AUTHOR: Sascha Roesler
CONTEXT: Singapore, ETH Centre, 2015
When it comes to cooling and heating buildings, many parts of the world are still imitating 20th century practices. As a discipline, architecture continues to be bound to a paradigm of comfort whose emergence was closely connected with the use of oil. The familiar result − while providing homogeneously air-conditioned rooms and improved technical understanding of climate control – has all too often, however, disregarded sustainable solutions. In Southeast Asia, modernisation of the built environment still largely entails a proliferation of air-conditioning units, a preference that simply rejects natural ventilation as an outdated practice. Against that background, this special issue of FCL Magazine aims to underscore the relevance of natural ventilation within the contemporary urban Asian landscape. Given the current requirements for energy-saving methodologies, a sustainable future will rely on more than mechanical cooling strategies alone. Urgently needed are urban-relevant ventilation concepts that address the interrelationships among climate, territory, and architecture, concepts that give far greater attention to natural ventilation, which, even as an age-old cultural practice, still has relevance to dense urban areas today. The specific focus of the research we present here then, is on natural ventilation in urban environments. We pose new questions − regarding air pollution, for example − and give insights into the ‘fine art’ of natural ventilation, such as by drying tobacco leaves. The findings are based on both fieldwork and comparative study: We assess the current state of natural ventilation in the cities of Medan (Indonesia) and Singapore by looking at the urban mass housing system, typologies, housing policies, and their implications for the venting systems. In doing so, we identify the critical obstacles and, conversely, the potential inherent in using natural ventilation in an urban context. Our ultimate goal is to pioneer a new climatisation culture in the Southeast Asian region. This special magazine issue is the product of a collaboration among three architects: Marcel Jäggi, Sascha Roesler, Ani Vihervaara; a landscape architect, Karoline Kostka; and a visual artist, Katja Jug. Its publication marks the completion of the research module ‘Territorial Organisation’ that was conducted from 2010 to 2015 at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore.
Sascha Roesler, Editor, August 2015
Link to download this FCL Magazine