This project offers a study and an approach to design at the extreme weather conditions of high mountain summits. The main factors taken in consideration are meteorological: wind and snow as sources of the dominant loads on structures at such locations.
Wind and snow follow complex behavioral patterns as they scope through the mountain topography. Wind gets channeled around the peaks creating zones of pressure differences and turbulences. As snow is carried by the wind, it forms patterns of accumulation directly induced by the behavioral dynamics of the wind.
A research on aerodynamics and snow accumulation was carried out. Analogue and digital tests were performed in order to develop a strategy to approach the topic. A “form-finding” technique was developed as a method to generate each structure as a direct response to the site’s unique windscape. This designates certain structures as ones that take advantage of snow buildup for heat insulation, others that minimize the wind and snow load exerted on them, as well as some that perform in both manners.
The site of the project is Mount Säntis in the Swiss Alps. A scenario, combining three different programs are proposed: an observatory, a peak lab, and a “survival course”. In order to minimize the technical difficulties of building numerous and large structures at such location a digital neural network is used to “cluster” spaces from the different programs so that the resulting spaces would perform multiple functions and the structures necessary to be erected would be minimized.
A neural network is also used to evaluate how these resulting “clusters” of functional spaces can be distributed around the site taking best advantages of its topography, wind dynamics and snow accumulation patterns. As a result of this entire process, the generated architectonic formations are a clear morphing of architectural spaces with the extreme topography and meteorological dynamics of a mountain peak.
This project was published in the 2006 Architecture Biennial of Beijing booklet “Emerging Talents, Emerging Technologies”.
Project title: WINDSCAPES
Location: Mount Säntis, Switzerland
Authors: Fabiano Friedrich e Silva, Krassimir Krastev
Tutor: Neil Leach
University: Hochschule Anhalt, Dessau Institute of Architecture, Germany
Collaboration : Radomir Zugic
Publication: Emerging Talents, Emerging Technologies