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Tags architecture , buildings

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Old 2nd March 2019, 01:34 PM   #1
Vixen
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Buildings and health - how important is modern architecture?

Having been knocked out by the Living with Buildings Exhibition at the Wellcome Trust in Euston Road, London, 4 October 2018—3 March 2019, I'd like to pose a central tenet of its theme. How closely related to health are buildings, in your view?

Wellcome Trust is a medical foundation and I thought this exhibition was inspired. (Tomorrow, Sunday is the last day, so get yourself there through wind rain and fire before it finishes.) Who in your opinion is the greatest modern archictect in terms of city housing?


https://wellcomecollection.org/exhib...4sPSQAACcANwrX
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Old 2nd March 2019, 09:27 PM   #2
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Air conditioning is critical. Not only to control temperature but to remove any toxic gases. Someone might clean glass using ammonia. Or maybe there is radon gas being produced. Both mildly dangerous and needs to be removed. So you need to swap the indoor and outdoor air at regular intervals.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 08:14 AM   #3
Vixen
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
Air conditioning is critical. Not only to control temperature but to remove any toxic gases. Someone might clean glass using ammonia. Or maybe there is radon gas being produced. Both mildly dangerous and needs to be removed. So you need to swap the indoor and outdoor air at regular intervals.
Aside from office buildings and factories, British homes don't tend to have air-conditioning. Even in hot countries many buildings seem to have little more than a fan on the ceiling or a cumbersome tank-like machine.

Is there evidence that without air-conditioning homes are toxic?
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Old 3rd March 2019, 08:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Aside from office buildings and factories, British homes don't tend to have air-conditioning. Even in hot countries many buildings seem to have little more than a fan on the ceiling or a cumbersome tank-like machine.

Is there evidence that without air-conditioning homes are toxic?
You need to be able to exchange air quickly, and to be able to shut down air exchange in case of fire. To air out gasses, and to control humidity and prevent mold.

In traditional houses this is not critical – you have doors and windows that can be opened and shut.

In modern high rises, however, this can become a problem when windows are NOT be able to be opened. There's also a Dutch trend to built (single family, or small apartment) buildings cheaper by NOT having windows able to open. In those cases, an air venting system needs to be considered, and you might as well think about temperature control if you already have to do the venting/air flow planning.

There's also a study (not that i am inclined to search for it right now, so you have to take my word from it) that particulate matter pollution is quite higher in homes than from traffic in outside city air, from aerosols used in cosmetics and cleaning products. Again, air exchange is needed to address that.

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Old 3rd March 2019, 08:40 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by elgarak View Post
You need to be able to exchange air quickly, and to be able to shut down air exchange in case of fire. To air out gasses, and to control humidity and prevent mold.

In traditional houses this is not critical you have doors and windows that can be opened and shut.

In modern high rises, however, this can become a problem when windows are NOT be able to be opened. There's also a Dutch trend to built (single family, or small apartment) buildings cheaper by NOT having windows able to open. In those cases, an air venting system needs to be considered, and you might as well think about temperature control if you already have to do the venting/air flow planning.

There's also a study (not that i am inclined to search for it right now, so you have to take my word from it) that particulate matter pollution is quite higher in homes than from traffic in outside city air, from aerosols used in cosmetics and cleaning products. Again, air exchange is needed to address that.

I recently put in an offer for a new apartment (still being built) simply on the basis of the beautiful architecture (drawings and artist's impression). The air-conditioning aspect never occurred to me so I've gone back to the specs and <phew> it does say it will be equipped (google translation: ventilation unit
heat recovery). The location means there isn't really any traffic pollution to worry about (it is not part of a metropolis). I am highly allergic so am sparing on cleaning fluids anyway - hardly ever use cleaning sprays as they make me gag - but it is an area high in natural radioactivity from the granite rocks. Does a modern air-conditioning system filter that out? Presumably, the 'radon'.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 02:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by elgarak View Post
You need to be able to exchange air quickly, and to be able to shut down air exchange in case of fire. To air out gasses, and to control humidity and prevent mold.

In traditional houses this is not critical you have doors and windows that can be opened and shut.

