How Air Conditioning Influenced Building Design

14/09/2020

Modern air conditioning allowed for sealed and compact designs in residential and commercial structures. That helped in accelerating urbanisation and also provided several more options for architectural design.

How air conditioning influenced building design

Back then house designs were based on the local climate and environment. For instance, in tropical locations with high humidity levels, houses were mostly designed for maximum airflow (huge windows, lightweight and permeable materials). But today in many developed and developing countries, houses now can be designed as sealed and even imitating what’s found in colder nations. This has been made possible by air conditioning because with an AC unit, the house interior can be kept cool even during hot summer days.

This means the house or building can still be designed without much regard to the local climate and environment. For example, we now see highrises and compact structures in Singapore and other countries in Southeast Asia even though the climate is warm all year round. The HVAC system has helped in making it possible because temperature and humidity control can still be achieved even if the structure is compact and sealed.

Modern heating and cooling systems also allowed bringing people together (perhaps one reason the modern workplace is possible now). Decades ago air conditioners helped movie theatres thrived even during hot summer days. Although those venues are a bit crowded, customers still feel comfortable for hours.

In other words, modern air conditioning introduced fresh possibilities to building design. However, there’s intense pressure now to adopt more efficient and sustainable practices. Also, developers and asset managers want to bring down costs in building operation and maintenance. Energy costs have been rising and we’re also becoming more aware of our activities’ environmental impact.

Here at Enterprise Air Conditioning we prioritise both reliability and efficiency. Although there are always constraints depending on how the building was designed and being used, we always work around those constraints to keep the costs low and help achieve the occupants’ desired comfort levels, whether it’s a commercial or industrial site.