Scholarly article on topic 'Sustainable systems in Iranian traditional architecture'

Sustainable systems in Iranian traditional architecture Academic research paper on "Materials engineering"

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Abstract of research paper on Materials engineering, author of scientific article — Javad Eiraji, Shabnam Akbari Namdar

Abstract Today, sustainable architecture, the way of architectural design which is based on environmental aspects, is a specific style of design which architects and designers try to pay more attention to it and architects in Iran, as a vast country with different climatic zones and regions, had to use this way of design in Iranian traditional architecture from a long time ago to conquest environmental problems in architecture and have a specific system for each region. This paper concentrates on sustainable systems used in Iranian traditional architecture which traditional architects designed and presented to have the solutions of human comfort and save natural energies.

Academic research paper on topic "Sustainable systems in Iranian traditional architecture"

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Procedía Engineering

Procedía Engineering 21 (2011) 553 - 559

www.elsevier.com/locate/procedia

2011 International Conference on Green Buildings and Sustainable Cities

Sustainable Systems in Iranian Traditional Architecture

Javad Eiraji * , Shabnam Akban Namdar

°Member of Architecture Scientific Association,Faculty of Architecture,Tabriz Branch,Islamic Azad University,Tabriz,Iran bScience and Research Branch,Islamic Azad University,Tehran,Iran

Today, sustainable architecture, the way of architectural design which is based on environmental aspects, is a specific style of design which architects and designers try to pay more attention to it and architects in Iran, as a vast country with different climatic zones and regions, had to use this way of design in Iranian traditional architecture from a long time ago to conquest environmental problems in architecture and have a specific system for each region. This paper concentrates on sustainable systems used in Iranian traditional architecture which traditional architects designed and presented to have the solutions of human comfort and save natural energies.

© 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of APAAS

Keywords: Sustainable Systems, Iranian Traditional Architecture, Natural Energies

1. Introduction

Sustainable architecture, framed by the larger discussion of sustainability having to do with the pressing economic and political issues of our world, seeks to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by enhancing efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, and development space [1]. Due to lack of access to modem heating and cooling equipment in ancient times the architects were obliged to rely on natural energies to render the inside condition of the buildings pleasant [2]. Iran is basically divided into four climatic regions. Region one, is the dry and hot region, which consists of the most parts of the Iranian plateau. Region two, is cold and snowy region in north and west of the country. The third one is the hot and humid region which comprises northern shores of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman and the last region is humid and rainy region which embraces the southern shores of the

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +989146148940 E-mail address: J.Eiraji@yahoo.com

Abstract

1877-7058 © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.proeng.2011.11.2050

Caspian Sea [3]. In this paper we will focus on various solutions and different sustainable systems which were used in each region of such a multi-climate country, Iran.

2. Iran and Energy Sources

Iran has vast reserves of oil and natural gas and is one the most important centers of these energy sources in the world, but because of its extensively use, at the present rate of use, it will be hard to export any oil in the next few years and not only in Iran, but also in all over the world lack of energy will be the most important problem. So we have to think about the new sources of energy and in order to keep the world clean and also to reduce oil extraction, it is better to think about the natural environment and energies and reestablish the disturbed relation between man and nature, the thing that Iranian traditional architects did many times ago.

Nowadays, we bring comfort in our buildings with the use of expensive energy sources and mechanical & electrical equipments and if they stop working life would be hard in these buildings and as the cost of these equipments and energies is becoming more, the world is becoming more directed toward the use of renewable resources like solar, wind, geothermal and hydro energy. In Iran, the traditional designers had to present environmental elements as their buildings would have been very cold in winter in some regions and very hot or humid in summers in some other regions. So, the way of their design was based on the region they were going to do and according to this we are going to talk more about the regions and their sustainable systems used in each region.

3. Region One: Dry and Hot Region, Central Parts of Iranian Plateau

This region receives almost no rain for at least six months of the year, hence it is very dry and hot. So, cooling is the main purpose of the design in this region. Traditional architects in Iran, tried to use convection and evaporation in their design and certainly wind and water play the main roles in this way of design and by this way, some sustainable systems and equipments such as wind catcher known as "Badgir" and ponds build inside the house known as "Hozkhaneh" were presented to Iranian valuable architecture.

3.1 Wind Catcher, A Sustainable System in Dry and Hot Region

As Iranian sustainable architecture suggests various solutions which are adapted with environmental potentials, natural ventilation, as a certain parameter for cooling and sense of comfort, plays key role in architecture formal design, which is called wind catcher or wind tower [4]. Wind catchers system works by the wind power which comes through the holes designed on it. Air circulation at various points in the building is adjusted by opening or closing the various openers or ducts at the bottom of the wind catcher. The wind catcher operates according to the condition of the wind and sun radiation in the region. The inside and outside walls absorb a lot of temperature during daytime. As a result they cause a balance of temperature at night and bestow the attracted warmth to the cold night air. The thickness of the wind catcher walls and the dimension of the holes inside it is designed in a manner to allow enough heat. The light warm air inside the wind catcher ascends and is sucked by upper elevations. As a result cool air flows from windows and doors into the house and continues all through the night [5].