In modern high rises, however, this can become a problem when windows are NOT be able to be opened. There's also a Dutch trend to built (single family, or small apartment) buildings cheaper by NOT having windows able to open. In those cases, an air venting system needs to be considered, and you might as well think about temperature control if you already have to do the venting/air flow planning.

There's also a study (not that i am inclined to search for it right now, so you have to take my word from it) that particulate matter pollution is quite higher in homes than from traffic in outside city air, from aerosols used in cosmetics and cleaning products. Again, air exchange is needed to address that.
This is what I meant. You need a good exchange of air between the inside and outside of the building because the building will produce toxic gas. No expensive filters are needed. And just hope that there is no outside air pollution. Not sure what you can do if you live next to a polluting factory.
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Old 8th March 2019, 07:12 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by elgarak View Post
You need to be able to exchange air quickly,
and to be able to shut down air exchange in case of fire.

Not a good idea. See this video.

Trapping the hot and toxic gasses in a room will lead to flashover in about
a minute or two. Blowers should immediately push the gasses out of the
room through vents in the ceiling to prevent this condition from happening,
and give any occupants plenty of time to awaken and flee from the building.
If water poses no problem with the room's contents, like column one metals,
then instal sprinklers.


Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
I am highly allergic so am sparing on cleaning fluids anyway - hardly ever
use cleaning sprays as they make me gag - but it is an area high in natural
radioactivity from the granite rocks. Does a modern air-conditioning system
filter that out? Presumably, the 'radon'.

No.

Radon, a heavy gas, requires special equipment for its separation from air,
at a really high cost.

In old buildings sealing up the cracks in the basement and providing
ventilation to the ground underneath the basement to the outside air
will clear it out. In new buildings they put down a plastic layer before
they pour the foundation with ventilation underneath the plastic layer.
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Old 8th March 2019, 03:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Solitaire View Post
Not a good idea. See this video.

<snip>
Someone criticised me once for saying if you have a fire in your house, get out, call emergency services. Do not attempt to fight fire. But that is what the video just said. I think if you have a fire extinguisher its main purpose is to hit an intruder on the head.
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Old 8th March 2019, 06:20 PM   #9
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Building design is very important for health.

A lot of building materials (including textiles) out-gas Volatile Organic Compounds, and if you're unlucky and building materials have been sourced from an non-compliant country, quite toxic ones.

Those materials out-gas for quite a long time after construction, and good airflow is required to get the gasses away from the occupants.

Similarly the modern trend to clad buildings in thermite and napalm* can be particularly injurious to all concerned.

*That may be a slight exaggeration.
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Old 12th March 2019, 01:34 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
Building design is very important for health.

A lot of building materials (including textiles) out-gas Volatile Organic Compounds, and if you're unlucky and building materials have been sourced from an non-compliant country, quite toxic ones.

Those materials out-gas for quite a long time after construction, and good airflow is required to get the gasses away from the occupants.

Similarly the modern trend to clad buildings in thermite and napalm* can be particularly injurious to all concerned.

*That may be a slight exaggeration.

Thanks, Novaphile.

However, surely there is more to modern building design than elimination of toxic gases, Peeps.
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Old 12th March 2019, 02:24 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Thanks, Novaphile.

However, surely there is more to modern building design than elimination of toxic gases, Peeps.
Yes, but not many of them are related to health issues.

Edit. Fire safety, such as smoke detectors, sprinklers, not using material that will burn easily, removal of gases and not having materials that give off excessive toxic gases have mostly been mentioned
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Old 14th March 2019, 02:16 AM   #12
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I think you all missed the point of this exhibition.

It was not about materials and safety, but more about how building architecture, internal design, spaces and colours affect our health. Emphasis being on mental health ant interactions with our environment, e.g.,
Explore the role colour can play in making us feel better, see a pioneering mobile clinic designed to provide adaptable healthcare in emergency situations and examine the history and continuing reality of how we design for health.

Featuring works by Andreas Gursky, Rachel Whiteread and Martha Rosler, as well as buildings designed by Goldfinger, Lubetkin and Aalto, this exhibition examines some of the ways in which architects, planners and designers influence our health, self-esteem and ideas about society.
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