Long Hair Don’t Care: How I Mastered Car Cross Ventilation


Earlier in the semester we discussed how vertical guards on a skyscraper reduce the strength of cross ventilation by redirecting a portion of the air flow in a new direction.

The other day when I got into my car I was reminded of this phenomenon. Now that it’s cold out it isn’t practical to drive with the windows down. Unfortunately for me one of my favorite things to do is drive around with the windows rolled down and feel the air rushing by. I do it so much in the summertime that I’ve developed my own system for the perfect window settings to get the best airflow throughout the car. Now when I stop to think about it, I’ve realized that it uses the same re-directing strategy as the vertical guards.

My window routine is to roll the front two windows all the way down for maximum cross ventilation. But since I have long hair, I always found myself getting annoyed by strands whipping into my face out of control. So I discovered that by cracking the window in the back driver side just enough to create a small air stream my hair seemed to calm down. I now know that by cracking that back window I’ve redirected a portion of the horizontal wind flow, thus, weakening the strength of the cross ventilation wind flow. White girl problem officially solved.

**Diagram not included. Have been having lots of issues with wordpress not letting me post blogs and images.

Past and Present Human Scale Understanding of the “Larger than Life”


Human scale has always been the starting point for how we measure the world around us. In everything from architecture to sports to shoe size, basic units of the human body have provided us with comparative properties to find the perfect fit. The difference in size between da Vinci’s “Vitruvius Man” and Le Corbusier’s “Modular Man”, proves that over time the human scale has evolved. The human scale has evolved at both the individual scale and the larger community scale. In modern times, issues such as obescity, over-population, and waste production have caused society to fight back with “larger than life” solutions. We constantly find ourselves accomodating for bigger and bigger needs.

The change in our perception of scale over time can cause us to distort how we picture major events and structures from the past in comparison with the present world around us. The BBC recently did a study called How Big Really?. How Big Really? juxtaposes historical events and structures over familiar landscapes such as New York City or our very own neighborhoods. By using something familiar to compare with, the BBC reveals to us the true scale of things we tend to envision as “larger than life”. Just like human scale, using something familiar to use for comparitive purposes makes it easy for us to understand.



I visited How Big Really?‘s website and used UVa’s campus to compare a couple of events.

The Rotunda vs. The Colosseum


Chernobyl vs. UVA

If the running of the bulls began from Campbell Hall

The Tora Bora Caves (Afghanistan system of tunnels and chambers where Bin Laden hid) vs. Charlottesville

Green Building for the Hannover Principles


The 9 Hannover Principles are guides meant to integrate nature and human design together in the most energy efficient way possible. Their goal is to eliminate waste, promote sustainability, and generate teamwork.

1. Insist on right of humanity and nature to co-exist
2. Recognize interdependence
3. Respect relationships between spirit and matter
4. Accept responsibility for the consequences of design
5. Create safe objects of long-term value
6. Eliminate the concept of waste
7. Rely on natural energy flows
8. Understand the limitations of design
9. Seek constant improvement by sharing knowledge

The first principle reminded me of one of my favorite buildings, Emilio Ambasz’ Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall in Japan. Ambasz faced a great task when approaching this building: the city needed new government building but the only available site was a two block large park which happened to be the last green space in Fukuoka’s city center. He needed to find a way for both humanity and nature to co-exist. The solution was green building.

Ambasz’ design features fourteen gradually layered terraces. From the north they appear as an elegant glass façade, but from the south the terraces are an entirely different creature. The southern facing side is almost entirely green. The terraces are covered in lush green gardens that give off the illusion of a modern day center city Babylon.

Green building like the Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall is beneficiary to the community for both its human occupants and natural state. Implemented vegetation on buildings improves both outdoor and indoor air quality, thermal sustainability, water conservation, and even occupant mental health.

Vegetation in an urban environment helps to clean the air by absorbing VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds, that are carried by people from their clothing, deodorant, perfume, and other hygiene related products. The plants absorb these negative chemicals as well as reduce carbon dioxide build up and replace them with oxygen.

For insulation, green buildings reduce the urban heat island effect. In their densest areas, cities tend to be about 3-5 degrees hotter than their surrounding regions. This usually happens in the cities center. When there are more plants in these areas the temperatures drop. By dropping the temperature in areas affected by the urban heat island effect, the cycle created by heat response such as increased use of air conditioning is reduced.

Green buildings also help conserve water. They are designed to recycle water in their irrigation systems. Implemented vegetation provides the perfect resource for absorbing excess water in a beneficial way instead of disposing of it into the community’s waterways.

Finally, the occupants of green building have proven to maintain higher levels of mental health. Studies have shown that the presence of plants in the workplace reduce health complaints from employees. Plants also raised morale which increases productivity.