By this system, building will use the natural energy and works like today modern coolers to be cool without using expensive resources [Fig. 1].

Fig. 1. The Wind Tower in Dry and Hot Region Directs Wind Inside the Building to Make it Cool

3.2 Hozkhaneh, A Combinational System of Water and Wind Power

In the hot and dry region, inside the buildings, there is a special area called "Hozkhaneh". There is pond full of water in this space and the wind which comes through the holes of wind catchers is directed to this area by some special channels and the evaporation happens. In fact the wind uses water and evaporation to make the atmosphere cooler. This place is also called "Tabestanneshin", means a cool place to live in hot and dry summers [Fig. 2].

Fig. 2. Hozkhaneh or Tabestanneshin with a Pond Inside ( Photo Taken By Author )

4. Region Two: Cold and Snowy Region, North and West of Iran

In region two, which is known as the mountain region too, embraces northern and western parts of Iran, the cold weather and snow reduce public activities during the very cold and long winter seasons. So the goal of sustainable design in this region is creating of hot atmosphere and all the systems are based on this goal. As the wind and water played the main role in region one, the sun and solar energy play the main role here. In this region, it is tried to use more solar energy and because of that the main elevations of the buildings are designed toward the south to get more sunshine. Also the windows on these elevations are larger to get more sunshine and materials of the walls are in the way that they can keep more heat of the sun in themselves to keep the house warmer for a more time.

4.1 Yakhchals, Ice Stores for Preservation of Ice

As in this cold and snowy region we have snow most the times, traditional designers have designed a special place called "Yakhchal" which is a place to preserve ice and save and keep it for summer. The architecture of these stores is very interesting. They have usually arched domes. Such kind of dome helps the Yakhchal to have a cool interior temperature and by this way, people can use the cold water in summers [Fig. 3].

Fig. 3. A Yakhchal with its Arched Dome to Keep Inside Cooler

5. Region Three : Hot and Humid Region, Northern Shores of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman

This region comprises northern shores of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman and as this region is near to the shores and sea it is always humid and very hot, especially during the spring and summer. In this region like region one, cooling is the basement of the design but here we should pay attention to humid situation we have too. Shadow and ventilation are two main parameters in sustainable design of this region. Also wind can help the people to feel comfort in its hot and humid climate."Ivaan" and "Kapar" are two sustainable systems which have been designed for this hot and humid region.

5.1 Ivaan, Creator of Coolness and Shadow

In architecture of hot and humid region of Iran, the architects paid attention to all aspects of their design to conquest all the climatic problems. The height of the buildings is one these aspects. The main rooms of the buildings which need to have coolness were designed in higher levels and the kind of materials and colors used in the buildings are by the way that they can reflect the sunshine and get the building cooler. One of the other architectural parameters which has been mentioned is called "Ivaan". Ivan is a framework usually on the main elevation of the building which can get more wind and also it is like a layer in front of the main body of building to prevent the direct sunshine to the building and like a cover creates shadow and a cool atmosphere in front of the main building [Fig. 4].

Fig. 4. A Form of Ivaan in Front of the Main Body of Building to Cause Shadow and Coolness ( Photo Taken By Author )

5.2 Kapar, A Provisional Hut For Hot and Humid Region

Kapar, also known as "Reed Hut", is a little provisional hut which is made of reed and it is usually used in rural areas of this region. The sustainable systems of these huts cause a cool shadow and atmosphere under it and also it does not keep heat inside and because its material is reed, it cause ventilation happens easily inside [Fig. 5].

Fig. 5. A Kapar (Reed Hut) in Hot and Humid Region

6. Region Four : Humid and Rainy Region, Southern Shores of the Caspian Sea

In this region, which embraces southern shores of the Caspian Sea, the annual rainfall is around two meters a year and the humidity ratio is about eighty percent most of the year. So in this region, humidity plays the main role. Because the amount of rainfall is a lot in this region, the most important architectural parameter is the roof. Usually the roofs are designed with a special slope to control the water of the rain and the materials which are used in both roof and building itself are usually natural and have some native names such as "Gali", "Latesar" and "Simka". Like the region three, in this region, because of humidity the buildings have Ivan to cause the ventilation and cool and fresh situation [Fig. 6].

Fig. 6. A House in Humid and Rainy Region with the Special form of its Roof to Control the Water of Rain

7. Conclusion

Even in contemporary century with the help of new design methods, new construction material and a lot of technological devices, the present buildings are very expensive and uncomfortable to live in and according to the energies sources which today we use, we will have some problems in near future. So, it is not bad to have a look at the way of design and the natural systems which our ancestors used. Of course, it is hard to go back to the ways our ancestors used to live with, but surely to study and learn from the ways they used and the sustainable systems they introduced and presented, can be necessary and useful as we can vividly see some logic and reason in their way. Sustainable systems in Iranian traditional architecture are cheap, simple and logical and by using the natural resources of energies such as wind, water and sunshine can provide the comfortable situation of life for human.

References

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