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Read the news dating May, 2000 and check whether Rolph Disch’s ideas have been realized. Were your predictions about the chances of the new type of houses to get ground correct?
One of the most modern housing estates in Europe is being built in Freiburg which was named Environmental Capital of Germany in 1992. The so-called surplus energy houses on the estate produce more energy than they consume. In his design for the houses, the renowned solar architect Rolf Disch has united modern energy-saving technology with centuries-old solar construction skills.
Study the information below and then try to give a reasoned explanation to the fact that wood is a favourite building material of Hubert Fritz and his followers.
Simply put, manufacturing wood is energy efficient. Compare the amount of energy it takes to produce one ton of cement, glass, steel, or aluminum to one ton of wood:
· 5 times more energy for one ton of cement
· 14 times more energy for one ton of glass
· 24 times more energy for one ton of steel
· 126 times more energy for one ton of aluminum
Wood products make up 47% of all industrial raw materials manufactured in the United States, yet consume only 4% of the total energy needed to manufacture all industrial raw materials. Wood's manufacturing process alone makes it the environmentally friendly choice in building materials.
What is the best summary of the previous extract?
1. Wood is the most ecologically friendly material.
2. Wood is the lightest material.
3. Wood offers more product for less energy.
4. Wood is the cheapest material in production.
5. Wood is the most energy efficient in production.
Look through the unit again and make notes under the following headings. Then use your notes to talk about ecologically-friendly architecture and construction.
1. Alternative sources of energy and their application in construction industry.
2. Passive solar design and its benefits.
3. The appearance of new types of houses in Germany.
4. Famous names in eco-friendly building.
5. Construction materials of the future.
6. New technologies employed in new types of houses.
7. The examples of such houses.
Reading task D
Look at the pictures of these six houses. Do you think they have anything in common? Read the descriptions below and match them with the corresponding houses.
The oldest rotating house we have found is Angelo Invernizzi's Villa Girasole (Villa Sunflower) near Verona, Italy. "The two storied and L shaped house rests on a circular base, which is over 44 meters in diameter. In the middle there is a 42 meters tall turret, a sort of conning tower or lighthouse, which the rotating movement hinges on. A diesel engine pushes the house over three circular tracks where 15 trolleys can slide the 5,000 cubic meters building at a speed of 4 millimeters per second (it takes 9 hours and 20 minutes to rotate fully).
This Australian house rotates around a central pivot point. “It also encapsulates many aspects of ecologically sound building principles, such as optimising on natural light and heat, while rotating 180o to take advantage of sunshine and shade at different times of the day and year.”
The Everingham model is a 24 m (79’) diameter octagon with a 3-metre (10’), 360-degree verandah. It weighs 50 tonnes, but can rotate a full 360-degrees, around a central core of plumbing and electricals. Within this core is also a geothermal piping system (120 metres long and 2.5 metres deep), supplying a constant 22ºC to the house.
50 years ago François Massau built this rotating house so that his sickly wife could enjoy sunshine and warmth any time of the year. Massau was an eccentric builder who does not appear to have been very nice, and spent his last years fighting in court, dying alone and penniless at 97 in 2002. However his house survives, with its fixed roof and house that turns beneath it.
We now enter the realm of speculation, of proposals that are not yet built. In Nice, France, Frederic Plazar has designed a series of turntable houses ranging from 80m2 (861 SF) to 140m2 (1506 SF). The Maisons Labbé website calls it a "Bioclimactic house", that uses 60% less energy than a conventional house.
Its hot in Dubai, and everyone wants water view- so Glenn Howells is building "an eco-friendly sustainable design, using solar power to revolve the cylindrical form and recycling water to irrigate the landscaped gardens. The concept for the façade design has evolved through the use of intricate layers and textures that also help to address the extreme heat conditions in Dubai, while providing the residents with energy efficient control of their internal environment.
The dual-skin breathing façade creates a dynamic appearance and adds depth to the building with interesting materials including high performance glass with neutral coating and gold screens." We like the line in the advertising: "Awake one day to see panoramic lake views and another day to see beautiful landscapes and the worlds biggest shopping mall .
We have been dubious about Architect David Fisher's rotating tower for Dubai, with its wind turbines built in between each floor, and its claims that "the building will generate 10 times more energy than required to power it." We also wondered about how "The new tower is the first building of its size to produced in a factory. Each floor, made up of 12 individual units, complete with plumbing, electric connections, air conditioning, etc., will be fabricated in a factory. These modular units will be fitted on the concrete core or spine of the building at the central tower."
2. Answer the following questions:
1. What do these houses have in common?
2. Which of them correspond to the principles of ecologically friendly architecture and construction? Can you prove it?
3. Which of them are “plus-energy houses”?
4. Which of them are “low-energy houses”?
5. Which house do you like most of all?
6. Which house would you like to live in?
7. Can you think of any other examples of rotating houses?
Time for fun
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