Assignment 5: Applying Systems Principles in Design/ NYC Highline Beekeeping Monastary



In my current studio project, what I find to be the most compelling part of my NYC Highline monastery is the greenhouse and chapel area on the southern end of the building. Also accompanied by a 5 story stairwell that leads to the rooftop, the greenhouse and chapel work together to create their own unique system through a series of relationships both functional and aesthetic. From the congregation, monks will be able to look out towards a 4 story vertical alter that backs up to a stained glass wall which separates the chapel from an elaborate beekeeping vertical greenhouse full of beautiful flowers and honey-filled beehives. The honey in these hives will then be sold to the public by the monks to finance the monastery. To portray these systems I chose to analyze the overall greater southern section of my monastery and the vertical greenhouse.


The first section features the greenhouse, the chapel, the stairwell, and a westward facing balcony. These rooms are connected through both a sunlight and ventilation system.


Facing the south-east, the vertical greenhouse receives the majority of its sunlight from the south in the morning hours. Southern light is ideal for plant growth in the greenhouse. Sun received in the greenhouse acts as a heating device which will be discussed further in the next section. The light that filters through the greenhouse then passes into the chapel through the shared glass wall on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors. This light reflects off the back wall of the vertical component of the chapel onto the alter. Additional light is then reflected off the stained glass into the congregation which is completely under the Highline. This sunlight also acts as a heat source for the chapel.


Wind in New York City typically travels in the north-west direction during the winter and south-west during the summer. Average wind speeds are usually between 8 and 9 mph but can reach up to 15 mph during the harsher winter months. In order for the monastery, which stands 10 stories above ground level, to withstand the wind, horizontal guards were added to the upper stairwell. These guards extend from the windows on each side to weaken the strength of wind generated by cross ventilation on the top 5 floors. The guards create an additional vertical wind stream which calms the horizontal stream generated when facing sets of windows are open. The greenhouse and balcony also allow for cross ventilation. Vents on the 6th and 5th floor of the greenhouse connect with the balcony on the 5th floor to allow air to pass completely through the structure. This cross ventilation is controlled by causing wind to shift down a floor before passing through thus weakening the air flow.

Thermal Environment/Insulation:

The most crucial system devised between the greenhouse and the chapel is the distribution of warm and cold air. The 4 story vertical alter makes it possible to keep the chapel at a comfortable temperature. Warm air given off by the masses in the congregation travels up the alter and is absorbed into the greenhouse while cool air from the ground regulates the temperature. The greenhouse happily receives the warmth transferred from the chapel and adds it into its own heating system. Warm air also rises throughout the upper stories of the greenhouse while the bottom floor is kept cool by the concrete firewall, lower amounts of sunlight, and the cold air exuded from the ground. Any excess heat can be released through the vents on the 5th and 6th floors.




The greenhouse of my monastery isn’t your typical space for growing luscious plants. At 6 stories tall, the greenhouse doubles as a beekeeping space and chapel alter backdrop. The first floor is home to a series of hanging beehives while the upper 5 floors accommodate flowers for pollination. Here the monks care for both the most common honeybee, the Apis Mellifera, and beautiful hanging Fuschia flowers. Fuschia flowers are ideal because they prefer both temperate and tropical climates which the greenhouse will experience throughout the seasons of the year. Each floor of the greenhouse has a walkway for the monks to access the flowers and hives. The edge of the walkways also feature water channels that collect fallen leaves and petals from the Fuschia flowers for the bees to drink from. The plant debris that the channels catch will please the bees because they prefer aged-water with foliage.  It is also prefered that the water be with the flowers on the upper levels to keep it away from the hives. The cooler atmosphere of the first floor accommodates the honey-making behavior of the bees.


As mentioned earlier, the greenhouse receives sunlight from the south in the morning. The upper 5 floors are completely exposed to the sun for maximum plant growth while the bottom floor is shielded by an 18.5 foot tall firewall adjacent with the neighboring building. The hives are located on the bottom floor because of its lack of sunlight. Honeybees prefer their hives in cooler, shady places that are protected from the wind. They also are attracted to bright lights so placing their homes away from the windows will keep them calmer and easier to maintain at night. The greenhouse also receives indirect sunlight from the west in the afternoon through the 5th floor balcony.


Circulation in the greenhouse is generated by the flow of warm and cool air. Cool air enters from the ground through the floor and through the firewall at the bottom of the greenhouse. In addition to accommodating the beehives, the exchange between this cool air and the warm air in the upper portion of the space creates airflow. Warm air travels to the upper floors of the greenhouse. Circulation is complete through vents on the 5th and 6th floors for the escape of carbon dioxide. Cross ventilation can also be created through the vents if temperatures become too high.


