100 % smart or back to the start? High-tech vs. low-tech
Over to you: Currently there are two complementary movements in building. On the one hand there are those who see the future in fully connected smart homes. And then there are those who shun this technology overload in favor of optimizing material use to create a comfortable indoor environment and reduce consumption down to a minimum. Both views have advantages and disadvantages. It is probably a question of belief. So, we are interested in what you think. Which of these two approaches will significantly change the future of building?
The smart home knows when it´s time to turn up the ventilation or the heating, or when the washing machine needs to be switched on. With sensors it constantly monitors current values and automatically adjusts the parameters to create a perfect indoor environment.
For all this technology, the focus of course should always be on the human occupants. In the end this sophistication is only sensible if it serves the needs of people and makes life easier for them. The key is to be able to analyze complex processes and take them into account.
Before making premature assumptions about high-tech and future, it would be important to look critically at possible rebound effects. Because when complicated technical systems consume more raw materials or gray energy than they in the end help to save, then even the smartest homes start to look a bit stupid.
“The essence of it is that houses know what they can produce when and know what they consume. They have to know when the occupants are coming back home—and they need then to communicate with the weather station to determine the precise time to commence heating. The aim is to have the house warm for when the family returns. The electric car should also then be recharged. And the washing should be done when electricity is cheapest.” – Dr. Dr. e. h. Dr. h. c. Werner Sobek
Is less really more? The trend in low-tech architecture is for intelligent design that takes into account local conditions and aims to make a building less dependent on the use of technology, as this is subject to failure and not infrequently high on consumption.
That in turn presupposes a knowledge of the characteristics of the materials used and the physical interaction between them. Detailed knowledge of the local climatic and weather conditions such as wind, humidity, sun and temperature are also essential for successful low-tech buildings in line with today´s standards.
If you are in any doubt as to whether all this can be made to work, then take a look at what architects Baumschlager and Eberle have designed and built in Lustenau, Austria: a five-story office block that manages entirely without heating, ventilation or cooling. Is this the benchmark for the future of architecture?
“Spatial proportion, solidity, a certain inertia, radiated heat in the interior, a moderate amount of fenestration—all of that belongs together. That is what older buildings have with their better energy values, measured instead of calculated. If these buildings are perceived to be more pleasant, then one must ask why we don´t exploit those qualities more.” – Prof. Dietmar Eberle
Over to you:
Which trend will really change the future of building?
- High-tech architecture
- Low-tech architecture
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