Cool Architectural Alternatives For Living Without Air Conditioning

With the heatwave sweeping the country, an urban air conditioning addiction is also on the rise. For those of us lucky enough to have it at work or at home, the generated air is an easy (if pricey) comfort that often leaves us avoiding the foreign realm of the outdoors. However, air conditioning wasn’t always there for us to fall back on so easily. Believe it or not, architecture can help us alleviate some of the heat.


Above: Thick Earthen Walls: Sagburg by contexture studio

Top image: Cave Dwellings: Chair House by Igor Sirotov Architect

The advent of the air conditioner not only meant less sweat; it also changed the very way that we live, and the buildings we live, work, and play in. Cool porches and deep eaves were unnecessary, walls could be thinner, high ceiling and attics were a waste of space, and development could generally spread into increasingly hot climates. Such temperature control also allowed for steel and glass towers of greenhouse-level-heat to become a practical notion.


Ventilation Strategy: Axis Administration by Krishna Chaitanya Dommu

Prior to this luxury though, if you weren’t submerged in water, buildings actually needed to pitch in with the job of cooling during the summer. Here is a collection of homes that show features that could help you to build your way out of heatstroke. Oh, and also: climate change.


There is a reason why people started by living in caves, as seen in the top image, the Chair House by Igor Sirotov Architect. The thermal mass of the huge volume of earth surrounding caves helps to stabilize temperature inside. Plus, it looks awesome.


Underground: BCHO Earth House by BCHO Architects Associates

Same goes for buildings that are constructed underground. Not only is the sun stopped from entering the interior, but the earth that surrounding the building is slow to heat up and cool down, also making it warmer in the cold months.


Read on for more brilliant examples of living A/C-free!


Passive: Passivhaus Vogel by Diethelm & Spillmann Architects

Article by Alex Garkavenko

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