If A CENTRAL PURPOSE of planning is to
create for any person or group of persons an
environment suited to their needs, then
climate must be a first consideration.
Once a site has been chosen, two new
considerations suggest themselves.
How do we best respond to the climatic givens
in terms of site and structural design, and by
what means can we modify the effects of
climate to improve the situation?
Perhaps the most obvious facts of climate are
the annual, seasonal, and daily ranges of
temperature. These will vary with changing
latitude, longitude, altitude, exposure, vegetat
ion, and proximity to such weather modifiers
as the Gulf Stream, water bodies, ice
masses, or desert.
The amount of precipitation
in the form of
dew, rainfall, frost, or snow
is to be recorded, as well as
seasonal variations in
The duration of sunlight in
hours per day is of planning
and design significance, as
are the angles of incidence
at prescribed times of day
and year and the intensity
of solar radiation.
The direction and velocity of the winds and
the date and path of violent storms are to be
charted. The availability quantity and quality
of potable water are to be noted, together
with the depths at which it occurs.
The geologic structure is to be
described, together with soil types and depths
and the existing vegetation and wildlife.
Finally, the working together of all the
physical elements as an ecological system is
described to complete the story of regional
The physical well—being and attitudes of
people are directly affected by climate, and
these in turn prescribe the planning needs.
It is well, therefore, in the study of climatic
regions to note behavioral reactions and
patterns of community organization that
are unique and attributable to the climate
or the weather.
The special foods and dishes, the manner of
dress, and the traditional customs are
indicative. And so it is with the favored types of
recreation, the level of education, and cultural
pursuits. Economic factors such as agricultural
yields and the production of goods are to be
In short, what one eats, drinks, believes, and
is, is climate—induced and characteristic of
There is little to be done about the world
climate except to adjust to it.
The most direct form of adjustment is to
move to that region which has a climate best
suited to one’s needs or desires. Such
migrations or attempted migrations are the
basis of much of human history.
The alternative approach, barring admission
to a climatological Shangri-La, is to make the
best of existing conditions wherever one may
In broad terms, the climatic regions of the
earth are four: the cold, the cool
temperate, the warm-humid, and the hot-dry.
It is proposed that within
each region there is, for a
condition, a logical
Warm Humid Regions
Temperatures high and relatively constant.
Storm winds of typhoon and hurricane force.
Breeze often constant in the daylight hours.
Vegetative covers from sparse to luxuriant and
sometimes jungle like.
The sun’s heat is enervating.
Sky glare and sea glare can be distressing.
Climatic conditions breed insects in profusion.
Fungi are a persistent problem.
Spacing of habitations in the dispersed “hunter”
Adjustment of community patterns to channels or
areas of air movement.
Avoidance of floodplains and drainage ways.
Disturbed areas are subject to heavy erosion.
Location of settlements in the lee of protective
land masses and forest and above the level of
Alignment of streets and placement of gathering
places to capture all possible air currents.
Avoidance of natural growth insofar as feasible.
Disturbance of the ground-cover subjects soils to
Use of existing tree masses and promontories to
provide a sunscreen to public ways and places.
Supplementary planting of shade trees is often
Planned location of settlements with the arc of the
sun to the rear not seaward, of the building sites.
Location of settlements upwind of insect breeding
Admittance of sun and breeze to building areas to
reduce fungi and mildew.
Design of site spaces to provide
shade, ventilation, and the cooling effects of
foliage and water
Provision for air circulation and evaporation.
Protection against driving rains and adequate
Location of critical-use areas and routes in
unexposed places, above the reach of tides
Maximization, by exposure, channeling, and
funneling, of the favorable effects of the
Use of lush foliage masses and specimen plants
as backdrop and enframement and for the
interest of form, foliage, or floral display.
Planning of outdoor activity areas for use in the
cooler morning and evening hours. Heat-of-theday gathering places should be roofed or treeshaded.
Reduction or elimination of glare by plan location
and well-placed tree plantings.
Elevation of use areas and walkways by deck and
platform construction to open them to the breeze
and reduce annoyance by insects.