The floor and firewall are both made of concrete. To meet regulation, the firewall is 10 inches thick. The greenhouse is made up of a steel frame and polycarbonate horticulture glass. Standard in greenhouses, horticulture glass is slightly translucent to retain maximum heat and relatively affordable. The average greenhouse glass is .12 inches (3 mm) thick. My greenhouse will use .2 inch (5 mm) thick glass due to it’s larger size.

Thermal Environment/Insulation:

The greenhouse acts as a self-sustaining heating system. The polycarbonate glass traps in the warmth of the sun. Short wave infrared radiation from the sun is allowed to travel through the glass into the greenhouse. The heat given off from these waves is absorbed by the plants for energy, which in exchange release long wave infrared radiation as a cooling mechanism. The long wave radiation however cannot escape the polycarbonate glass and becomes trapped inside the greenhouse. In other words, the nature of the greenhouse glass acts as a heat envelope. This causes both temperature and water vapor percentage to rise. Heat is then transferred throughout the greenhouse through convection. However, because my greenhouse is unusually tall the temperature at ground level will greatly vary with the temperature on the top floor. As seen in the igloo from assignment 4, the bottom floor acts as a cold trap. The maintenance of both ranges of temperature allows for successful beekeeping in one complete space.

Insulation & Ventilation of a Greenhouse: Research for Assignment 5


For our 5th assignment, I will be applying what we’ve learned in Systems class this semester to a greenhouse in my NYC Highline studio project.

For my studio project, I am designing a Cistercian monastery on a vacant site next to the NYC Highline off of 26th avenue. My monks will be making honey which requires them to double as bee-keepers. I plan on housing the bee’s nests in a 6-story tall vertical greenhouse. This greenhouse will also be home to various flowers for the bees to pollinate. Before applying bee-keeping conditions to the greenhouse, I first researched the systems of a greenhouse and what it entails.

Greenhouses greatly rely on their insulation and ventilation systems.

Greenhouse Systems Diagram

INSULATION: The sun emits short wave infrared radiation via sunlight which is absorbed by the plants inside the greenhouse. The plants convert the heat into energy and eventually need to cool off. They do so through radiation which releases heat via long wave infrared. Due to the nature of the greenhouse’s glass walls, long wave infrared cannot escape the space and becomes trapped inside the greenhouse. By trapping this heat, the greenhouses temperature raises. This cycle creates self-sustaining heating in the greenhouse.

VENTILATION: Ventilation The warm air trapped inside the greenhouse requires a system of ventilation to keep the hot air from suffocating the plants. Air flow is brought in and out of the greenhouse at it’s highest and lowest points. Lighter, hot air can escape near the roof as it rises and cooler air is also vented into the green house by its base. This cycle of air flow conditions the temperature and generates circulation throughout the space.




Assignment 4: Igloo Analysis


Igloos: The Ultimate Temporary Shelter

For centuries now, Inuit hunters have been relying on the shelter of igloos to make their treks across the Arctic landscape possible. The Inuit have been building igloos for hundreds of years now over the 3,500 miles of the Arctic regions of Canada, Northern Europe, Russia, Greenland and Alaska.  These glacial climates maintain snow and ice year round with average temperatures reaching anywhere from -10° to -60° Fahrenheit.  The Arctic region is also subject to piercing winds of up to 55 mph and intense storms that can cause whiteouts.  Compared to other types of traditional temporary shelters such as the tee-pee and the yurt, the Inuit igloo is the most practical shelter for its particular environment.

Parts of an Igloo

Contrary to popular belief, the igloo is not the primary home of the Inuit. Igloos are used on hunting or fishing trips lasting anywhere from a couple days to entire winters.  Their sizes range from small single-occupant units to entire igloo villages complete
with banquet halls. Today, the modern-day take on the igloo is the ice hotel. Rebuilt annually, ice hotels such as Iglu-Dorf in Switzerland use the same strategies as traditional igloos to insulate the connected 18 guest igloos, main igloo, and ice-bar.

As means of temporary shelter using available materials, the igloo has superior insulation in comparison with the American Great Plains tee-pee and the Central Asian yurt in respect to each of their unique environments. Each shelter is meant to be installed quickly by hunters or nomadic tribes and transported or rebuilt in multiple locations. However, the igloo’s use of materials, air flow, and shape makes it the most practical option. See chart below.

Temporary Shelter Comparison

Disadvantages of Tee-pees and Yurts

What makes the igloo a successful temporary Arctic shelter? 


