In cities worldwide, particulate air pollution is on the rise due to growing urban populations, transportation, and industrialization. Not only does air pollution aggravate climate change, it contributes to an accelerated increase in respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Buildings are primarily concerned with interior comfort and air quality for their own occupants. With great concern for the quality of the climate at the pedestrian level in outdoor public spaces, this project’s research goal is to rethink the outermost surface of a building facade as a steward for public health and propose a new function for urban architecture: to clean outdoor air for pedestrians. Air velocity increases when squeezing through constricted spaces. Smaller-scale structures and building façade surfaces can be designed to increase local air movement and to filter dangerous particulate matter, resulting in public pockets of fresh air at the lower pedestrian levels.
While At Headlands
I want to explore how contours on a building surface can control and increase air movement. By controlling the direction and velocity of wind at a micro-climate level, I hope to eventually filter the air. To do this, I plan to do the following:
- Building surface models: Three-dimensional relief geometries will be developed digitally and prototyped using my own 3-D printer. The surface geometries will be designed to increase and decrease directional air movement. Research on fluid dynamics (turbulence, eddy currents, etc.) will help inform the final outcomes.
- Incorporating low-tech material: The same reliefs will be tested at full scale using readily available and inexpensive materials. The intent is to develop options for developing countries.
- Testing air flow: Using basic testing of air movement with smoke and electronic sensors, I would like to video document and record the direction and speed of movement of air.