropical and temperate locations.
Benefits Of Living Walls:
  • Improvement of Air Quality
  • Reduction of Urban Heat Island Effect
  • Moderate Building Temperatures
  • Contribute to Carbon Dioxide/Oxygen Exchange
  • Stormwater Management (absorbs 45-75% of rainfall)
  • Sound Insulation
  • Building Envelope Protection
  • Habitat and Biodiversity
  • Aesthetics
  • Health (visual contact with vegetation has been proven to result in direct health benefits).

LEED points:

  • Sustainable Sites Credit 7.1: Landscape Design That Reduces Urban Heat Islands, Non-Roof (1 pt) Exterior green walls reduce the solar reflectance of a structure, thus reducing the urban heat island effect.
  • Water Efficiency Credits 1.1, 1.2: Water Efficient Landscaping (1 to 2 pts) Buildings can incorporate a stormwater collection system for irrigation of the green walls and other landscape features. Using only captured, recycled, or nonpotable water may enable the project to achieve this credit.
  • Water Efficiency Credit 2: Innovative Wastewater Technologies (1 pt) Green walls can be utilized as wastewater treatment media for gray water. Other features, such as the incorporation of compost tea from a composting toilet, is another way for green walls to aid in the reduction of wastewater.
  • Energy and Atmosphere Credit 1: Optimize Energy Performance (1 to 10 pts) Green walls can provide additional insulation and natural cooling, which reduces a building’s reliance on mechanical systems.
  • Innovation in Design Credits 1-4: Innovation in Design (1 to 4 pts) Green walls may contribute to innovative wastewater or ventilation systems.

Five scenarios were run with UFORE to assess the effect of both green walls and the urban forest on energy consumption.  The scenarios were designed to reflect the impact of different levels of intensification that could occur under Ontario’s new Regional Growth Management Strategy or under any Smart Growth strategy to contain urban sprawl.

  • Scenario 1
    BASELINE: this scenario was based on the reductions in energy consumption provided by existing trees and shrubs in Midtown.
  • Scenario 2
    No Trees: this scenario examined the effect on energy consumption in Midtown when all trees were removed from the area.
  • Scenario 3
    No Big Trees: this scenario examined the effect when all big trees with a diameter-at- breast-height greater than 22cm were removed from the area.
  • Scenario 4
    Trees off Buildings: this scenario examined the effect when trees that provided shade to buildings (within 3-5 meters) were removed.
  • Scenario 5
    Green Walls: this scenario examined the effect when existing trees and shrubs were removed and vertical “hedges” or walls of Juniper species were added within 3 meters of residential (medium and low) houses.
ITC Royal Gardenia
ITC Royal Gardenia

The Royal Gardenia:

  • The Royal Gardenia is the worlds largest LEED Platinum rated hotel.
  • The Royal Gardenia deals with this in a bold and unique way. For a start, the hotel’s Atrium lobby is not air-conditioned. Leading you into the hotel is just a simple glass arch. There are no doors and the whole lobby is wind-cooled. In addition to a square lotus fountain in the middle, the lobby features vertical hanging gardens with a mix of plants that are watered using drip irrigation.
  • The hotel is one of the first hotels in India to create the concept of vertical hanging gardens that are located at the main lobby and the Cubbon Pavilion, the coffee shop. These gardens rise towards the ceiling. Lighting is provided from natural sources or through an energy efficient lighting system.

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Contemporary Architecture

Iranian wind tower


  • Represents the ventilation as a sustainable cooling system in Iranian architecture.
  • To counter the harshly variable climates of the country, Iranians invented wind towers which still stand in various desert towns.
  • Important elements in Iranian architecture, providing air-conditioning in hot, dry and humid climates for thousands of years.
  • Rise not only on ordinary houses but also on top of water cisterns and mosques.


  • To introduce cool outside air, driven by positive wind pressure.
  • The internal partition allows the low pressure on the lee side of the tower to suck air from inside the building.
  • In order to provide occupants with comfort, they were built with a four-directional orientation to catch wind from all directions and guide it into the house.

Wind towers consist of four parts:

  1. The body containing shafts
  2. Air shelves which catch hot air and prevent it from entering the structure,
  3. Flaps which redirect wind circulation,
  4. A roof covering.


  • Wind travels through the shafts on top of the tower to reach the interior of the building.
  • The air flow inside the structure travels in two directions, up and down.
  • The temperature difference between the interior and exterior of a building causes pressure variations which results in the creation of air currents.
  • In cities where the wind blows only from one single direction, only one of the shafts operates to receive the breeze.

There are three types of wind towers:

  • The most elementary type of wind tower was built over cellars and underground water tanks known as ab-anbar.
  •  These cellars kept food refrigerated and also served as sitting rooms where people could remain cool on hot summer days
  • In hot climate cities, one to six wind towers were used to cool the water.
  • They prevented stagnant air and the formation of dew or humidity inside, resulting in pure, clean and cold water all year round.
  • The second type transferred the flow into the basement where it hit damp walls and its humidity increased while its temperature decreased. The flow could be directed into other rooms using valves.
  • The third type of wind tower was taller and mainly used in multi-roomed one-story buildings. A dome-roofed hall under the tower helped ventilation.
  • Wind towers display the compatibility of human-built architectural forms with the environment and the ingenuity of Iranian engineers.
  • Following the introduction of western architecture,  structures such as wind towers gradually became part of the past though many still remain in use.
  • Modern architecture can make use of traditional Iranian methods to utilize air currents and evaporation in cooling and air-conditioning living quarters.

Burj al-Taqa – The Energy Tower Dubai, United Arab Emirates:

  • Order Year: 2006-07
  • Estimated Investment: £200m
  • Height: 322m (1,056ft)
  • Construction Start: 2008
  • Design: Gerber Architeckten international


  • Dubai temperatures can reach 50°C, so the cylindrical shape of the building is designed to minimise exposure of the surface to the sun.
  • All energy is generated from wind turbines and solar panels; the main 60m (197ft) roof-mounted turbine
  •  The windows are protected from indirect sunlight elsewhere on the tower by a mineral coating, which also helps improve the effectiveness of the air conditioning.



  • The tower is constructed from cutting-edge vacuum glazed glass, which will be mass- commercialized in 2008, to reduce heat absorption and maximize the available daylight.
  • The central atrium and a five-perimeter atria contain transparent ducts that look like plastic cylinders running up through the ceiling on all levels of the building.
  • A double-skin glass façade protects the Solar Shield and helps to clear stale air from the rooms.

Talking of air conditioning, the main system for cooling the air inside the tower uses a convection system which pulls in cold air at the ground level, and sucks it up out of the top of the tower. The air conditioning will use seawater, and underground cooling units lower the temperature inside to 18 degrees C / 64.4 degrees F. This building may be a technological beacon for environmentally friendly skyscrapers, but as a commenter on metaefficient points out, new building designs don’t do much to solve the inefficiency of older buildings in cities. Although that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine what it’d be like to work and live in a sea of glass and metal without feeling slightly bad about it.

“Such a building has to work like a thermos flask,“ says DS-Plan’s energy manager Peter Mösle

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