a schematic notation of microclimate-shaping events, void of the need for energy consumption – moving diagrams, stirred by natural air currents.

Created for The Anthropocene Exhibition.

Phot. Tomasz Kubaczyk

An appropriate architectural composition reduces the negative characteristics of weather and strengthens the positive ones. Microclimates in the city can be constructed once we embrace meteorological phenomena as a component of the design.

Insolative-radiative weather, cloudless during the day and windless at night:

The sun illuminates the city during the day – the mosaic of materials warms up in different ways. Architectural solids, terrain features and plants are responsible for the movement and reach of shadows. When they ensure appropriate thermal contrasts, they set air in motion.

Phot. Tomasz Kubaczyk

At night, the city cools down, materials radiate heat in different ways – air heats up from the ground depending on radiation emitted. Knowledge of the thermal responses of materials allows for combining them in a way that refreshes air. Owing to its low surface roughness, water draws air settling above the city. The thermal inertia of standing water heats up the coolness of the night, generating updrafts. Greenery does not absorb as much heat as buildings and impervious surfaces. Cooler air, which is heavier, flows to heated areas and can be felt as light wind.

Advective weather,observed during the horizontal flow of air masses

Phot. Tomasz Kubaczyk

A weather front is formed in the contact area of masses with different properties. Clouds and rain reduce thermal contrasts, and wind mixes and moves bubbles of variously heated air. Conditions are similar everywhere, regardless of whether it is night or day. Only wind can be deformed. A composition may accelerate it, create places with strong winds, overcooled zones, which increase people’s immunity and are subordinated to the needs of other inhabitants. Windiness can also be mitigated by forming quiet enclaves in the terrain, planting greenery as windbreaks, shaping architecture so that it casts aerodynamic shadow.

Let architectural practice make use of the thermodynamic interdependencies of various forms of life and existence. Let us design artisanal microclimates, enclaves in the ever more turbulent atmosphere.