Anthills to Labyrinths, Engineering Substainable Architecture
Patrick Bellew — Director, Atelier TenPatrick Bellew's presentation homes in on the need to maximise the value of available resources. With 10% of energy needing to come from renewable sources, a big step forward is to minimise the energy use of buildings in the first place, as achieving 10% of a little is easier than 10% of a lot. Mr Bellew also underlines the need for heat recovery systems, adding solar heating and using on-site tree planting to try and achieve carbon neutral or carbon positive buildings.Mr Bellew's speech reiterates the need to draw inspiration from the natural world in order to engineer sustainable solutions. Mr Bellew uses the example of a termites nest, where the centre needed to be maintained at 31 degrees – something accomplished through natural ventilation and natural heating. He draws comparisons between this and the Villa Costozza in Italy which uses decoupled thermal mass to achieve a similar effect.Another example of sustainable design the Patrick points towards is the Kimberlin Library at De Montfort university, where the heat from computers and visitors to the library was found to be enough to heat the building using a slab system and heat recovery ventilation.At the Earth Centre in Doncaster, architects built the underground of the site as two slabs with a labyrinth in between. Using this labyrinth in harmony with a heat displacement system, it draws night air down to cool the building in the summer and will circulate warm air trapped by glass to provide heat in the winter.The presentation ends with a quote from Paul Finch, warning against the overuse of the word ‘sustainable’ where it does not necessarily apply: “Over-use of words like ‘Sustainability’ reduces them to the lowest level of meaning, that is to say the level where politicians and marketing directors feel comfortable using them, safe in the knowledge that they can mean anything. “The arrogant descriptions of buildings, places and their architecture, as being ‘sustainable’ generally flies in the face of history.”For more information, see: The presentation content and the opinions expressed their in, are offered only as guidance and neither the speaker nor Nightingale Associates accept responsibility for how they are used or interpreted.