German firm Sauerbruch Hutton have designed a responsive skin system that breathes like the skin of some organisms, adapting to its immediate environment to act more efficiently.
The high rise is the ultimate culprit when it comes to building efficiency. In a home or small building simply opening a window versus blasting the AC can do much to balance the costs of cooling the internal environement back into the comfort zone, something very difficult to do in a high rise. Sauerbruch Hutton architects, through some engineering magic, have come up with a very elaborate skin system that through computer controls constantly monitoring the conditions inside and out the building can in a very highly advanced fashion support passive cooling technologies.
The firm’s KfW Bankengruppe office building, in Frankfurt, has the world’s first “pressure ring” facade. Which balances pressure throughout the building, allowing occupants to crack windows without turning their offices into a wind tunnel. (Typically in a high rise building with operable windows, you get pressure differentials that generate huge cross breezes). This technology basically relieves this number one issue.
In the KfW tower, sensor-controlled ventilators on the outer skin open and close throughout the day in response to temperature, wind direction and speed, throwing a ring of positive pressure around the building. That air is drawn into offices through floor vents and windows along an inner facade workers control; then, it’s exhausted into the building core. So what you get is a system of natural ventilation that eliminates the need for AC and heat in the fall and spring. And in extreme weather, when you need an artificial bump, the pressure balance won’t throw your heating and cooling systems out of whack.
Also found at Fast Company