Contributions to Books:
"From Building Physics to Urban Physics";
in: "Stadt.Gestalten - festschrift für Klaus Semsroth",
Fakultät für Arch & RPL (ed.);
Wien, New York,
Many people think building physics is concerned mainly - if not exclusively - with building details or individual buildings. Building physics does of course address building details. Well-known examples of such attention to detail are measures to avoid thermal bridges in building envelope components and junctions (walls, roofs, windows, etc.). It is also true that a large number of typical inquiries in building physics pertain to individual spaces or single buildings. Many instances come to mind, such as thermal and visual comfort in a room, acoustical conditions in a concert hall, or the heating and cooling energy demand of a building. However, enlightened building physicists consider always the context in which buildings are situated. That context is, more often than not, urban. The performance of a building, if small or large, depends largely on the urban context. It would not be cogent to evaluate a building's habitability (its suitability for human occupancy) or sustainability (its energy efficiency and ecological soundness), without considering its interrelationships with its urban surroundings. There are numerous instances of such interrelationships:
i) urban agglomerations can provide a microclimatic background that is conducive to the performance of individual buildings;
ii) climate change and urban heat islands, on the other hand, represent emerging critical challenges for the design and operation of buildings in urban settings;
iii) questions of land use and mobility may play a more pivotal role in the overall ecological performance of settlements than the energy performance of individual buildings.
The present contribution focuses on two such instances. First, urban physics considerations relevant to the supportive potential of urban design solutions for the functionality of buildings are exemplified based on the specific instance of certain urban and architectural design traditions in arid and semi-arid climate zones. Second, a case study is presented that involves the application of building physics modeling techniques toward assessment of climate change and urban heat island implications for a new urban development project in the city of Vienna.
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Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.