Critical regionalism | Hydro Wall


Turning modern but revitalizing the ancient. Taking a step forward and going universal.

According to Kenneth Frampton, critical regionalism should adopt modern architecture critically for its universal progressive qualities but at the same time should value responses particular to the context. Emphasis should be on topography, climate, light, tectonic form rather than scenography and the tactile sense rather than the visual.

“Architect Virginia San Fratello won this year’s Next Generation ideas competition, sponsored by Metropolis magazine, with her proposed Hydro Wall. Her challenge now will be getting the digital image, rendered in the 3-D modeling program Form•Z, “out of the computer,” as she says, referring to the process of building a prototype.

The Hydro Wall is an ingeniously conceived building component that collects rainwater from the roof and stores it in a rubber “bladder” inside the wall to serve as a thermal mass. Intended for hot climates with sharp daily swings in temperature, the wall would reduce air-conditioning costs and energy consumption by preventing the sun’s heat from radiating through exterior walls during the day. The water — one of nature’s best thermo conductors — would store the excess heat inside the wall, and a heat-transfer system could be installed to blow the warm air into the interior at night when temperatures drop. The water could also be used to irrigate plants growing from pockets embedded in the wall’s surface.” source

More details: Business week article


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