Igloos are made of large, hard-packed blocks of snow. These blocks are typically between 15 and 30 centimeters thick and get smaller towards the top of the dome. Fortunately, snow is easy to work with and the Arctic winds freeze them into solid forms.  In fact, snow naturally reinforces itself over time.  After a few days of exposure to body heat and any warmth let off by a kudlik, an Inuit stone lamp, the snow blocks begin to slightly melt. By melting, they turn to solid ice which makes the structure both more secure and air tight. Most importantly, this makes the igloo noticeably warmer. Finally, when the hunter is ready to move on there is nothing to disassemble and carry with him; the igloo simply melts when the temperature rises.

Air Flow:

Igloo Air Flow

Igloos maintain their heat by manipulating the flow of air both inside and outside the structure.  On the exterior, the air tight snow blocks keep out all freezing Arctic winds. Although there is a minor ventilation hole on the main dome, it is small enough not to let in any significant amounts of cold air.  Any outside air that makes its way into the interior sinks away from the main living quarters. On the interior, warmth given off by body heat or a kudlik rises and remains in the dome area. The Inuit learned to manipulate the rise of warm air by sleeping on raised slabs of ice. By raising their sleeping platform, hunters enjoyed up to a 5°F temperature increase.


Igloo Heat Retention

From the outside, the igloo appears to be a simple dome shape when in reality a major portion of the interior space is partially underground. Igloo entrances are dug into the ground up to 7 feet deep. At its deepest point, the submerged entrance acts as a cold sink which helps to moderate the igloos temperature. In addition to this cold air trap, the main domed interior space acts as a warm air trap. Because the dome is relatively low and hot air rises, it becomes trapped in the living quarters.  By creating this warmth bubble, igloos on average are 40°F warmer than the outside temperature.  Igloos also commonly have L-shaped entrances. The L-shape redirects the freezing outside wind so that it does not stream directly into the living quarters. A majority of the air is caught in the cold air trap before it makes it to the main dome.



Thinking in Systems by Dana Meadows

Thermal Delight in Architecture by Heschong

Heating, Cooling, Lighting by Lechner

Building an Igloo by Norbert Yankielun

How to Build an Igloo http://people.howstuffworks.com/igloo.htm

American Midwest Tee-pees http://www.usa-people-search.com/content-native-american-shelters.aspx

Yurts http://www.chaingang.org/yurtquest/FAQ.html

Iglu-Dorf Website http://www.iglu-dorf.com/

Intentions for Assignment 4


Research Topic:

For Assignment 4, I will be investigating the insulation of igloos and their modern-day successor, the ice hotel. Igloos create a rare phenomena where materials such as snow and ice are constructed in a manner to retain warmth in cold weather environments. I hope to use my knowledge of systems to carry out my analysis.

Outline of Argument:

I hope to prove that due to the igloo’s use of available materials, manipulation of airflow, and use of space, it is the most practical option for a temporary shelter in a wintry environment. When researching materials, I will focus on how they retain heat and keep their form. Next, I will be looking at the air flow of the igloo. My assignment will include an explanation of how igloos control warm and cold air to maintain a comfortable temperature. Finally, I will be researching the science behind the igloos shape and how it creates a “heat trap”. In addition, I will be diagramming airflow and construction method and  will be incorporating case studies of a few famous ice hotels such as Iglu-Dorf in Switzerland, Hotel Kakslauttanen in Finland, and the Schneedorf in Austria.

Potential Sources:

Thinking in Systems by Dana Meadows

Thermal Delight in Architecture by Heschong

Heating, Cooling, Lighting by Lechner

The Green Studio Handbook by Kwok

Building an Igloo by Norbert Yankielun

How to Build an Igloo (video) http://www.nfb.ca/film/How_to_Build_an_Igloo/

Hotel Kakslauttanen Website http://www.kakslauttanen.fi/en/

Iglu-Dorf Website http://www.iglu-dorf.com/

Schneedorf Website http://www.schneedorf.com/en/

Intended Form of Final Production:

In addition to my paper, my final assignment will include diagrams (similar to those posted) of air flow in a basic igloo, the construction of a basic igloo, and analyzed plans of the case study ice hotels. I’d also like create my own experiment by building a miniature igloo and studying its internal temperature and the lifespan of its materials. I hope to either record what I find with a series of images or potentially record a short video of my experiment.

Assignment 3 cont’d: Connection to the Sun


The largest trend I discovered in my chart was materials and their transportation. As discussed earlier, transportation lets off harmful admissions that in turn cause global temperture to rise. This happens because of the effect of these admissions on the o-zone. By weakening the o-zone, the sun becomes more exposed therefore lets off more energy. This increased solar energy effects temperature which is connected to natural resources and many building functions as well as my own body temperature.