I attended Rahul Mehrotra’s lecture a few weeks ago wherein which he presented a few of the works that he and his firm have completed. One of the projects he showed us was the headquarters for the KMC Corporation which had a unique trellis façade. The exterior of the building consisted of operable sliding glass doors, a walkway, and a trellis that was set three feet away from the glass. Plants were propagated throughout the trellis system and were tended to by gardeners and a system of misters. The design of this façade was fabricated to deal with the hot climate of the region and to lessen the dependence on air conditioning. The misting of the plants starts when the temperatures are high and begins the process of evapotranspiration that effectively lowered the internal temperature of the building.
It is a fascinating idea that is further enhanced by the simple inspiration that it was drawn from. It was discovered through a video shown to the attendees that the idea stemmed from road-side water dispensers in India. The video depicted a humble thatched structure that was operated by a man who distributed water to patrons who were looking to quench their thirst. The method of keeping the water and the operator cool was revealed to simply be by sprinkling water on the thatched exterior, which in turn lowered the temperature within.
It was interesting to learn that a seemingly complex façade on a modern building was based on such a simple idea. It ties in well with our in-class discussion of complex versus simple exteriors and provides an example of a façade which attempts to keep it simple. I believe that by utilizing processes from nature we can tackle complex issues such as building-comfort with remedies that are effective but simple.