Energy efficiency High-rise vs Low-rise

A 2015 research paper by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) on ‘The Environment Impact of Tall vs Small’ building types in the Chicago area found that ‘4-storey courtyard buildings had the lowest energy demand’ and ‘super-talls used the most energy out of all’. It also found that for super-tall buildings, ‘these buildings depend on a series of spaces that are not residential units but account for around 30% of total building area … these spaces are continuously illuminated and conditioned yet not always occupied’. A Google search tells us that the Chicago courtyard apartment buildings developed after 1902 are flexible, multi-unit housing types that should be considered for any sustainable residential or mixed use residential project. They have an open courtyard that extends into the block perpendicular to the street.

The Chicago Courtyard Apartment Building: A Sustainable Model Type
RICHARD GNAT Kansas State University

A 2005 Energy Australia analysed ‘Multi Unit Residential Buildings Energy & Peak Demand Study’ in the Sydney area. Comparing dwelling types, the study found that townhouses and villas had the lowest average energy demand of all building type and the findings clearly show that the surveyed high-rise buildings represented the least energy-efficient forms of housing (see page 10 of the study).

Townhouses and villas are defined as two or more attached dwellings with common or shared facilities (eg car-parking). In Hamilton you can see more of these are being built and the designers are updating the style of them and improving their street appeal. In Hamilton, courtyard sized (4-storey) buildings are in limited numbers; however, the CTBUH paper reports these as being kind to the environment.

Category: News

The terrible outcome of building up

While visiting the mid-sized city of Gottingen in 2015 it does have a good feel to it, the city centre was active, bike parking is untidy similar to Delft (cool YouTube clip on biking in Gottingen), it is city well worth visiting.

In the early 1970s Göttingen started a building up project, the planning and location of Iduna Centre could be text book best practice and it did have a good start, made up of 17 floors and 407 apartments of reinforced concrete. Back then the apartments of the housing block in the German university city of Göttingen were considered chic and a good location. Lawyers, university staff and young families lived in these luxury apartments. The site was attractive, right between the university campus and city centre, equipped with swimming pool and sauna. Sadly over the medium term political leadership lost interest, (we have seen this in Hamilton with council flats). Like many large bulky/obese apartment buildings they have a long history of bad outcomes.

For photos ‘Hope and despair on the seventeenth floor’ by Ingmar Bjorn Nolting

Gottingen Iduna-zentrum ostseite (image from wikimedia)

Iduna-Zentrum (Gottingen) – It was opened in 1975. The new building with then modern usage concepts and apartments with further views on the upper floors … it originally housed a shopping centre, as well as a swimming pool and a sauna. Two pedestrian bridges connected the Iduna Centre with the city centre of Göttingen as well as with the university. The apartments were partly rented out, partly sold … In 1987, the building complex was taken over by a Göttingen real estate company. The swimming pool and sauna were closed. The two pedestrian bridges were demolished in 1993 and 2003 respectively. In 2020 a Google search of Iduna-Zentrum does not help its reputation. “There has always been this kind of resentment. Now it’s getting more virulent,” says Meinhart Ramaswamy. He is a member of the city’s municipal assembly for the Pirate Party

The architect Terry Farrell wrote in his 2007 ‘Manifesto for London’Paradoxically, the poorest live either side of Regent’s Park and are poorer, statistically, than the East End. There is a low level of mixed-use, little variation in tenancy types and virtually no historic building stock, as most of the estates date from the mid twentieth century. Though they may be high rise, they are not necessarily high density, compared with the rich, dense surrounding areas’. He uses habitable room per hectare (hrh) to measures density, typical higher rise social housing estates had between 331 hrh to 480 hrh, private housing in Nottingham place 800 hrh & Crawford Street 1,000 hrh.

Terry Farrell: Manifesto For London page 17

High rise is not necessarily high density.

Category: News