As outdoor spaces become more vital in the urban ecology, it is becoming extremely relevant that they stay comfortable and useful for as long as feasible around the year, otherwise we risk losing ground and compromising our economic recovery.
Many restaurants, for example, rely heavily on revenue earned from outdoor dining. Meanwhile, work-from-home mandates are leading some corporate workplaces to turn outdoor spaces, such as terraces and patios, into meeting areas, emphasising the importance of keeping them warm and accessible all year.
Finding ways to enhance the comfort and functionality of outdoor spaces all year is a new issue for many cities, and it is not an easy task for professional architecture, and this is where Microclimate architecture can help.
Microclimate architecture analyses how the urban form reacts with the local microclimate to shape the user experience, collaborating with urban planners, developers, and designers to identify interventions that enhance the quality and comfort of specific projects, major corporate campuses, or even entire commercial districts.
Design and analysis of outdoor microclimates:
Extensive microclimate modelling uses insights to offer comfort-enhancing solutions that are consistent with the overall architectural goal of a project.. However, it is equally useful in preventing future climate-related difficulties or improving the usability of existing outdoor places.
In a number of approaches, microclimate design tries to maximise the efficiency of both structures and outdoor environments. For example, the design team can ensure that projects are planned in a way that maximises the benefit to users and makes the best use of valuable real estate by analysing the expected uses (time of day, tasks) of assets and the variety of possible users (commuters, clients, employees) associated with local climate conditions.
Microclimate consultants may develop and deploy design solutions that increase the resilience, functionality, and security of outdoor facilities without drawing attention away from their overall look and feel in places prone to extreme weather, such as heat waves, cold snaps, and spells of heavy rainfall. This is performed through a range of ways, ranging from building massing optimization to the utilisation of flora and canopies.
Businesses and restaurants in colder countries, for example, that want to extend the usage of existing outdoor spaces into the colder months should collaborate with architects who specialise in climate-responsive design to improve thermal comfort. This could be accomplished by using new landscape components or screens to block wind while optimising solar exposure and incorporating comfort-promoting design elements like heated furniture.
The flexibility of microclimate design:
Microclimate design may help projects and cities at large to address several of their most pressing issues, from modest independent projects to larger-scale urban enhancements. Microclimate experts can collaborate with city planners to improve the safety and comfort of multimodal systems as demand for them rises, in addition to collaborating with business owners to build or modify their outdoor areas.
Microclimate specialists can assess the pedestrian and bike experience at individual crossings or across entire neighbourhoods, detecting unpleasant or dangerous situations caused by strong winds close to the ground or high solar glare. The information they provide can help decision-makers determine how to best streamline circulation and mobility, such as determining the best pathways for pedestrians, suggesting mitigation measures to prevent uncomfy wind conditions, and recognising suitable places for covered rest areas.
Collaboration with microclimate consultants on outdoor space planning and design can also benefit large corporations. Many organisations are already working hard to communicate their commitment to sustainable values in a number of ways in order to attract and retain high-caliber candidates.
Many firms have prioritised increasing access to outdoor space for employees to work, meet, and exercise. This trend is expected to continue in the wake of COVID-19, as many workers have become accustomed to more flexible working arrangements. Microclimate experts can assist corporate clients in designing or upgrading individual outdoor areas or corporate campuses to support a variety of scheduled activities while delivering enough comfort throughout the year.
Architects face a problem in creating sustainable and livable spaces amid adverse weather conditions. Our cities have the potential to transcend traditional forms and become unique pieces that morph and adapt to accept their local surroundings by studying and responding to various environmental variables.
By watching and understanding these natural forces, architects and urban planners can not only reimagine how we live in cities but also create new temperate outdoor areas in harsher climes.