ETH Zürich  |  DARCH  |  ITA  |  Structural Design  |  DOCTORAL THESES  |  AIRCRAFT 
Airflow Analysis in the Architectural Design Proccess
M. Llaguno
2011 - 2017

The rise of digital methods in architectural design as well as simulation platforms for environmental analysis, have produced a renewed interest in the relationship between architecture and natural phenomena and in particular into the possibility of the integration of environmental aspects into the design process. Relying on a growing offer of processing power, simulation platforms are every day more capable to couple different environmental phenomena to model the complex interactions that take place in nature. However specially in the case of fluid dynamic modelling of air flow, designers are required to reach high levels of expertise at both the computational and scientific knowledge. Furthermore, the economical and time constraints are also to be taken into account. This is true specially when dealing with design problems at the urban scale, where at the initial stages of the design development, sophisticated CFD simulation platforms are often unable to follow the rapidity of the design changes and decision making.

Given the question of fast-response applications for air flow modelling, research is being developed on the definition of design guidelines or emulation of air flows obtained from computational models, empirical methods formulated in statistical observations and databases based on field experiments. Nevertheless, approximation means to air flow phenomena in relation to urban geometry need to be further explored to mediate between design intuition and sophisticated simulation platforms.

The research proposes to explore simplified methods - in the format of design guidelines - to be introduced at the early stages of the design process to understand the influence of urban geometry on air exchange (ventilation potential) at the neighbourhood scale. These guidelines which are based on wind tunnel testing and CFD simulations of different urban configurations, will aim to provide an easier understanding from the designer’s side of the effect of air flow in relation to urban geometry, to introduce the notions of air exchange and urban comfort in parallel to the morphological thinking in urban design.

last modified 30.10.2015