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Tahmineh Mokhtari: Study of Climate-responsive Architecture for Urban Residence in Gorgan, Iran: Investigating the Practicality of Traditional Architectural Practices

Climate responsive building design can play an important role in reducing the energy demand for buildings without compromising modern living standards. A poor building design, which is irrespective to climatic conditions may either create uncomfortable indoor environment or increase the need for maintaining thermal comfort through other means. Modernisation together with the need for effective and fast provision of shelters for the increasing population has flooded the market with new building designs, technologies and materials. Thus building professionals does often apply new designs without considering local climate conditions.

Over the years, different architects have experimented passive design strategies mostly in central part of Iran (e.g. city of Yazd), but, there is only a few work on bioclimatic design strategies in temperate and humid part of Iran. Traditional buildings in the city of Gorgan in north of Iran have been an influential reference point amongst advocates of vernacular architecture in providing comfortable living environments in such adverse temperate and humid climate conditions, due to their design features and sophisticated passive cooling elements. This study will seek to first understand and analyse the main classification of Gorgan’s climate by using the meteorological data obtained for the last three decades. Then, based on the analysis, the climate conditions of Gorgan in different months of a year with respect to human thermal comfort are investigated. The performance of a number of individual passive design strategies used on a traditional house in Gorgan to improve thermal comfort conditions in summer time is evaluated. A comprehensive field measurement was carried out in July 2016 in the case study building to determine occupants’ thermal conditions and also evaluate the performance of a number of cooling strategies applied in the house. This fieldwork includes qualitative and quantitative surveys, by measuring and analysing environmental variables such as dry bulb temperature, relative humidity and air velocity, as well as questionnaire surveys on thermal sensation vote of 40 occupants according to ASHRAE thermal sensation scale in different parts of the house. In addition, analytical calculations are employed to validate the results and discussions obtained from field measurements.