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TITLE: Thermodynamic Architecture


The concept of thermodynamics emphasizes the process of form change or energy

exchange. From the law of conservation of energy – the first law of thermodynamics stating
“Energy can be converted from one form into another, but it cannot be created or destroyed”,
relating on the principle of energy conservation in architecture.

In the study from the International Conference Green Architecture for Sustainable Living
and Environment, Fernandez Galiano, an Italian architect, stated that ‘the law of thermodynamics
in his viewpoint is proposed through an analogy of building exterior as the insulation of a system.
The exterior can transform and/or conserve energy.’ (Nuffida, 2014)

‘Thermodynamics is the physics that deals with the mechanical action or relations of heat
and it is mainly based on four laws which describe universally reproducible phenomena of energy
transfer. Due to these characteristics, the formulation of architecture in thermodynamic terms –as
different contemporary critics and architects have already suggested1 – allows for a universal and
scaleless multidisciplinary evaluation of the architectural form: it establishes a common platform
for the construction of collective knowledge, one of the biggest potentials of the contemporary
understanding of ecology. Moreover, it pictures architectural form as the precise combination of
a set of ingredients that reproduces a physical process to achieve a certain effect in a given space.’
(Rojo, Marcos Garcia, Thermodynamic Architecture)


The significance of the architectural focus and approach is the advantageous effects
(architecturally) to the project itself benefiting the users and further contributing to architectural
studies if architectural focus and approach is applied successfully.

As a huge economic driver of the local community and as a complex architectural project,
applying the architectural approach and focus: thermodynamic architecture, would make a large
contribution in creating low energy structures making a significant impact to the economic status
of the local community and studies in architecture creating sustainable structures and environment.
This could further be developed and be an extensive drive for the economy of other local
communities and could further spread in the entirety of the country and enrich the study of
sustainable architecture.
Identified as a significant architectural focus and approach this also could affect the
consciousness of architects and users to port architecture and further enhance and improve studies,
architectural and engineering approach and innovations and technologies to port building and


From the International Conference Green Architecture for Sustainable Living and
Environment they stated that from Fernandez-Galiano (2000) in his book Fire and Memory: On
Architecture and Energy he stated that ‘there are several important matters on the concept of
architecture and energy conservation in a building. First, the correlation between built form and
design with energy consumption pattern. Second, how energy is transformed into a building
through the implementation of photovoltaic panels on the exterior of the building. And third, how
the analogy of natural ecosystem can inspire the concept of architecture and energy conservation
in a building.’ (Nuffida, 2014).

Thermodynamic architecture applies different energy generators and conserving

technologies and manipulates these technologies to adapt in the environment and be aesthetically
pleasurable in accordance to the principles of architecture.

1. Steel truss system supporting several sets of photovoltaic panels. Panels providing 20kW
of electricity, making a ten percent surplus of electricity needed by the building.
2. Copper plate roofs contradicting a conventional practice of reflecting heat way, but instead
acts as a heat collector.
3. Thermal chimneys under the solar panels that enable fresh air to flow at a rate of 12 to 15
changes per hour.
4. Coils containing cold seawater pumped from below nearby ocean’s surface. Condensed
water drips from the coils into a collection system and is then used to flush toilets and
irrigate plants.