13 April 2008

Natural Habitat

From a Vanity Fair piece on Renzo Piano's Calfornia Academy of Sciences:

In particular, Piano wanted to focus on power efficiency. “As an architect,” he says, “you spend your life thinking about some little obsession you have. One for me has been the obsession to make a building without air-conditioning.”

Through a complex system of weather sensors that tell a central computer what motorized windows to open and close, the entire museum is cooled with untreated outside air. Even the skylights automatically pop open to vent hot air. The undulating roofline doesn’t just look dramatic; it also serves to draw cool air into the open courtyard at the center of the building, naturally ventilating the surrounding exhibit spaces.

An excellent strategy, I assume, for a complex in Northern California that will include "a habitat for penguins."

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