Creating a Future for an Ancient Sustainable City, Yazd
Abedini Rad, Maryam
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Abstract Sustainable architecture attempts to find a way to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by improving the use of energy and the efficiency of material used. As new and more affordable technologies emerge, solar-generated electricity and hot water, as well as passive and active systems of natural heating and cooling are becoming more widespread. Although advanced technology can provide some solutions, it may also be worth learning from energy-saving approaches of the past. This author believes that vernacular architecture can give us some clues to improve the environmental performance of tomorrow’s architecture. A combination of our current understanding of ancient techniques in addition to current knowledge about building science may help us find unique and powerful solutions. Ancient architecture used natural resources of energy to enhance the interior conditions of a building in the absence of modern cooling/heating systems. In this study, we review samples of architecture designed by such strategies; then, we move further to a specific example of sustainable features such as windcatchers, qanats, etc. located in Yazd, Iran. Windcatchers are the most remarkable well-adapted passive natural cooling and ventilation systems used in the harsh conditions in hot zones. In fact, the use of local materials and renewable energy resources in the most prominent feature of Yazd, the windcatchers, illustrate the harmony of human built-environments and nature. This thesis focuses on hot, hot-arid and hot-humid climates in Iran and some of the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf region. It uses the vernacular architecture of Yazd as an excellent example of the area, both culturally and climatically. Although this region is the focus of this study, the fundamental approaches can be manipulated for use in other hot-climate locations as a method of sustainable design. Literature reviews and analysis of case studies show that current Iranian designs do not achieve the best performance from an environmental aspect. It is proposed in this study that implementing vernacular architectural principles results in significant performance improvements over the current methods and offers a new architectural design language. In conclusion, a series of guidelines and successful strategies are presented to aid the designer of tomorrow’s buildings.