Use of stone, concrete, metals, and treated wood
only in contact with the ground.
Induction of cooling by all feasible
means, including the use of open building
plans, high ceilings, broad overhangs, louvered
openings, and air conditioning of local areas.
Provision of air circulation: periodic exposure to
sunlight and artificial drying where required.
Architectural use of the
colonnade, arcade, pavilion, covered
passageway, and veranda: orientation of
entranceways and windows away from the path of
the storm track.
Design of wind-resistant structures or lighter
temporary and expendable shelters.
Design of rooms, corridors, balconies, and patios
as an interconnected system of breezeways.
Utilization, indoors and out, of indigenous plant
materials for the cooling effect of their foliage.
Provision of shade, shade, shade.
Positioning of viewing points away from the glare
and provision of well-designed screening.
Elevation of structures above the ground, facing
into the breeze, and insect proofing of critical
points and areas.
Provision of open, well-ventilated storage areas:
use of fungus resistant materials and drying
devices as needed.
Intense heat in the daytime.
Often intense cod at night.
Expanses are vast.
Sunlight and glare are penetrating.
Drying winds are prevalent and often raise
devastating dust storms.
Annual rainfall is minimal; Vegetation is sparse to
nonexistent except along watercourses.
Spring rains come as a cloudburst with rapid
runoff and heavy erosion.
Water supply is extremely limited.
Limited agricultural productivity necessitates the
importation of food and other goods.
Irrigation is a fact of life.
Creation of cool and refreshing islands of use
within the parched surroundings.
Provision of opportunities for group activity Chill
evenings in the desert, as on the tundra, suggest
Adaptation of “outpost,” “fort,” and “ranch” plan
Within the dispersed compounds the planning of
compact spaces with narrow passageways and
colonnades to provide relief from the sun.
Location of homesteads and trade centers in
areas of established ground covers: use of
shelterbelt tree plantations.
Protection of all possible natural growth
surrounding the development.
Avoidance of flood-prone areas. Those who have
experienced desert freshets will keep well out of
Minimization of irrigation requirements by
compact planning and multiple use of planted and
Location of settlements and community centers
close to transportation and distribution nodes.
Coordination of land use and traffic patterns with
existing and projected irrigation canal routes and
Amelioration of heat and glare by orientation
away from the sun, by shading, by screening, and
by the cast-shadow patterns of well-placed
Adoption of the corral-compound (herder)
arrangement of homesteads and neighborhood
Recognition of the automobile as the crucial
means of daily transport and a dominant siteplanning factor
Screening of use areas and paths of movement
from the direct blast of the sun,
Protection of outdoor activity spaces from
Preservation of native plant materials as self
sustaining and handsome components of the
Avoidance of arroyos and floodplains as
development routes and sites.
Limitation in the size of parks, gardens, and
Use of tubbed and container grown
plants, drip irrigation, and hydroponic
Incorporation of irrigation canals, ponds, and
structures as attractive site features,
Architectural use of thick walls, high ceilings, wide roof
overhangs, limited fenestration, light-reflective
colors, and a precise design response to the angles
and arcs of the sun.
Exclusion of the chill night air by insulation, reduction
of heat loss, and use of localized radiant heat. The
open fireplace is a desert tradition for good reason.
Low ranch-type spreads are a logical architectural
expression of the hot—dry climate and desert
Provision of cool, compact, and dim interior spaces in
contrast to the stifling heat and brilliance of the great
Sealing of all buildings against dust and wind. Airtight
openings and skillful architectural detailing are
Grouping of rooms or structures around planted
and irrigated courts and patios.
Provision of spring rainfall catchments and
storage. Water from roofs, courts, and paved
areas can be directed to cisterns.
Recycling of wastewater is prescribed. The type of
use will determine the degree of treatment and
The provision of food and fodder storage is an
important consideration in desert building design.
Adaptation of irrigation to interior courts and
garden spaces. The evaporation of moisture from
paved surfaces, fountains, spray
heads, mulches, or foliage provides welcome
relief from the heat.
