Manual of tropical housing and building. Part one: Climatic design

Manual of tropical housing and building. Part one: Climatic design

Build. Sci. Vol. 10, pp. 85-87. Pergamon Press 1975. Printed in Great Britain Manual of Tropical Housing and Building. Part one: Climatic Design O. H...

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Build. Sci. Vol. 10, pp. 85-87. Pergamon Press 1975. Printed in Great Britain

Manual of Tropical Housing and Building. Part one: Climatic Design O. H. K O E N I G S B E R G E R , T. G. I N G E R S O L L , A L A N M A Y H E W , S. V. S Z O K O L A Y Longman Group, London (1974) 320 pp. £4.95 (hardback) and £2.95 (paperback).

A F T E R a sporadic start in the early nineteen-fifties, books in English on the design of buildings in relation to climate appeared at a rate which reached an average of about one a year during the sixties with a peak towards the end of the decade which has subsequently declined. They are roughly of three kinds: descriptive works which introduce the subject in general terms and give examples of buildings which show a response to climatic forces; accounts of building research and theory more or less orientated towards architects or other designers; and books written specifically to provide help to architects or planners during the design process at the point at which help is needed. For cultural and economic reasons most of the books so far published have concentrated on conditions and needs in hot climates; a bias which may change as the cost of energy rises in cooler countries. Of the descriptive works, probably the best known is Climate and Architecture by J. E. ARONIN (Reinhold, 1953) with its excellent bibliography. Two valuable books originating with research workers are J. F. VAN STRAATEN'S Thermal PerformanceofBuildings(Elsevier, 1967) and B. GIVONI'S Man, Climate and A rchiteeture (Elsevier, 1969, which, despite its broad title, also concentrates on hotcountry thermal problems). These are books for research workers, engineers and building scientists, and for architects with a strong motivation to improve their knowledge and understanding of the field. They are analytical and evaluative in approach and their primary intent is, in a broad sense, educational. Except for the last two chapters in Givoni's book, on principles of design, they are not design manuals and they are not structured so as to match into a design process by recognising either the types of decision the practising designer needs to make, or the speed at which he has to make them. There are, in fact, very few books on climatic design aimed at use in the design office by the working architect or planner. A work which is already a classic and which sometimes comes near to this is VICTOR OLGYAY'S Design with Climate (Princeton U.P., 1963). The book's origins in reports of practical design studies by its author give it immediate relevance and a seductive

intensity. It contains many original and useful ideas, but the difficulty of generalising or even, in some cases, of reproducing the processes which are illustrated, can sometimes lead to impotence on the part of an architect or planner who tries to use it. A comprehensive collection of information is contained in the bilingual (German and English) Tropenbau: Building in the Tropics by G. LIPPSMEIER (Callway Verlag, Munich, 1969). Principles are not treated in any detail and, although the book makes a most useful addition to any tropical designer's library, it is organised around the traditional approach to the provision of information for climatic design which is either prescriptive or evaluative: the latter implying a process by which buildings are first described and then evaluated on a predictive basis, the final specification logically being arrived at by a process of iteration. A major step forward in methodology was made in the publication Climate and House Design:

Design of Low Cost Housing and Community Facilities Vol. 1 (U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York 1971). This was written for the United Nations by OtTO KOENIGSBERGER, CARL MAHONEY a n d MARTIN EVANS (then of the Department of Development and Tropical Studies of the Architectural Association, London) and was the first presentation of an approach, incorporating the "Mahoney Tables", which allows an input of climatic data and an output of specifications of the required characteristics of built form in order to achieve satisfactory performance in the input climate. This generative approach, by inverting the form/performance relationship, breaks the iterative cycle of the more traditional proposeform/evaluate process. There has been a major gap in the literature in that there has been no book for use by practitioners as a manual during the design process which, by moving rapidly from principles to practice, can also be used educationally both in pre- and mid-career. This gap is filled very well by the present work.

The Manual of Tropical Housing and Building (Part 1: Climatic Design) by OTTO H. KOENIGSBERGER, T. G. INGERSOLL, ALAN MAYHEW a n d

S. V. SZOKOLAY, has been a long time in reaching 85


Book Reviews

its present published form. It was begun in 1952 by Otto Koenigsberger as a nucleus for a course at the Architectural Association which was taken each year by over twenty architects, planners and builders from a large number of different countries. After ten years of change and development through daily use in teaching, the text was brought up to date by T. E. Ingersoll. The third version was written by Alan Mayhew with the special intention of making it as effective as possible in the teaching/ learning process, and the final drafting and technical updating were carried out by S. V. Szokolay. The book is divided into 10 sections, the first four dealing with thermal problems: the given conditions of climate, the desirable conditions of thermal comfort, the principles of thermal design and the means of thermal control. Sections five and six deal with light and lighting, and noise and noise control, each starting with a section on principles. Section seven discusses applications in providing shelter in hot-dry, warm-humid, composite and tropical upland climates. The eighth section, "design aids," gives the processes described in the U.N. publication which was mentioned above in a more concise form and this is followed by a useful bibliography and 36 pages of data, design tools and design aids, in Appendices. These include sunpath diagrams for latitudes ranging from the equator to 40 ° North or South and a transparent plastic shadow-angle overlay is included with the book.

The writing is clear and concise, and the many graphs and tables are excellent. There are some in-text reproductions of photographs which, no doubt for reasons of economy, are reproduced in a form which is only adequate, but otherwise the publishers have made a splendid job of design and production. Although the book deals with technical matters, the treatment given does not assume more than an elementary knowledge of mathematics and physics, or of building construction. On the whole it seems to be at the right level for its intended users, and the author's hope that it will be useful not only to students and practitioners--which it undoubtedly will--but also to clients, is fully justified. The book is open to criticism on this point. Some readers may wish that a deeper analytical treatment were given of a number of matters but this would have made the book much longer and in most cases more mathematical treatments are already available in specialised works. There are also places where the reader might hope for additional help in decision-making or for more detailed recommendations, but the subject is one which still requires much more research, particularly into ways of organising knowledge in relation to the decision-making process. There seems little to stop the book going through many editions, and new material will doubtless be added as it becomes available in a suitable form. C. B. WILSON

An Introduction to Soil Mechanics and Foundations (Second Edition) C. R. SCOTT Applied Science, London (1974), 361 pp., £5.00.

THIS book is intended to serve as a general textbook on soil mechanics for undergraduate students of civil engineering. In this respect it has many competitors, but bears favourable comparison with the best of these. When the First Edition appeared in 1969 the fact that S.I. units were used throughout gave it a temporary advantage for teaching purposes in Britain. This special position has since been lost but the more fundamental merits of the book remain.

The contents cover the basic engineering properties of soils such as permeability, compressibility and shear strength and the classical approach to problems of estimating settlement, bearing capacity of foundations, earth pressure on retaining walls and stability of slopes. Other topics include sgil classification, site investigation, electrochemical properties of clay minerals, and piled foundations. This new edition differs little from the first edition, but brief descriptions of some geo-