Clearly, architectural or landscape planning for the
well—being of a cultural group demands an
understanding not only of the physical nature of the
region and site but of the people as well.
Then, given a specific location within the region and a
well—defined program of needs, the two—dimensional
plan forms can be developed to achieve a pattern of
appropriate, functional, and agreeable relationships.
Sometimes the most important consideration in site
selection or planning is a realization of the need and
benefits of protecting the natural environment.
Native Americans well understood that to preserve the
integrity of their hunting grounds their nomadic
villages must be widely dispersed and clustered.
Microclimatology is the study of climatic
conditions within a limited area. It is
sometimes referred to as the “science of
small—scale weather” It may be inferred that
the purpose of the scientific study is to
discover facts and principles which may be
applied to improve the human condition.
Whatever the climate or weather, when it
comes to planning an agreeable living
environment there are many microclimatic
principles that can be applied to advantage.
Among them are these:
Eliminate the extremes of heat, cold, humidity, air
movement, and exposure. This can be achieved by
intelligent site selection, plan layout, building
orientation, and the creation of climate— responsive
Provide direct structural protection against the
discomfort of solar
radiation, precipitation, wind, storm, and cold.
Respond to the seasons. Each presents its problems;
each provides its opportunities for adaptation and
Adjust community, site, and building plans to the
movement of the sun. The design of living
areas, indoors and out, should ensure that the favored
type and amount of light are received at the favored
Use the sun’s radiation and solar panels to
provide supplementary heat and energy for
Consider the wind also as a time tested
source of energy.
Utilize the evaporation of moisture as a
primary method of cooling. Air moving across
any moist surface, be it masonry, fabric, or
foliage, is thereby made cooler.
Maximize the beneficial effects of adjacent
water bodies. These temper the atmosphere
of the warmer or cooler adjacent lands.
Introduce water. The presence of water in any
form, from film to waterfall, has a cooling
effect, both physically and psychologically.
Preserve the existing vegetative cover. It
ameliorates climatic problems in many ways.:
It shades the ground surface.
It retains the cooling moisture of precipitation.
It protects the soils and environs from the freezing
It cools and refreshes heated air by evaporation.
It provides sunscreen, shade, and shadow.
It helps to prevent rapid runoff and recharge the
water— bearing soil strata.
It checks the wind.
Install new plantings where needed. They may be
utilized for various types of climate control.
Windscreens, shade trees, and heat—absorptive
ground covers are examples.
Consider the effects of altitude. The higher the
altitude and latitude (in the northern
hemisphere), the cooler or colder the climate.
Reduce the humidity. Generally speaking, a
decrease in the humidity effects an increase in
bodily comfort. Dry cold is less chilling than wet
cold. Dry heat is less enervating than wet heat.
Humidity can be decreased by induced air
circulation and the drying effects of the sun.
Avoid undrained air catchments areas and
Avoid winter winds, floods, and the paths of
crippling storms. All can be charted.
Explore and apply all natural forms of healing
and cooling before turning to mechanical
(energy consuming) devices.
Building design should integrate very nicely
with the natural environment and make the
best use of the existing site conditions.
Buildings should be laid in accordance to the
orientation which allow access of solar
exposure in terms of the sun path and
Linear block with least openings is deliberately
shielding off all accommodation from the westsided solar exposure
The Building Form
The building form is developed with respect to
the topographical contours where to minimize
the area of cutting soil and in return filling back
of soil to the site and to minimize the
disturbance of the construction to the existing
trees and landscape where digging up of soil
and cutting off of tress were minimized.
Openable windows allowed the natural
ventilation to reduce the operation period of
A/C System during the mild season
An open corridor around a central courtyard linking
all functional areas allows penetration of daylight
and shades the functional areas from direct
Balcony approach allows natural lighting for major
circulations to minimize the general lightings.
Linear shape with depth of maximum 9m for all
accommodation to enhance daylight penetration.
Incorporation of roof garden and landscaped terrace
enables the building to blend in with its surrounding
natural environment. Native species were used